In today’s coffee world, coffee growers are split up over different regions; some being very fortunate having the best growing conditions that make the different varietals thrive while other regions only have certain growing seasons that produce their best results.
Costa Rican coffee growers are considered among the best in the world and this is simply due to the excellent environment that the plants can thrive in. The largest growing areas are in the provinces of San José, Alajuela, Heredia, Puntarenas, and Cartago which is due to a longer summer. Getting down into the main point, Costa Rican farmers are set and have great knowledge. They produce great crops which yield excellent coffee.
Other areas aren’t as fortunate as Costa Rica and have to work much harder to produce great crops which is due to longer wet seasons and/or shorter grow seasons. Nicaragua is one area that produces absolutely amazing coffee but are on a much stronger learning curve than say Costa Rica. This is where Coffee Afficionado comes in. We connect with our farmers in Nicaragua at Zaragoza Farms which can produce you anything you want but we can use our knowledge and help move them into the right direction to create any type of cup that we’re looking for from the more sweet honey to the bolder natural flavors.
This leads us into the actual process of the beans themselves. The coffee bean is derived from the varietal plants cherry pit. To get to the pit you have to wash the pulp off of the bean. There are multiple stages of this which all yield different flavors in the cup. The different stages are the result of how much pulp is left on the pit during the washing period. The more pulp that is left on the pit is what’s considered a more ‘natural’ bean. This is because when the pit is dried the pulp actually dries into the bean giving it an altered flavor; a more bold flavor. When a pit is fully washed and no or very very little pulp remains this is what’s known as ‘fully-washed’ or ‘pure-honey’. A ‘full-washed’ and dried bean is very light in color and yields a more sweet tasting cup. The importance about this stage is we can connect with our farmers and fine tune this step to get the exact flavors that we are wanting to achieve. At some point, most all farms and buyers will being doing this but we at Coffee Afficionado will be one of the small pioneers that made it happen.
Below in the images you can see the six different levels from ‘fully-washed’ to ‘natural’.