In recent years, the coffee scene in Costa Rica has fragmented. Gone were the classic Tarrazus, the smooth pleasant coffee that many of us fell in love with years ago.
In its place, we had an overabundance of micro-lot offerings. Producers and mills were experimenting with all varieties of dry and wet processing, in addition to planting new cultivars that had not been historically grown in the country (such as Gesha). The result: several interesting ideas and taste experiences, but because each new experiment required extra time and labor from the producer and reduced the overall volume, costs sky-rocketed. To get a Costa Rican coffee in stock, you had pay 2-3 times more than in recent history and there would only be a handful of bags available. So, while we were always on the lookout for a good cup of Costa Rica at a sustainable price, more often than not, we did without and focused more on special offerings from Honduras or El Salvador.
Fortunately, we were not the only ones missing having a good Costa Rican coffee around. Last year when they went on their annual origin trip, our good friends at Royal NY had an idea and were on the hunt for the right partner. The proposition: we'll pay a premium price for a selectively picked coffee if we can get an entire container's worth. Better quality, better volume, better price. They found their partner in Coope Tarrazu RL.
Founded in 1960, Coope Tarrazu RL currently has over 3000 farmer members and operates the largest wet mill in Costa Rica. The Coope put it to a vote and their members started putting aside their most ripe cherries for this special project, dubbed La Cereza Roja (ripe cherry). We got updates throughout the harvest period and got to meet the president and manager of Coope Tarrazu RL in April, but did not get to taste the results of this collaborative effort until our pre-ship sample in May.
Brewed up, it's a sweet and juicy cup full of milk chocolate and cherry flavors.
The result? The first Tarrazu we have been thoroughly happy with in almost 10 years. We're roasting this blend of Caturra and Catuai coffees to a medium roast. Brewed up, it's a sweet and juicy cup full of milk chocolate and cherry flavors. We've got 40 bags—enough to last us a while, but we're hoping that you will love this so much that we will need to buy even more from Coope Tarrazu RL next year because we want La Cereza Roja to be an on-going project for us and our new partners in Costa Rica.