Excellent. Too Excellent?

p1010090I am in the fortunate position of being in possession of several hundred grams of Costa Rica Cup of Excellence lot #2 from Finca Sin Limites.  A fragrant, delicate, dainty coffee with a lightness of body and a knife-edge balance.  Brewed correctly, and you do need to brew it correctly you should be refreshed by a well defined juicy apple brightness and lightweight mouthfeel.


Not exactly robust then.  Not a candidate for SO espresso of the month.  Probably not but it’s worth a try.  The sample here is four weeks post-roast.  Getting on a bit for this high-maintenance show pony.  The top end has dulled significantly when brewed in a pour-over filter which results in a perceived boost to the body.  The aroma has bulked up and lost it’s youthful vigour, giving way to more of a peachy, tropical note.


And so to the machine.  Having dialled-in the grind, the first shot out showed promise.  A little on the sharp side but there was some sweetness that I was sure could be boosted.  Second shot, and with a shorter flush of the HX lever group to raise the brew temperature I was getting somewhere.  Honey and caramel base but a pithy finish.  Tightened the grind a little, produced a very slow drippy shot and nailed it.  Heavy, syrupy, honey sweet, very clean and perfectly balanced with a hint of the white fruit finish this coffee is known for.


I was surprised.  I did not expect to get a drinkable espresso from this coffee.  It just seemed so fragile.  Putting it through the espresso machine seemed like asking Darcy Bussell to breakdance.  Well she came out doing headspins.  The age of the coffee surely plays a part in this success.  Any less than 3 weeks post-roast when the acidity is at maximum attack would surely cause major problems, but this suggests to me that a high quality coffee such as this can keep on giving when most would be beginning to taste just plain old.


So this coffee rates amongst my favourite espressos.  But the other constituents of that list are mostly blends and single estate Brazils.  Beautiful coffees all of them but significantly none come close in terms of price or acclaim.  The Sin Limites was not an order of magnitude greater than more down to earth coffees when used as espresso.  It was transformed.  There were hints of it’s original character but that delicacy and lightness of body were hugely concentrated into a heavy sweetness, a sweetness and balance which can be assimilated with the right choice of blend components.


So it’s possible to make espresso with a fancy top-dollar cup of excellence coffee.  But should you?  Probably not.


~ by bombcup on December 1, 2008.

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