Showing posts with label costa rica. Show all posts
Showing posts with label costa rica. Show all posts

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Mugged: Garbanzo Nunez Estate and Los Vecinos [Thrive Farmers Coffee]

Subject: Thrive Farmers Coffee 
Coffees Mugged and Rating [see key]:
- Garbanzo Nunez Estate, Tarrazu, Costa Rica 5+
- Los Vecinos, Genaro and Trinidad Double Estate, Intibuca, Honduras 4+

As many people know, Fair Trade coffee is sometimes not as fair as consumers would like. The concept conjures up farmers getting a great price for their coffee but many times, Fair Trade programs don't end up paying much to the individual farmer.

Hence, Direct Trade has become the gold standard for socially progressive coffee sourcing. Farmers maintain direct relationships with the end retailer so that their cut becomes much healthier. One operation pulling direct trade relationships within a co-op like system is Thrive Farmers Coffee, a business entity that sells different farmers both green (unroasted) and roasted beans, sending back healthy profits to its growers. Thrive recently sent me out two coffees to try out, their Garbanzo Nunez Estate, Tarrazu, Costa Rica and their Los Vecinos, Genaro and Trinidad Double Estate, Intibuca, Honduras. Both coffees I tried out via pourover, french press and siphon.

First up was the Costa Rican. Through a pourover infusion, the coffee produced a vibrant brew rich in dulce de leche, prune, Yoo Hoo, carrots, shredded wheat and a little oregano. The french press doled out a slightly smoother cup, with notes of vanilla caramel, sugar wafers, a little marinara, cream and shredded wheat in a medium body. The siphon finished off with also a great cup, full of caramel, yoo hoo, shredded wheat, cream and a little prune. All together, a really richly-flavored coffee full of sweet, creamy nuances and syrupy sweetness.

The Los Vecinos also proved appetizing. The pourover rang of root beer, lemon pepper, raspberry, blue corn chips and a little wheat grass amidst a slightly thick body. The french press had more flavors of cocoa along with notes of corn chips, lemon, pepper, wheat grass and malt. The siphon proved the smoothest of the three infusions, with notes of milk chocolate, graham cracker, raspberry, malt and corn. In the end, a malty, slightly bright coffee with a minor wheat flavor.

If ye seek great coffee that puts a lot of money into coffee farmers' pockets, check out the coffees of Thrive.

note: coffee was provided free of charge and the above review is objective feedback.  

Monday, August 26, 2013

Mugged: Colombia, Tanzanian and Costa Rica [Lowest Price Coffee]

Subject: Lowest Price Coffee
Coffees Mugged:
- 100% Colombian Coffee
- 100% Costa Rica Coffee
- 100% Tanzania Peaberry
Rating [see key]: All 4+

One of the most common objections people give me as to why they still drink cruddy coffee is that quality coffee holds too high a price tag. And while I would agree that the best coffee out there will always be $12+ per pound (and such great coffee is worth the money), there exists good coffee out there for less.

One such company blatantly striving to offer flavorful, fresh coffee at bad coffee coffee prices is Lowest Price Coffee. A new-to-my-ears roaster, they offer 12 oz. bags for a ridiculously low tag of $5.99. They recently funneled out to me their Costa Rica, Colombia and Tanzania Peaberry, each of which I sampled via drip, french press and siphon.

I started off with the Colombia, not sure exactly what to expect. The drip doled out notes of cocoa, curry, spring melon, cream, tangerine and a little wheat cake amidst a medium body. The french press gave off chocolate-covered pretzel, Flemish Red, thyme, pie crust, cream and a little cinnamon also within a medium body. The siphon was closer to the drip with cocoa, red curry, almond milk, tomato, nectarine and a little sage. All in all, a multi-faceted coffee with some great sweet and spicy notes.

The Costa Rica also proved intriguing. The drip smacked of Corn Pops, sesame bagel, Whoppers candy, fig and a touch of root beer in a thick, medium body. The french press tasted of a little different, with notes of Frosted Flakes, sesame seeds, caramel, Whoppers candy and a little cayenne pepper. The siphon was surprisingly similar to the french press, staying steady with the Frosted Flakes, sesame, and whoppers candy, though also adding cocoa and a little basil. Throughout this was a sweet, wheaty coffee with flecks of malt, dark fruit and zest.

The Tanzanian finished off the trio of coffees with a similar delicious performance. The drip held out flavors of honey, almond butter, carnitas, caramel pretzel, some grape leaves and blueberry cobbler amidst a medium/heavy body. The french press held honey, nuts, rye, blueberry Pop Tart and wheat cracker within a medium body. The siphon proved a bit on the wheaty side, with notes of croissant, sweet shredded wheat, almonds and flecks of blueberry, honey and maple syrup. In totality, a sweet coffee outfitted with sugary sweetness, a smooth nuttiness, touches of wheat and some interesting accents. 

