An unexpected coffee recently arrived on my doorstep from my friends at Peixoto Coffee Roasters in Chandler, AZ outside of Phoenix. Much to my delight, it was a bag of their natural process coffee from one of my absolute favorite farms/processors, Las Lajas in Costa Rica. I mean, come on! Let’s get to drinking!
PEIXOTO COFFEE ROASTERS COSTA RICA LAS LAJAS
This coffee amazes me all around… it arrived as a surprise and when I opened it, I was greeted with a nice handwritten card thanking me for my involvement in coffee. I mean, seriously??? This is so humbling and so caring on Peixoto’s part. Here’s a busy cafe/roaster/importer and they’re taking the time to send me a thank you note and a special coffee? Wow. This is why I love doing KC Coffee Geek and putting the hours and hours of work into the site every week! So awesome! My introduction to Peixoto Coffee Roasters came earlier this year when I reviewed four of their coffees in June and they immediately went to the high end of my favorite roasters list. The roastery and cafe are located outside of Phoenix, Arizona, in the suburb of Chandler, and it’s owned by Jeff Peters and Julia Peixoto Peters (said “Pay-show-tow”). While the roastery was just started in 2015, the Peixoto family has been farming coffee in Brazil since before 1920, so Julia has coffee running in her veins! Jeff does an excellent job honoring the Peixoto family coffee that arrives in AZ from Brazil, and he takes just as much care in roasting coffees from other origins and farms, too.
Today’s coffee comes from one of my all-time favorites, Las Lajas in Costa Rica. Las Lajas is a micromill in the central valley of Costa Rica run by Francisca and Oscar Chacon, and they also have their own farms in the area. Deeply dedicated to sustainability, the Chacon’s are pioneers in both organic growing practices as well as water-friendly processing methods. Las Lajas is most famous for their various honey process methods, but they process natural coffees, too, like today’s Alma Negra. Some of these methods are proprietary and so the Chacons are understandably tight-lipped about the details. A quick transation told me that Alma Negra means “black soul” and that may be the absolute toughest name for a coffee ever! What’s most notable about the Chacon’s Perla Negra and Alma Negra natural processes is that the coffees are quite clean for being naturals, and that makes them quite prized among drinkers.
Peixoto gives us tasting notes of, “blueberry aroma, pineapple acidity, dried cherry finish” for this coffee and I can’t wait to dive in! I’m using my standard pourover setup with a 1:16 ratio of 28g of coffee to 450g of water in a notNeutral Gino dripper. Handground grinder is set to 3 and I’m using Third Wave Water, as always.
Opening the bag of this coffee I am so excited to drink I did get a nice whiff of some light ferment along with a definite blueberry fragrance and an unmistakable pineapple brightness. Taking a sip, I immediately know that this coffee has everything I love about Central American naturals. They’re so different in so many ways from their African cousins, and I love them both equally, but man, this coffee is simply amazing! Pineapple is bursting in every sip of this coffee and it’s intense and unmistakeable. This coffee has definite flavors of just slightly overripe pineapple, carrying that hint of ferment that I actually love in natural coffees (and, yes, the ferment is minimal, for those who don’t like it, making honoring the clean flavors Las Lajas is so well known for). Along with the sweetness and flavor of super-ripe pineapple there is also some beautiful tartness that really gives my palate a similar feeling as when eating actual pineapple. I find pineapple super sweet, but also pretty tart and acidic, and this coffee mimics that nicely.
The pineapple note is definitely the dominant flavor in this coffee. It makes it juicy and tough to sip, encouraging big (and frequent) gulps instead. In the finish I get a little bit of a black tea character, both in flavor and in mouthfeel, which is just slightly on the dry side of neutral. The aftertaste has that black tea note and the pineapple morphs into a sour cherry tone (as opposed to the sweet cherries many of us eat all summer). Having lived in Michigan for 7 years, this is a very familiar flavor because sour cherries grow readily in that state and they’re added to all kinds of beers, booze and foods.
What a great coffee! Where African naturals tend to be those berry forward, sweet, sugary cups, this Alma Negra from Peixoto is super bright, tart, tropical and yet clean and sweet… all the things I expect and love about Central American naturals. This is definitely a bright, even tart, acid-forward, tropical coffee. It’s pineapple for days. It’s sweet in a fruity way, so for my palate there is nice balance, but this is definitely a coffee that highlights the fruit flavors that the wonderful acids found in coffee can carry. People looking for roasty notes, chocolates, nuts, low perceived acidity, etc will need to steer wide from this coffee, fair warning. I love everything about this coffee and it makes me really happy to know that someone at Peixoto has read my articles enough to know that I am a sucker for anything from Las Lajas, making this gift even more special. Jeff and Julia are absolutely doing it right from Peixoto Coffee Roasters and this coffee is just further proof of that!