Same varietal, different process.
One of the stand-out reasons for buying coffee from Alejo Castro is that he has variety and also always has something new. It can be a new varietal or a different process of a familiar varietal, that relatively effortlessly just arrives, here in the UK, better than the pre-shipment, year after year. Volcan Azul is a seasoned winner in the cup of excellence too.
From the outset, this coffee is such a sweet balanced cup, it is like a chocolate brownie in a cup.
Farmer: Alejo Castro
Farm Volcan Azul
Area: Alajuela, Costa Rica.
Established: 1850, 5th generation farm.
Altitude: 1540-1720 Meters above sea level
Recipe 60-70g a litre
Roast: Medium Filter, cool drop.
Cup Potential: Filter
Aromatics: Cacao & Brown Sugar| Body: Medium-Creamy| Acidity: Sweet, brown fruit sugars hints of citrus|
What a cuddly number this is! On opening there is a super sweet narrow band of flavours, that could all add up to a chocolate brownie. As soon as things start to cool down a bit, the Obata naturals’ flavours broaden beyond belief. The fruit opens up to sweet caramelised citrus, subtle boozy berries and a cocoa/ citrus linger. This is beautifully produced and incredibly balanced.
As usual, I started off with my goto espresso recipe and played around until I got what I thought to be close to its potential.
Milk-based drinks up to 9oz, this coffee works great with dairy. I really couldn’t call a favourite between whole and semi because they were just everything that you hope could for, in terms of salty, dark chocolate and caramels, from said dairy. These were all based on 17g into 34g with an extraction range between 26 and 30 seconds. I did actually dig out some non-dairy as a comparison but found that (on a personal level) I would prefer a filter or espresso option, rather than what oat milk could bring to the party. Great with some more developed coffees, but not lighter roasts, or at least this one for me.
Initially, I just couldn’t get what I wanted from this coffee in espresso. Making the shot longer made everything better. I have been doing a lot of “what ifs” lately. In the 35-37 second range and all of 60g of liquid, there was so much more sweetness and balance. If you try it, feel free to let us/ me know how you enjoyed it most.
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