• Volcan Azul SL28

Costa Rica Volcan Azul SL28 Exotic

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Costa Rica Volcan Azul SL28 Exotic

Costa Rica Volcan Azul SL28 Exotic

Limited Edition and Exotic

I feel privileged to be able to offer you this coffee. This lot is going to be divisive. This is one of the most unusual cup profiles, that is so “out there” and edgy, but also why we are here. Last year we bought some of this from Alejo and it was a “safer” cup of coffee in my mind, he has taken this to the edge.

Until very recently I had a chip on my shoulder about Gesha hopefully that is all cleared up now! The relevance is that Alejo offered us a micro amount of either Gesha or this SL28.  This SL28 for me is far removed from what the varietal usually represents to me and hence we just had to have it. Complexity on another level and also what a statement for a grower to be able to say….”We can also do this….🍹(wild crazy thing)” Famously Alejo once said, “My best micro-lot should be the last one I produce in my life”. This is from the man (family) who consistently delivers Cup of Excellence winning lots, year after year.

This is in my top few top coffees of 2022 and that is why I have saved it, in vacuum bricks, ready for now!  We have had some top coffees this year too….as you may remember. Thank you if you have been part of the journey.

Top Trumps

Farmer: Alejo Castro

Farm Volcan Azul

Area: Alajuela, Costa Rica.

Established: 1850, 5th generation farm.

Hectares: 55

Altitude: 1540-1720 Meters above sea level

Varietal; SL28  Most famous for making great Kenya’s blackcurranty.

Process: Anaerobic Natural

Recipe 60-70g a litre

Roast: Medium Filter, cool drop.

Cup Potential: Filter

Aromatics: Boozy, ripe, oaky, high sweetness| Body: Light- Medium| Acidity: Red Grape, red winey.|

Keeping 100% true to the pre-shipment sample, this lot is wild. Upfront this is how coffee that is barrel-aged in red wine and brandy casks should taste, but can’t.  Red grape must, boozy ripe wild fruit, and fermented and distilled fruit sugars just fill your senses. It is so wrong, so non-coffee, but so incredibly good and coffee-ish at the same time. There are glimmers of the classic SL28 varietal in there, but as I have noted above this processing has been taken to the edge. Now I have planted the seeds of cassis, oaky red wine tannins I may have lost some of you. For some, this will be too much and for others (like me) this is like no other and a very brave, bold edgy fermentation that has taken this coffee to an amazing place.

Espresso potential:

We found resting this coffee for a full week-10 days made espresso brewing so much better.

We always brew back to front with espresso.  Biggest and mildest drinks first, leading up to the Apex or espresso if you will. Recipe-wise, we found this just worked like a dream in the usual parameters but extracted longer (in time) due to the lightness of the roast.

Milk-based drinks: We tried a few different kinds of milk and Semi-skimmed was the winner. We just had more fruit and that booziness really came through.

In an 8.5-9oz this wild. Dry coffee weight:16.5-17.5g into 34-35g of espresso liquid in up to 35 seconds.  Red wine tannins, red grapes, and brandy-like.

Moving to a 5 or 6-oz milk-based drink, this is bright, wild, and more intense than the 8-9.

Espresso:

We did try some more current recipes of 19g into 32g of espresso at 96, 95 and 94C. This is the new 18-30? It is still a pleasant drink but you get more body at the sacrifice of depth. The former is to my mind a way of using more coffee, to compensate for the roast level being on the light side. So many shots later I am still happy with this…

17g+ of coffee into 45-50g of liquid in 30-40 seconds.   This is riotous. It’s a light roast (relatively speaking) and unsurprisingly bright. The good news is this is not a super-high acidity, so you get a balance of crazy fruit and booziness and a winey acidity that just works. I have probably had too much fun setting up this coffee and playing around with it.

Farm Info:

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

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