Every season we have different issues when we are looking at our crystal ball, for how much coffee to buy. This year, Alejo was getting to the end of his harvest and asking how much coffee we required. At the time we were roasting about 5% of our usual volume, but we had to remain positive when buying. Supply chains are a two-way street and would it be so bad to have Costa Rica in the roastery in January? No, is the simple answer. In fact, I am saving some of the Marsellesa because I think it will be quite something in Winter Hoard, later in the year.
As a blind optimist, I upped our volume beyond any previous year. This wasn’t a form of patronising but actually, because the coffee quality is just dreamy. In the first round of profile roasting, the filter roast of this was one of those “wow am I lucky to have this job” moments. Incredible. It is not a surprise that Volcan Azul is once again a Cup of Excellence finalist this year. Number 4 out of the whole country. That is an incredible achievement.
Alejo’s coffees are always brilliantly processed and every delivery is better than the pre-shipment.
Farmer: Alejo Castro
Farm Volcan Azul
Area: Alajuela, Costa Rica.
Established: 1850, 5th generation farm.
Altitude: 1540-1720 Meters above sea level
Recipe: 60-65g per litre.
Roast: Light Filter
Aromatics: Fruit Cake| Body: Creamy| Acidity: Sweet, Yellow Plum|
This is genius in a cup! Marsellesa is known as a high acidity coffee varietal, which would turn a lot of people off. Because of natural processing, the acidity is low and sweet. Not boozy or funky though.
This is a cup of sweetness. Yellow plum (greengage in English) and a host of complex sugars, from white to honey. Hints of cocoa and florals as the liquor cools. In cafetiere this is all sugar, in filter to get the optimum sweetness I found that easing off the grind a little brought more sweetness to the brew. All of this talk about sugars and next to no calories.
Volcan Azul is a 5th generation farm, producing many different single varietals and processes. The long game is the aim of quality, which we especially like at James Gourmet. The whole process is controlled by the farm and the operation is relatively small. These are all things that work for us. Coffee on a human scale with a history