MOSTA COSTA™ Jardin Lote Payaya
This coffee comes from the farm and mill of "Jardin de Aromas", which looks just as the name sounds, a garden of aromas, heavily populated with coffee shrubs of course, and with beautiful bougainvillea-lined pathways throughout. Jardin is truly one of the most beautiful of the larger farms I've visited in terms of the grounds, as well as organization on the part of owner/operator Carol Binden (that's her in the 3rd photo). The farm is broken into several plots, the names coinciding with the surrounding flora: quizarra, aguacate, and in this case, "Lote Papaya", of which there are several papaya trees on this lot. The rows of neatly planted shrubs are pruned in 5 year cycles, with a complete replant after 4 cycles. You can see this as you walk the farm, rows of coffee at varying heights, a physical representation of the tight order that is kept. The latter is also apparent as Carol explains her lot numbering system, numbers assigned to each day lot from each individual plot that follows the coffee from the day is is picked, to when it is finally bagged and stored in her storage facility (which happens to be an old horse stable on the property - see the 2nd photo). The farm sits on the low part of the slopes of Barva Volcano in Costa Rica's West Valley, affording nutrient rich soil from age old mineral deposits from ancient volcanic eruptions. The coffee has some silverskin intact, which makes for a darker shade when roasting, giving the impression that the roast is farther along than it actually is. Pay attention to when first snaps happen, and rely on time as well as visual cues to determine roast development.
Dry fragrance is marked by layered raw sugar smells, and a touch of grain sweetness, like barley malt. Full City roasts see a slight uptick in sweet to bitter cocoa tones, as well as fruit, a much more complex fragrance in my opinion. Adding hot water gives off a sense of bittersweet baker's cocoa in the steam, and a sweetness like burned caramel topping. The cup is no far cry from what is sensed in the aroma: solid and straight-forward sweetness like sugar burning in a pan, with a bittersweet base flavor that's a bit like roasted cacao nibs. As the temperature cools down a bit, subtle fruits come into focus, red raisin, slab apricot, and a note of candied citrus peel.
Cupping credit: Tom Owen. Processing: Wet; Varietal: Catuai, Caturra; Appearance:15-17 screen. (15 oz. bag)