“Machine-washed” is a confusing term if you ask me, commonly used to describe one of the more dominant The removal of the cherry and parchment from the coffee seed.: Coffee is either wet-processed (also called washed or wet-milled) or dry-processed (also called wild, natural or natural... ...more techniques in Costa Rican coffee is typically very clean, sweet, with lots of floral accents. hey are prized for their high notes: bright citrus or berry-like flavors in the acidity,... ...more. It’s partly confusing because “washed” normally implies A key part of the wet process of coffee fruit is overnight fermentation, to break down the fruit (mucilage) layer that tenaciously clings to the coffee seed, so... ...more, a step used to break down the fruit/mucilage layer making it easy to remove from the seed. No, there isn’t mechanical fermentation with “mechanical washing,” rather the fermentation step in the wet-processing technique is completely foregone, using a machine to remove the Either a flavor in the coffee, or referring to the fruit of the coffee tree, which somewhat resembles a red cherry.: Either a flavor in the coffee, or... ...more and most of the Mucilage indicates the fruity layer of the coffee cherry, between the outer skin and the parchment layer that surrounds the seed. It readily clings to the inner parchment... ...more in one fell swoop, producing Green coffee still in its outer shell, before dry-milling, is called Parchment coffee (pergamino). In the wet process, coffee is peeled, fermented, washed and then ready for drying... ...more coffee with only a thin layer of mucilage intact when drying on patios, in greenhouses, or in mechanical drum-type dryers (guardiolas).
So, isn’t this the same as “Pulp natural is a hybrid method of processing coffee to transform it from the tree fruit to a green bean, ready for export. Specifically, it involves the removal... ...more” processing used in many other coffee-producing countries? Sort of. Pulp natural coffee can be produced with both de-pulpers and de-mucilage machines, the common element being that only the cherry is removed, leaving behind the entire mucilage layer during the drying stage. But with machine-washing, there is control over how much of the mucilage is left intact, which can greatly affect the influence processing technique has on the cup: The less you leave on, the greater the Transparency is a flavor characterization synonymous with clarity. It is also a business ethics term, implying that as much information as possible about a product is made available... ...more. In Costa Rica they’ve given names to correlate wiht the amount of mucilage left on the seed roughly correlating to percentages; these are the infamous “In coffee, honey-like sweetness is often found, but we use terms such as refined honey (highly filtered and processed) as opposed to raw honey rustic honey sweetness. This... ...more” coffees: black and red honey=50% or more mucilage; yellow honey=20% – 50%, and "Red honey" process gesha at a coffee farm in Costa Rica's Central Valley growing region. The honey process has nothing to do with honey other than the fact... ...more/mechanically washed less than 20%. Measurements are of course imprecise, but they can come pretty darn close.
So how does this relate to A small coffee beverage, about 20 ml, prepared on an espresso machine where pressurized hot water extracted through compressed coffee.: In its most stripped-down, basic form, this is... ...more? Well, like pulp-naturals, the pulp left on the seed tends to produce heavier Associated with and sensed by mouthfeel, body is sense of weight and thickness of the brew, caused by the percentage of soluble solids in the cup, including all... ...more, A descriptive term I use to communicate a well-structured, classic, clean flavor profile from a wet-processed coffee. This would be in opposition to coffees with exotic character, flamboyant... ...more Acidity is a positive flavor attribute in coffee, also referred to as brightness or liveliness. It adds a brilliance to the cup, whereas low acid coffees can seem... ...more, and slightly-fruited Sweetness is an important positive quality in fine coffees, and is one of five basic tastes: Sour, Sweet, Salty, Bitter, Savory (Umami). In coffee, sweetness is a highly... ...more, positive attributes for espresso shots. For the machine-washed/white honey category of “20% or less” there’s quite a bit of room for variation, and so no surprise that profiles of coffees categorically produced the same way (i.e. white honey/mechanically washed) can show vastly different cup attributes. Such is the case for the two current Costa Rican coffees on Coffee Shrub, both mechanically-washed and from two different micro-mills; Chirripo Spanish 101: Finca is the Spanish word for farm. Sometimes the term Hacienda is used to imply an Estate, which would mean the farm has its own wet-mill.... ...more Jose and Helsar Magdalena Vega.
