Costa Rica | Las Lajas Micro Mill | Perla Negra - Natural


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Flavor Profile - Big and lush with deep fruit tones of blueberry, cherry and lemon zest, backed by chocolate infused body and light herbal hints in the sweet finish.

Quick Facts:

Costa Rica - Las Lajas Micro-Mill - Perla Negra - Natural

-Farm:  Finca San Luis By Oscar Chacon

-Region: Sabanilla de Alajuela, Central Valley

-Process: Perla Negra - Natural/Dry Process

-Altitude: 1450 meters

-Variety: Caturra, Catuai

 Honey Series to Perla Negara

Yellow Honey- turned hourly on drying beds

Red Honey- turned a few times per day

Black Honey- turned once per day

Perla Negra - natural / dry processed on raised screens.

More Info About This Coffee

Last winter, when we started planning our Costa Rica offerings for the 2015-2016 crop cycle (typically May - April) we decided to go all in on the Dona Francisca Chacon and Don Oscar Chacon's Honey offerings, pledging to buy a daunting amount of each given their expense and our relatively tiny size.  Fantastically, they sold faster than expected, culminating in our Honey Series gift set of all three coffees nestled side by side.  

When we realized we would not have enough to make it to the Spring of 17, we reached out to our importer and secured the last few bags of Perla Negra: the only Chacon coffee left in the US.  The cherry comes from Finca San Luis, a small farm owned by Don Oscar who uses a refractometer to measure the sugar content of the ripening cherries to help manage the picking process.  The cherry is then briefly washed to remove debris, before natural drying, in toto, on raised screens for 2 to 3 weeks. Essentially, the whole cherry is raisined or dried until they become "black pearls".  After drying, the "pearls" are rested, then dry-milled and prepped for export.       

 Benefico Ecological Las Lajas- a quality bent and rare for Costa Rica organic micro-mill located in Sabanilla de Alajuela, in the Central Valley region of Costa Rica, is owned by third generation coffee farmers Dona Francisca and Don Oscar Chacon.  

Honey & Dry/Natural Processing- In the honey process (aka miel, pulped natural...) the skin and varying amounts of fruit are removed (pulped) from the cherry before drying. This is in contrast to traditional wet-processing where the pulped-cherry is fermented and then washed before drying.  When done well, honey processed coffees are more complex with viscous body and softer acidity, the trade off is a reduction in acidity and some loss of clarity vs traditional wet-processed coffees.

In dry/natural processing (coffee can't ever be simple: in the trade both names describe the same process, except when it doesn't, more about that some other day) the whole cherry is dried, ideally on raised screens.  Due to the difficutly in managing results with this process, historically it has been done in arid regions, princiapally parts of Ethiopia and Brazil.  What we are seeing      

At Las Lajas, their commitment to the environment has led them to focus solely on water sparing milling methods using the latest Penagos technology. Their honey processes leave nearly 100% of the fruit intact before sun drying on raised screens.

Micro Lot- in the coffee trade a normal lot of coffee is 37,500 pounds, the amount that fits in a shipping container, not coincidentally, it is also the amount of the ICE “C” futures contract traded in New York.  In specialty coffee, we are undergoing a micro-lot revolution where specially prepared coffees from select micro-regions, altitudes and/or day(s) of picking within larger farms or cooperatives are kept separate from normal specialty and commodity lots.  These coffees promise to cup better, while more uniquely expressing their terroir.  And yes, we pay more, sometimes considerably more, for them.