Varietal Box 2.0 - Coffea Diversa Farm, Costa Rica
Varietal Box 2.0 - Coffea Diversa Farm, Costa Rica
Our 2014/2015 crop is sold out! We will have a few varietals for sale at the Shop & Roastery (here) between July and August!
Your box will include 75 grams of each of the following coffees:
- Coffea Arabica var. Gesha
- Coffee Arabica var. Montecristo
- Coffea Arabica var. Villa Sarchi
- Coffea Arabica var. Mokka
- Coffea Arabica var. Venecia
A Note on Shipping: There are a limited number of boxes available. These will all be roasted and shipped on the last Tuesday of the month.
View Coffea Diversa Garden in a larger map
Nearly every high quality variety of coffee commercially available today originated from one of two varieties of the coffee species arabica: either Typica or Bourbon (named from the island of Bourbon, now called Reunion). These two coffee varietals were disseminated from Ethiopia, coffee's birthplace, to the rest of the world. Because of this, coffee grown all over the world has little genetic differentiation. Nevertheless, each variation of Typica and Bourbon has a massive impact on flavor.
Our friends at Coffea Diversa in Costa Rica grow a veritable variety garden. In addition to the oddly shaped var. Erecta that we carried last year, they also grow Dilla Alghe, Rume Sudan, and Purparescens. Unfortunately, due to CLR and other diseases, they did not harvest enough of these quantities to ship. Below, however, we have five unique varieties harvested from their farm in Biolley. Each is processed in the same way (a very clean honey method), grown at nearly the exact same altitude (1350 meters above sea level), and grown in similar soil and climate conditions. Differences in flavor owe to differences in variety and as such represent a unique opportunity to see the impact of variety on flavor. Not only that, but some of these varieties are not usually commercially available in the US (or anywhere else!). Here is a general summary of the growing area:
- Region: Biolley (Southern Costa Rica)
- Sub-region: Altamira
- Altitude: 1350 meters
- Other: Shade grown under a cedar and Erytrina shade trees using minimal non-organic additives.
- Venecia: Very bright, lively, green apple acidity. Deep, sweet aroma of exotic fruits like tamarind. Smooth body with long aftertaste.
- Mokka: Delicate, distinct acidity. Chocolaty, nutty, sweet deep aroma. Rich, syrupy body with prolonged aftertaste.
- Gesha: Soft citrus. Intensely floral and noticeable lavender. Silky, light mouthfeel. Tropical fruit and floral finish.
- Villa Sarchi: orange citrus. Softly floral, mildly savory. Syrupy, yet light body. Long, sweet aftertaste.
- Montecristo: tart and crips lemon acidity. Floral, cranberry, and raisin flavors. Medium, smooth body, and a short sweet aftertaste.
No one knows exactly where Venecia originated, but there are a few theories. Its name comes from the village in northern Costa Rica where it was first found. This region, near Nicaragua, is not known for coffee so its emergence there is quite a surprise! It may be a natural mutation or a natural cross. As a mutation, some have put forth Caturra or Typica as its parent; as a cross, some have said Caturra, Typica, or even Robusta! Because it ripens very late and is resistant to Coffee Leaf Rust, Robusta seems a likely candidate. But nothing about its flavor suggests Robusta. Because the tree itself is short and because the branches and internodes (where flowers emerge) grow close together, the tree is dense and hardy. Pictures 17, 18, 19, 20 above.
Moving from obscure to obscure, the theories regarding Mokka are even more varied than Venecia. Starting with what we know, Mokka is genetically related to Laurina, a Bourbon mutation. It is possibly a natural mutation of Bourbon or Typica. Another theory, however, states that it is a separate variety completely and that it originated in Yemen. Like Venecia, it is small with short internodes, but, lacking the hardiness of Venecia, it succumbs easily to CLR. The tree is conically shaped with cute, tiny flowers, cute, round beans and small, elliptical leaves. The beans are, in fact, the smallest known of the Arabica species. Pictures 13, 14, 15, 16 above.
The Ethiopian town this coffee likely came from is usually rendered "Gesha" in English. Still, many spell it Geisha. Either way, this coffee cultivar is likely an heirloom (i.e., undocumented and unbred) variety of arabica; a sister to rather than a descendent of Bourbon or Typica. The tree is tall, and both the leaves and beans are distinctively long and slender. Branches and nodes are widely spaced and the cultivar (while resistant to Fusarium) is not highly resistant to other diseases; thus, yields are low. Interestingly, Gesha plants have about 70% the caffeine content of Typica and Bourbon. Pictures 1, 2, 3, and 4 above.
4. Villa Sarchi
Villa Sarchi emerged in the village of Villa Sarchi in the 1920s. A naturally occurring mutation of Bourbon (some would say a naturally occurring hybrid of Catimor and Bourbon), this tree is also a dwarf. Like Venecia, Villa Sarchi ripens later. It is, however, highly susceptible to CLR (among other diseases). It has densely packed branches of the main shoots, but still yields low; as such, it is not commonly grown anymore. The beans are smallish and round like its parent, Bourbon. Pictures 9, 10, 11, 12 above.
When people think of a classic Costa Rican coffee, they are thinking Montecristo. This variety covered Costa Rican coffee farms from 1930-1970. The trees are tall with wide nodes resulting in low yields. Thus, in the 1970s, higher yielding Caturra and Catuai (hybrids descendents of Typica or Bourbon and Robusta) replaced Montecristo. Genetically, this coffee is similar to Mundo Novo: a cross of Bourbon and Typica. Morphologically and organoleptically, the beans and leaf shape resemble both its parents. Like Gesha, Montecristo has a lower caffeine, but higher lipid (fat) content than either of its parent varieties. Pictures 5, 6, 7, 8 above.