Finca Jose is from a brand-new Chirripo mill, the effort of two brothers who inherited a few large coffee farms, that between them, produce enough coffee where a “Small independent mills that produced finished coffee, ready for export, usually right on the farm. A Micromill is a tiny low-volume, farm-specific coffee producer who their lots separate,... ...more” operation makes sense rather than pay to have their coffee processed by someone else. Magdalena Vega’s coffee on the other hand, is from the well-known Helsar mill in the West Valley, one of the original micro-mills, known for producing astonishingly clean mechanical-washed coffees. One look at these coffees side-by-side, and the variation is quite obvious. Jose’s coffee appears to be close to the “20%” mucilage threshold, the raw coffee dawning red to brown hues. Vega is a fairly uniform green coloring, closely resembling actual “washed” coffees. The cup profiles echo these differences too, Finca Jose a fruit-forward, juicy bodied coffee, and fairly The co-presence of many aroma and flavor attributes, with multiple layers. A general impression of a coffee, similar to judgments such as "balanced" or "structured" ...more in comparison to Vega, which is characterized by Suggests a harmony and proportion of qualities, and implies mildness since no one quality dominates.: Balance is both an obvious and slippery taste term. It implies a harmony... ...more, “classic” Bittersweet is from the language of chocolate, and describes the co-presence of positive bittering compounds balanced by sweetness. It is directly related to caramelization, but has inputs from... ...more notes, and articulated sweetness. No surprise they offer very different espresso experiences too.
Both coffees are made up mostly of Catimor is a broad group of cultivars derived from a Hibrido de Timor (HdT) and Caturra cross, highly productive, sometimes with inferior cup flavor. The main issue is... ...more Cultivar is a term used interchangeably with Varietal in the coffee trade to indicate plant material, although there are distinctions.: The naming of a cultivar should conform to... ...more, and grown at very high altitudes (1700 – 2000 meters). This makes for fairly dense coffee beans, and they need to be handled in the roaster as such. Both of my espresso roasts are Full City, that is, roasted to a level of darkness where shade-uniformity is achieved, but not quite encroaching on 2nd–crack territory. Like pulp-naturals grown at similar altitudes, these coffees can take the heat up front in order to hit the desired time markers, which for my sample roasting is 3 to 4 minute yellowing, 7 minute First crack in one of two distinct heat-induced pyrolytic reactions in coffee. It is distinguished by a cracking or popping sound in the coffee, and occurs between 390... ...more, and pulling around the 10 minute mark for FC. I have to up my PID controller a few degrees after warm up to make sure I don’t lag on these numbers. When roasting in our Probat L12, we’ll bump up our initial charge setting about 20% (from 1wc to 1.2wc on our controller), coercing a touch more heat on up to 390, and then reducing back to just below the initial charge setting (not cutting heat altogether) as we roll into 1st snaps. This last part keeps the roast from stalling, and at a rate of rise that will progress the roast all the way to the desired FC temp, for us around 428 (It should be noted that we keep full air-flow through the drum for the first 5 minutes of every roast in order to cool and roast at the same time, after which we cut air completely until the batch is pulled).
