Nestled in the in heart of Costa Rica’s Western Valley, you’ll find the Naranjo canton. Named for its native orange trees (Los Naranjos), Naranjo is home to 4 Cup of Excellence winners, all within one square kilometer of each other! This might come as a surprise to folks who are more familiar with the nearby Tarrazu region, which has managed to surpass its neighbor in terms of name recognition. It reminds me of Ethiopian coffee in that respect. Everybody recognizes Yirgacheffe, but far fewer Ethiopian coffee lovers are aware that the Sidama region produces even higher altitude coffee with just as much if not greater potential for tasty cups.
Coffees from Costa Rica's West Valley are known for their bright acidity, full body, and silky-smooth texture, making them perennial favorites among coffee enthusiasts. Typical tasting notes include citrus fruits, such as orange and lemon (no surprise based on the canton’s namesake), along with hints of tropical fruit like pineapple and mango rounded out by chocolate tones and brown sugar sweetness.
If you’re new to West Valley coffee, I can think of no better introduction than this single farm lot from Danilo Salazar. With his decades of coffee growing experience on his small 30 acre farm, he and his son Pablo Andrés selected a portion of his best caturra and catuai cherries for natural processing on his micro mill. This takes the flavor profile I mentioned earlier and cranks the dial to 11. The cup manages to maintain much of its crisp acidity in the form of pineapple and orange but instead of just subtle hints, we’ve got pineapple orange JUICE! Add some fresh ripe strawberries, grapes and melon to that smoothie and you’ve got a serious fruit bomb on your hands. Intensely sweet with a refreshing finish, this cup is perfect for filter brews both hot and flash iced on a sunny afternoon.
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: Crisp and intensely sweet
Balance & Finish: Fairly balanced with a refreshing clean finish
Body & Texture: Full bodied with a silky texture
Flavors: Strawberry, red grape, pineapple soda, melon & orange juice
Grade: 1700 masl (SHG)
Processing: Full natural, sun dried on patios and elevated tables
Grower: Danilo Salazar
Region: Naranjo, Alajuela, Costa Rica
Varieties: Caturra and Catuai
Recommended Roast Range: City to Full City (Light to medium)
We like this coffee best at a Light-medium (City+) or at as first crack is just beginning to taper off. For more florality and more bright (almost underripe) pineapple and orange at the expense of sweetness, end your roast early in first crack for a light roast. If you favor more rounded sweetness and want bring out a bit of chocolate at the expense of some of the more subtle flavors like melon.
Royal Coffee - "There is nowhere like Costa Rica when it comes to coffee processing and micro-mill innovations. Just ask Danilo Salazar who has dedicated the better half of 50 years perfecting various processing techniques at his 30-acre farm in the West Valley region of Naranjo within the province of Alajuela. Much of the recent innovation in processing has been fueled by Danilo’s son, Pablo Andrés. The pair works together using their own micro-mill where cherry selection and drying are meticulously executed. This natural processed coffee is an example of precisely executed methods of drying coffee inside the cherry, which eliminates the need to wash the coffee and greatly reduces the environmental impact, while at the same time, producing an expressive cup profile.