This selection from farmer Leo Rojas Rola is from the Llano Bonito de Naranjo are of Costa Rica’s West Valley region. He delivers his coffee for processing in whole cherry to the Helsar de Zarcero’s mill, which if you’ve perused our Costa Rica list in the past, I’m sure you’re familiar with Helsar. I have visited this farm during harvest and we have a long buying relationship with the Helsar mill for over 15 years now, finding wonderful coffees from them. It is run by one of the nicest and most progressive persons in coffee, Ricardo Perez. They are consistently improving their processing, adding more raised beds for drying the parchment coffee, additional warehouse space, and new sorting equipment. I noticed this coffee when cupping in Costa Rica for its clean, classic character, and was surprised by the fruited qualities and acidity which made it stand out. While there are many variations on processing being performed in Costa Rica now, it is the washed style coffees that give the quintessential flavor experience, balanced, restrained, clean taste, sweet finish. The vast majority of Leo’s farm is planted in Caturra cultivar, though I have seen small amounts of other types when walking the farm. It is situated at 1600 meters. Don’t feel bad if you thought you missed the first lot, because you didn’t. This is our only lot from Leo this year, but it was the second process batch we tasted when cupping offer samples last harvest and so the name just stuck!
The Leo Rojas lot has a pronounced cane sugar sweetness from the dry fragrance, taking on bittersweet roast tones at more developed roast levels. The wet aroma is filled with dark sugars and chocolate at City+ and Full City roast levels, a subtle fruited tea highlight in the lighter of the two. The cup has a pleasant combination of unrefined, raw sugar sweetness with chocolate bittering qualities, the extent of which is dependent on roast. City+ roasts are clean with mild bittering cocoa qualities, the nose accented by hints of green apple and raisin. Roasting beyond City+ casts a bittersweet shadow on the cup, fruited sweetness still present and in the form of dried fruit hints, with a pervasive Dutch drinking cocoa flavor filling out the middle and finish. Espresso drinkers should mark this down as a syrupy single origin shot, a distilled red raisin note at the top of the sip ushers in layers of chocolate flavors that run the course of the long finish.