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Our first honey process since we sold out of a Peruvian honey just over a year ago, what a delight this visitor from the mountains of Costa Rica is. In between a natural and washed process, Aguilera Yellow produces flavor notes of orange, nectarine, cranberry with a pleasant sugary molasses finish. Those with very refined or sensitive palates may pick up berry, passionfruit and floral notes as well.
The beans come from the hilly areas south of Costa Rica, closer to the Pacific Ocean, at an elevation of around 4,500 feet, in a tiny sliver called the West Valley. Farmed on a 150 acre piece of land that is owned by a family of 12 called the Aguilera Brothers (which also consists of some sisters), the average of 150 days of rain helps produce consistently great coffee. The farm extends into some very remote and inaccessible areas, which is part of why they hire 50+ workers each year to help with the harvest, all from the same local families each year, and paying a higher than average wage for the industry in the area.
Honey process is accomplished by a de-pulping of the cherry fruit, so that most of it is gone, however it isn’t washed afterward, leaving behind a sticky mucilage that is very honey-like in texture and taste. The coffee is then turned regularly to keep the mucilage consistent and sticking to the bean. This farm dries its coffee on tarps along a soccer pitch they built for the local community and its workers, making for happy workers and coffee beans that have something to look at as they dry their way into your grinder and cup.
Berries and fruit lead the flavor profile for this Ethiopian natural process. Strawberry, dried blueberries, even some raspberry, w/ some hints of lavender. We found an oh-so-subtle chocolate note at the end as well. It felt like a cousin of our Guatemalan Blue Ayarza in some ways. It’s a very full flavored coffee, solid and vibrant.
The location of where these beans come from has some mild debate in the uptight, snooty world of single origin coffees. While Bule Hora, and Gelana Abaya, where the beans are grown and then processed, respectively, are not technically right in Yirgacheffe, the towns are so close in proximity and employ the Yirgacheffe methods are used, that it is ruled to have a Yirgacheffe profile by the Ethiopian Commodity Exchange, and is therefore considered a Yirgacheffe coffee. Whatever it is, it’s a fantastic coffee that we all loved.
After being picked at elevations ranging from elevations of 5,100-5,700 feet, the beans are dried on raised beds for 18-21 days. During the hottest and sunniest time of the day they are raked frequently, and then covered to protect them from the sun, then uncovered for several hours to help the drying process, but then covered overnight to protect them from moisture (coffee beans are pretty high maintenance, eh?).
Yet another wonderful Ethiopian natural process, and Organic to boot. Satiny milk chocolate leads the way, with a clear caramel and brown sugar thread, followed by very subtle notes of dried blueberry and cherry, without any strong citrus appearance or high acidity.
These beans come from the Burka Gudina Estate, located in the Limmu Kosa district, within the Jimma Zone of Ethiopia. The farm is run by Ibrahim Hussein, a third generation coffee farmer in the area, and is marked by gentle, rolling, forested hills that range from 1,800 – 2,000 meters.
These natural process beans are dried in the sun before processing, at which point the mucilage is scrubbed off, but still leaving behind some of the dried cherry, the latter being a key component to the sweet, rich flavor of natural process coffees such as this one.
This natural process, Grade 1 Organic certified coffee is known for its diversified yet exquisite profile. On one side, the sweet but tangy watermelon and berry (strawberry, raspberry, blueberry, and blackberry) flavors brighten the cup, while the chocolate fudge notes produce a more mild finish.
These beans are harvested at the organic, privately owned Kayon Mountain farm located in the Guji zone of Ethiopia, about 6,700 feet in elevation.
The cherries are placed onto raised beds for 12-20 days, meticulously hand turned and picked over to remove and defective beans. The dried cherries are then milled to reveal the beautiful naturally processed bean.