In the last few decades, Costa Rica has made quite a name for itself in the specialty coffee industry. This was no accident, it’s due to a concerted effort by farmers and the Costa Rican government to put it on the world coffee stage. In fact, the effort was so focused that for a while, Robusta beans were outlawed in order to force producers to focus on more desirable Arabica beans! While that law was repealed a few years ago to give producers more flexibility and open up more markets, the campaign to make Costa Rican coffee synonymous with world class coffee was a resounding success. The proof of this is obvious to us, because fresh arrivals from Costa Rica get us as excited as kids fresh outta school on summer vacation!
Tarrazu is probably the most recognized region in Costa Rica when it comes to growing amazing coffee, and for good reason! It’s well known for producing coffees with that rare combo of great body and vibrant acidity. Within that region is the town of Santa Maria de Dota, so named as it’s the seat of the Dota canton which makes up most of the Tarrazu region. Santa Maria de Dota is home to CoopeDota which consists of 900 producer-members that have been working together since 1960. Besides their exceptional coffee, CoopeDota has developed a reputation for conservation because in their words “good beans are good for the environment”. In fact, they developed a first of its kind carbon neutral processing mill using hydropower energy, eco-pulpers which conserve water and even mechanical coffee driers fueled by coffee parchment!
We decided to pick up not one but 2 coffees this season from CoopeDota: this natural processed microlot as well as their washed community lot, both consisting of a mix of the caturra and catuai arabica varieties. This microlot made it to Royal’s Crown Jewel list and it comes to us from just 10 of their member producers in the micro-region of El Vapor, named after the water vapor plumes formed by the reaction between warm air from the local sawmill and cool air from the mountains. Prior to processing, the cherries that made the cut in this lot were carefully hand sorted, receiving CoopeDota’s internal rating of AAA. The care taken in crafting this coffee is evident in the cup; it’s rich, creamy, clean and most notably, super sweet! Yeah, I know, we say this all the time, but seriously: if you usually have sugar in your coffee, try this coffee without it first. Some naturals give us a “fresh fruit” vibe while others have more of a “candy” vibe with this coffee landing firmly in the latter. That’s the first note we got in the cup. Like the red jolly ranchers! We also got notes of ripe pomegranate, lovely dried berries and a drizzle of caramel for good measure. A delightful and decadent treat perfect as both a filter brew and a luxurious single origin espresso!
Reminder! This coffee is raw, you must roast it before brewing
Arrival Date: September 15, 2023 US Arrival: July 2023, Packed in GrainPro
Acidity & Brightness: Fairly bright and very sweet
Balance & Finish: Moderately balanced with a quick clean finish
Body & Texture: Full bodied with a creamy texture
Flavors: Cherry candy, pomegranate, dried berries & caramel
Grade: 1550 – 1950 masl (SHG)
Processing: Full natural, dried in the sun and mechanical driers
Grower: Cooperativa de de Caficultores de Dota R.L. (CoopeDota)
Region: Dota, San José, Costa Rica
Varieties: Caturra and Catuai
Recommended Roast Range: City to Full City+ (Light to medium-dark)
We like this coffee best at City+ (light-medium) or as 1st crack has begun to trail off. If you’re looking to pull more florality and a kick the brightness up a notch, end your roast shortly into first crack for a light roast. Medium roasts (full city or in between the cracks) will have lots of rich caramel and candy notes. Take this coffee as dark as the very first snap of 2nd crack to caramelize the cup further, but you’ll lose quite a bit of acidity and some of the more subtle berry flavors.
Royal Coffee - "There is nowhere like Costa Rica when it comes to coffee cooperatives and Cooperativa de Caficultores de Dota R.L (CoopeDota), which was established in 1960, is one of the finest. It starts with an unmatched commitment to the environment. CoopeDota has a first of its kind certified carbon-neutral mill, which features hydro-powered energy consumption, water efficient eco-pulpers (also called a demucilager), and mechanical coffee dryers fueled by coffee parchment. Nearly 900 producer-members living throughout the canton of Dota within the province of San Jose, Costa Rica focus their attention on farm management throughout the year and then deliver their cherry to the CoopeDota mill during the harvest where traceability and quality control are second to none. This particular lot of cherries come from a group of ten farms above 1800 masl in the micro-region called El Vapor, named after the plumes of water vapor produced when the warm air coming from a local sawmill collided with the cool mountain air. This natural process, highlights CoopeDota’s commitment to reduce water use and expertise in precise drying protocols. CoopeDota has an equally intricate model of income diversification with a profitable agriculture supply store and tourism department dedicated to showing off coffee farms to visitors. They also roast their own coffee and operate three cafes and a cupper/barista training center. Their commitment to the environment also extends to the community of Santa Maria de Dota where the cooperative manages trash pickup for the entire town.