Green Mountain Coffee® is pleased to announce the arrival of an exquisite Special Reserve coffee: Costa Rica Finca El Quizarrá White Honey. Available only in bags for a limited time, this unique coffee is grown in the rich, volcanic soil of Costa Rica and is produced using a unique method called “honey processing.” More on that in a bit.
First, the tasting notes from our Coffee Department: “The natural sweetness of the white honey process shines through in velvety, concentrated flavors of blood orange and plum. With a rounded acidity, the taste is delicate and bright, featuring an undertone of buttery brown sugar. The finish resonates with soft tannins and notes of red currant and white grape.”
(They have a pretty sweet job, don’t they?)
So what is this “honey process” and what difference does it make in the coffee? I’m so glad you asked. There are lots of ways in which coffee beans can be processed. While most are either “washed” (all layers of the coffee cherry is removed before the beans are dried) or “natural” (the fruit is left intact during the drying process), many farms are exploring variations on both these approaches in order to coax out intriguing and more nuanced flavors from their coffee beans.
With honey washed coffee, the skin of the coffee cherry is removed, but parts of the fruit are left on to varying degrees. White honey processing – the approach used by Finca El Quizarrá, the farm that produces the beans for this Special Reserve coffee – is closest to a fully washed coffee. That is, just 25% of the fruit remains, specifically the thick, honey-like layer that protects the beans. The result is a coffee that has the characteristically clean and bright flavors of a washed coffee, but a more pronounced sweetness imparted by the natural sugars of the fruit.
To further enhance the sweetness, the folks at Finca El Quizarrá hand-pick only the most mature cherries for pressing. Once pressed, the beans are sun dried on open-air patios and then fully dried mechanically in order to obtain precise humidity levels. Finally, the coffee rests on parchment in wood cellars for a few months prior to being dry milled. Once that’s done, the “green” beans are shipped to Vermont where the master roasters at Green Mountain Coffee® will work their magic, and package it up for you.
And me. I can’t wait to get my hands on some.