Honest Coffee Roasters Top Hot Series Costa Rica Catuai

posted in: reviews | 0

I’m a huge fan when roasters offer coffee packs that highlight varieties, roast levels, processing, etc. Honest Coffee Roasters out of Franklin, TN have done just that with the first offering in their Top Hat Series, bringing us two coffee varieties processed the same way at the same farm in Costa Rica. Last week I reviewed the Villa Sarchi coffee from the Top Hat Series and today I have the Catuai version.

Honest Coffee Roasters

Purchase the Top Hat Series #1 on sale for $20

Honest Coffee Roasters Top Hat Series Costa Rica Villa Sarchi review


This tin is a great idea. Being this close to the holiday season and the fact that it is on sale for $20 instead of $25 makes this a no-brainer gift for any coffee nut on your gift-giving list. Added bonus, these coffees are in nitrogen flushed packaging, which means that air is purged out of the bags using nitrogen, which should greatly reduce the oxidation that most coffee undergoes after roasting. Honest Coffee Roasters claim that this coffee will stay fresh for 100 days thanks to this technology, so you can buy now and not have to worry if it’ll still taste fresh at Christmas or beyond!

These two coffees come from Finca Sircof near San Isidro Grecia, Costa Rica. Marcos Oviedo, his father, and a couple of workers tend a 10-hectare farm there that specializes in honey processing coffees. This is a sort of “hybrid” process that incorporates elements of both dry/natural processing and wet/washed process in order to create a coffee with better body and fruitiness while retaining more “clean” flavors. The two varietals that were separated into individual lots are today’s Catuai and the Villa Sarchi variety I reviewed last week. That Villa Sarchi was super-dynamic and loaded with unique, unusual flavors! Link to the full review is up in the links section at the top of the page.

Catuai is a fairly common variety throughout Latin America and according to Honest Coffee Roasters, we should expect flavors of, “watermelon, honey, blackberry pie filling.” I used my standard 1:16 pourover ratio of 28g of coffee to 450g of water in a notNeutral Gino with Kalita 185 filters. I’m using a Handground grinder on the 3.5 setting.

As expected, the Catuai variety was a little more tame in the cup, but it actually did have a surprising amount of some of the notes from the Villa Sarchi lot, too, so it makes me wonder how much of these flavors come from the processing and how much come from the variety of coffee? The Catuai lot has a rounder profile focused more on the sweetness in the cup. Right up front there is a bit of lemon candy acidity that transitions slightly into that balsamic note in the finish. Not nearly as defined as it was in the Villa Sarchi, which was focused on that flavor, but it’s there and it must come somewhat from the honey processing they’re doing at Finca Sircof. Catuai has a bit of an earthy tone to it that is pretty apparent in this coffee, to me, too. As the cup cools it seems to take on more and more of the balsamic and berry tartness that the Villa Sarchi had so much of, too. There is a honeyed sweetness to this cup, but they’re actually quite alike with the Catuai being overall a little sweeter and rounder, but also not quite as clean on my palate as the Villa Sarchi was.

This first outing in the Top Hat Series is a really bold one for Honest Coffee Roasters. They could’ve played it safe(r) with a light/dark roast side-by-side or with a more subtle coffee, but this series is definitely going to be memorable! It has me inspired to do a 50/50 mix of these two coffees, too, and see how that is. A little home-blending action! While these aren’t the most accessible coffees ever, they really do compare and contrast nicely, especially if enjoyed at the same time. I really liked the Villa Sarchi for how outrageous it was and that weird, but good balsamic tartness note. Again, this tin is a no-brainer for any real coffee geek on your list!