There is a simple starting point to a great coffee and it mirrors that for any plant or animal, there is a need for an ideal growing environment, for it to prosper. We can humbly verify this, for our local contingent of hobby coffee growers, who have dropped their annual crop in for processing and roasting, ….. The outcome has proved to be rather lack lustre.
That ideal growing environment is: High elevations above 2000m, shade from trees or clouds, the right temperature and volcanoes. Coffee Arabica has a symbiotic relationship with the volcano; the shrubs love to grow in their soil and on their slopes. And to remind our local inhabitants there are no volcanoes in Townsville, at the moment, so we should stick to orchid growing or shift to Paluma.
Central America, however, is a seeming visual seam of volcanoes. You can’t miss them, rising bold and prominently across the landscape. They provide the physical boundaries of the competing coffee regions and a diverse range of diverse microclimates. These microclimates in turn provide a diverse range of flavours. Because there are individual coffee farms across Central America and there is growing traceability this makes the region special. Colombia can compete with this diversity of complexity too, with its 500k farmers but few others.
As the Specialty Coffee Market has heated up producers look for further ways to distinguish their products, different varietals and one path taken is the production of “Honey Coffees.”
Like the meaning of “Free” there is no strict and precise definition as to its meaning. But, by observation, it fundamentally relates to placing the coffee onto drying beds after the removal of the skin and some of the flesh of the cherry. That is rather than going through a fermentation process to remove the remaining flesh. The bean is dried with the fruit still on. As such, it has the potential to be sweeter because it is drying with the fructose on. The farmer can seemingly control the drying phase better and within a shorter period of time than employing the natural method in these regions, where there is the incessant risk of rain.
So, what are these “Honey Coffees” like? Let’s find out! We have taken x2 Costa Rican Honey’s to explore.