OK, so we’ve roasted both the FC, let the roasts rest a few days (96 hours for this assessment), and are ready to run them through our espresso machine. First I’ll say that it took me a couple tries to get the Magdalena Vega dialed in. I don’t think this has much to do with the coffee itself, but more the inner-workings of an ultra-sensitive K3 we have in our lab. I of course made sure to try every shot that passed through our machine – even the terrible ones. I have to say, my initial 15 second 4 oz-er as well as the 45 second 1 oz-er showed promise. Once I dialed it in, the two “good” shots pulled were A mouthfeel description indicating elegant softness, refined smoothness: A mouthfeel description indicating elegant softness, refined smoothness. See Silky as well. ...more thick, and produced a visually-appealing level of Crema is a dense foam that floats on top of a shot of espresso. It ranges in color from blond to reddish-brown to black. Blond crema may be... ...more. After cooling for a couple minutes and a quick stir, I take my first sip. Vega will appeal to those who lean toward “classic” profile espresso – that is, flavor profiles revolving around a tart and sweet sensations up front, and A general flavor or aroma term reminiscent of chocolate. But what type? Usually described with more specifics.: Chocolate is a broad, general flavor or aroma term reminiscent of... ...more Mrs. Olsen likes rich coffee. At Sweet Maria's, we are not sure what rich means... but if you buy a lot of coffee from us, maybe we will... ...more from middle to Similar to aftertaste, but it refers to the impression as the coffee leaves the palate. Aftertaste is the sensations gathered after the coffee has left the mouth. We... ...more. I will even go as far as to call the espresso “mild,” in that it doesn’t taste like an intensified version of all the characteristics found in the cup. The We have a simple scale to rate intensity in our coffee reviews, from Mild to Bold. Low intensity does not mean low quality!: We have a simple scale... ...more is there, but a much more restrained version than most.
As you might expect from the Finca Jose cup review (and what we’ve laid out in this article), fruit-forward characteristics reverberate in the shot. There is a sustained chocolate note too, that is mouth-coating, nagging at the palate long into the finish. It’s heavy, Bitterness is one of 5 basic tastes: Sour, Sweet, Salty, Bitter and Umami (savory flavors). There are many types of bitterness, hence not one avenue to tracking down... ...more and sweet, and provides a grounding quality for top notes to play off. Fruited flavors go from cherry to berry, and A euphemistic term we use often to describe acidity in coffee. A bright coffee has more high, acidic notes. : A euphemistic term to describe acidity in coffee.... ...more is also in the realm of tartaric/grape-like. Though roast times were nearly identical, this coffee was roasted just a tad lighter than the Vega, I’m guessing partly due to higher altitude (his farm is just over 2000 meters), as well as the fact that there appears to have been more fruit left intact post de-mucilage stage.
Both coffees will stand up to 2nd snaps no problem. Tapering the heat just before 1st An audible popping sound heard during roasting. In coffee, one refers to "first crack" and "second crack," which come from two different classes of chemical reactions.: An audible... ...more is crucial to avoid rushing through this important leg of the roast, drawing out sugar A reaction involving sugars that occurs during coffee roasting. A caramelized sugar is less sweet, but has greater complexity of flavor and aroma. Caramelization is slower than Maillard... ...more as you also invariably introduce heavier roast tones into the cup profile. For Vega you can expect development of chocolate roast tones, bittering cacao slightly overtaking sweetness, but not altogether. This type of espresso profile will work great for espresso drinks. And this extra phase of development will round off some of the In some coffee taster’s lexicon, “fruity” means the coffee is tainted with fruit, and “fruited” means a coffee is graced by positive fruit notes. We don't exactly see... ...more “edge” of Finca Jose’s coffee, also bolstering the ever-present cocoa roast tones. With this one, you can expect a complex espresso shot no matter what.
What’s interesting to me about running these two side by side, is that they help illustrate the fairly wide allowance within the “machine-washed” processing category. Just by looking at the green coffees it’s apparent that they are different – even though both Caturra is an Arabica cultivar discovered as a natural mutant of Bourbon in Brazil in the first decade of the 20th century, but wasn't studied until 1937. It... ...more processed in the same manner – and these visual cues help inform roasting decisions as well as give a general idea of what to expect in the cup (i.e. cup clarity, fruit, etc). I think this is especially true for the mechanical washing method, where the “cleanest” examples are near-completely stripped of fruit, those closer to pulp-natural at the other end of the spectrum. Vega and Jose exemplify this wide range, both representing the top-tier of pulp-natural style espressos. We have a few bags left of each, Chirripo Finca Jose and Helsar Magdalena Vega, on the Coffee Shrub Green Coffee List.