Don Lica Torres - Black Cherry
ROAST | LIGHT MEDIUM
ORIGIN | BUENA VISTA, RIVAS, BRUNCA, COSTA RICA
NOTES | VIOLET, CHERRY POPSICLE, TANGERINE, DARK RUM
Nestled at the foot of Chirripo Volcano, the 3-hectare farm owned by Lica Torres and his family is one of only a few such courageous endeavors in Brunca, the southernmost growing region in Costa Rica. Conditions there aren't exactly idyllic: the soil is rocky, the incline steep, and the weather is often either a little too hot or a little too cold to grow any particular crop with tremendous success. Lica's father initially planted pine trees on the farm, but farming wood is a slow-going process that doesn't yield dividends very quickly. Enter: Lica's big idea.
Four years ago, Lica began to notice other families in the area growing coffee with some success, and he had just been introduced to a new, experimental hybrid variety which was being planted at lower elevations in Brunca. That new variety is called Milenio, and it is a hybrid originating from a cross between rust-resistant T5296 and the much-loved Ethiopian landrace Sudan Rume. Milenio was developed to be a disease-resistant crop which also yielded high cup quality - two virtues you don't often find in the same crop. Even though it was originally intended to be planted in lower-elevation areas due to its ability to resist Roya (Leaf Rust), Lica decided to take a big risk and plant Milenio trees on his farm, which sits at 1500 masl. The result looked promising even after the first year, but now we can say with all confidence that Lica's hunch was a massive success! This region, this new variety, and this lot in particular stirs up so much excitement in us for the future of specialty coffee in Costa Rica.
Processing: Black Cherry is a process coined by the Torres family and controlled meticulously at the Cerro Buena Vista Wet Mill. As with any "normal" natural processing method, ripe coffee cherries are collected by hand and taken to the mill, where they are placed in propylene bags for about 24 hours before being spread out on raised beds to begin drying. However, once the parchment approaches 15-20% moisture content, the lot is re-collected into plastic bags and placed in storage for about a week, where fermentation continues to occur at a glacial pace. Finally, the cherries are put back out to dry - on concrete beds this time - until the remaining 5-10% humidity points are lost.
In the cup: This coffee is a deep well of flavor. Everything about the way it tastes has depth and nuance and character, reminding us of an aged dark rum. There is a florality reminiscent of violets and a citrus note akin to tangerines, but red fruit characteristics are really doing the heavy lifting here. We are reminded of cherry popsicles (and, by association, warmer days!) when we sip this lovely expression of ingenuity from Lica's farm beside the volcano.
Producer | Don Lica Torres
Wet Mill | Cerro Buena Vista
Process | black cherry anaerobic natural
Variety | milenio
Elevation | 1500 masl