Meta Coffee Lab is a small roasting outfit in Lincoln, Nebraska, owned by Suzanne and Mike Bratty. Although Mike has roasted coffee for years, they got their business start earlier this year and got to be quite well known in Lincoln for the presence of their nitrogen tap cold brew tricycle at the Haymarket, a large farmers market in Lincoln! Today I am looking at Meta Coffee Lab’s Costa Rican coffee, Helsar Macho Arce. At this time I cannot locate a purchase link on their website, but you can contact Mike through the form and email address at the bottom of this page.
Costa Rica has a pretty advanced coffee industry and as a result they are using innovative milling methods, they are leaders in separating and producing microlots and the farmers are sophisticated and have a higher living standard than many at other origins. This puts Costa Rican coffee at pretty high demand and so the farmers and mills see a direct payoff for their innovation and hard work. 1
This coffee from Meta Coffee Lab comes from Helsar de Zarcero, a well-known, medium sized mill located in the West Valley coffee growing region of Costa Rica. It uses a machine washing process to remove the skins and mucilage from the coffee they process, rather than traditional wet-processing. This reduces the environmental impact of the processing. One of the farmers who processes coffee at Helsar de Zarcero is Manuel “Macho “Arce, hence the name of this coffee from one of his microlots!
Meta Coffee Lab offers the descriptors, “dark berry, apple pie filling, bittersweet cocoa” for this coffee. This is one of those occasional coffees that I enjoyed drinking both as AeroPress and pourover but didn’t have a lot of descriptors for it. It’s an overall sweet cup with a soft acidity that elevates and brightens the cup but I couldn’t say whether it was “citrus” or more apple or what. It was there, but hard to pin down for me. There was also a counterbalancing bitterness that evoked cocoa and even a bit of “twang” from the roast level (which was nicely developed).
This coffee was really drinkable, which is not something I’ve directly discussed much here, but is an important attribute in a coffee, nonetheless. Drinkability is a quality that makes a beverage easy to drink and it’s elusive, but it’s one of those things you know when you find it. The hallmark of drinkability is good balance. Very complex coffees can be a lot of fun to drink and describe and explore, but they can get old quick and even after a few ounces I can be done drinking one. Drinkable coffees will have you coming back for more and more and more! This Helsar Macho Arce from Meta Coffee Lab is drinkable, balanced and clean and running a pot of this in the morning to start the day is a great idea!