For such low-priced beans, these coffees turned out pretty tasty. In fact, the beans were such a bargain that I can't imagine the folks at Lowest Price Coffee can afford to keep them this low for long (I mean they must have thin margins!). So if you find yourself settling for lesser coffee due to price, get your coffee at Lowest Price Coffee while you can.

note: coffee was provided free of charge and the above review is objective feedback.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Mugged: Java Bean Plus

Subject: Java Bean Plus 
Mugged: Various
Rating: 4+ for Mexico and Guatemala
3+ for Costa Rica [see key]

Most coffee that you get at a coffeehouse you can also get direct from the roaster on the internet. But what if coffee roasters sourced only through their wholesale accounts, empowering each coffeehouse to be a more exclusive source for their patron's coffee? No matter your view on middle men and proprietary blends, the concept is certainly intriguing and not very common in the coffee world.

Coffee provider Java Bean Plus is one of the few coffee roasters I know of that sells their coffee exclusively through their wholesale accounts. Since I've never had a drop of their coffee before, I was curious to give three of their light roast coffees a whirl. They sent out their Mexico High Grown, Guatemala Antigua & Costa Rica Tarrazu; all of which I sampled via drip, french press and siphon (except the Costa Rica via siphon, as my siphon decided to break prior to its occurrence).

The Mexico High Grown drip produced notes of whiskey, honey, wheat cracker, a little fresh peanut and malt within a medium body; a deep but sweet coffee. The french press demonstrated wheat cracker, corn flakes, molasses, parsley, fig and some prune on the end with a lighter body; a deep wheat and sweet brew. The siphon relayed a slight whiskey, honey, cracker, heavy malt and a medium body, painting a deep, smooth and slightly sugary cup. Overall, a sweet coffee with nice notes of wheat and deep fruits.

The Guatemala Antigua drip smacked of life cereal, bran, a little cream, celery and a pinch of salt and plantain, all together making a smooth and sweet coffee with a bran shadow. The french press held glazed doughnut, prunes, spinach, salt and life cereal which was similar to the siphon that gave sweet wheat notes, life cereal, spinach and a bit of salt. In the end, a decent full coffee to sip with cereal.

The Costa Rica Tarrazu was the darkest of the three, with a noticeable but slight presence of oil on the beans. Its drip sang of malt, heavy root beer, mint, sirloin lemon pepper and sweet cream on end; a heavy bodied infusion that held a good deal of pepper and savory qualities. The french press, proving much smoother than drip, parried with root beer, cream, lemon with less pepper and some fig. As I didn't get to try out the siphon on this one, I had to go off the drip and french press in that this coffee held more savory and peppery notes then I would have liked.

While I found the Mexico and the Guatemala palatable coffees with nice flavors, I wasn't as big of a fan of the Costa Rica given it's darker qualities. Thus, if you're a coffee business looking for a decent coffee roaster who will never sell alongside you, give Java Bean Plus a go.

note: coffee was provided free of charge and the above review is objective feedback.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Mugged: Geisha [Sea Island]

Mugged: Geisha, Costa Rica
Rating: 4+ [see key]

It's hard to believe that coffee trees used to be confined to East Africa, especially in today's world economy where a place with the right climate will grow coffee on at least one farm. Some places, like the island of Java, trace it's coffee trees to about the 17th century, but even today some coffee varieties are still being exported.

One such variety that has gotten an excessive amount of publicity is the geisha variety, primarily for the hefty price it fetched in some Cup of Excellence auctions. Having had the pleasure of sampling some that fabled expensive coffee, I was impressed with it then and since, I've welcomed opportunities to try similar varieties. My most recent encounter with a geisha is from Sea Island Coffee with their Geisha, Costa Rica, the second of the two coffees sent out for review. I sampled it via drip, french press and siphon.

The drip relayed notes of honey graham cracker, wheat, strawberry, a bit of cocoa, anise and some peppercorn amidst a medium body. A delicious coffee though the peppercorn proved not an attractive facet.

The french press issued a brew with more graham cracker and wheat, strawberry and a little peppercorn and cocoa within a medium body. Also good minus peppercorn.

The siphon was my favorite of this coffee, demonstrating notes of honey, a bit of nuttiness, strawberry, cocoa and hay.

Encapsulated, I can't say I'd pay as high a price as the CoE geishas fetched, but Sea Island still roasts a good geisha. Especially if you're on the right side of the Atlantic, give Sea Island's Costa Rica Geisha a swirl.

note: coffee was provided free of charge and the above review is objective feedback.