Up for review today is the second coffee sample I received from Mission Arabica, their Costa Rica Petronila. You can purchase this coffee for $12.99/bag directly from Mission Arabica. As with the Yirgacheffe I reviewed last week (and found to be significantly over-roasted), there isn’t much information about this coffee on Mission Arabica’s website, nor do I have a roast date for this sample. The website says the coffee comes from parcels of the Petronila farm in Costa Rica, at altitudes of 1200-1500masl and the rest of the information would indicate it is a fully washed coffee. The varietals aren’t indicated but the description calls out, “Lime, chocolate, deep flavor” in the cup.
Update: I talked to the gents at Mission Arabica and they said that a couple of their larger accounts are grocery stores that request darker roasts and that’s why these coffees were so dark.
I prepared my samples using Gino and AeroPress and, unfortunately, as with their Yirgacheffe this coffee is over-roasted, too. The beans were very dark with oils on the surface, meaning they were probably roasted into and past second crack. As I wrote before, that’s not a bad thing, in and of itself, but that dark of a roast takes away a lot of the potential “origin” flavors and replaces them with roasting flavors (sugar caramelization and chocolates on a good day, metallics and ash on a worse day). I have nothing against nicely developed roasts, but the flavor has to be there.
I think this Costa Rica coffee handled Mission Arabica’s overly-dark roast slightly better than the Yirgacheffe did. On the plus side it is a full-bodied cup and it’s not incinerated like coffee from the big chains, but it’s close. As with the Yirgacheffe, I found the coffee to be on the flat side, but as it cooled a hint of lime acidity did peek through.
On the other hand, there were slight notes of copper penny (dark roasted coffees can pick up metallic flavors) and this metallic tone gained strength in the cooling cup, as did an ashy character.
Overall, this Petronila fared better with Mission Arabica’s dark roasting style, but I question the principle of it, especially on single origin coffee. I know there is a decent, if not large, segment of the coffee buying public that favors dark-roasted coffees and I suspect Mission Arabica is going after that market rather than the true specialty coffee market, but that’s just a guess. If I was served this coffee at IHOP or something with breakfast I would be fine with it, but as a coffee I want to sit down with at home and enjoy it just doesn’t do it for me. My recommendation for Mission Arabica is the same as it was for their Yirgacheffe: experiment and cup a variety of roasts for each coffee and try to preserve more of their unique character. If they have already done this, then that’s fine and I wish them success in their noble endeavor because taste is in the mouth of the beholder and my opinion is just that!