It’s not everyday that a town of no more than 90 people can boast having a first class craft coffee roaster in business there! This morning I’m back in Round Top, Texas with Two Sparrows Roasting Co. and I’m checking out their honey process Tirra from Costa Rica. Slurp!
TWO SPARROWS ROASTING CO. COSTA RICA TARRAZU TIRRA HONEY
I greatly enjoyed Two Sparrows’ natural Ethiopia Ayehu both as a filter and espresso coffee, so I have anxiously been waiting to get into this Costa Rican. Two Sparrows is located in the tiny town of Round Top, Texas and it just goes to show that great coffee can pop up literally anywhere these days! This morning’s coffee is from the Los Santos area of the Tarrazu region of Costa Rica. About 35% of the coffee from Costa Rica is grown in Tarrazu, and the region tends to lead the way for the country in terms of quality and innovation. This particular coffee comes from CoopeTarrazú. This co-op has been around for over 50 years and works with 3,000 farmers in the Tarrazu and Leon Cortes regions. In 2013, the co-op began investing in its own farm as a project for producing small specialty lots like this one. Currently, Tirra, the co-op’s farm, is producing both natural and honey process coffees. This lot contains Caturra and Catuai grown at 1600-1800masl.
“Honey” coffees don’t contain any honey. It’s the name of a hybrid process that uses elements of washing and natural processing. These coffees are picked, sorted and run through a depulper that removes the skins of the cherries and some of the fruit from around the seed/pit, what we call a coffee “bean.” In honey process coffees, some amount of this sticky mucilage layer of fruit (aka “honey”) is left behind coating the beans rather than being totally removed as with a washed coffee. The coffee is then spread out on raised beds to dry with this sticky layer intact. Honey coffees tend to have more body, sweetness and fruitiness than if the same coffee were fully washed before drying, but at the same time they tend to be cleaner tasting and less fermented than full natural coffees, which are dried with the cherry totally intact like a rasin.
Two Sparrows gives us flavor notes of, “full body, delicate florals, sweet apricot and wildflower honey.” I used my standard 1:16 ratio of 28g of coffee to 450g of water in a notNeutral Gino dripper. My Handground grinder was set to 3.5 and I used Third Wave Water to brew my samples. This produced a cup with a nice, big body and some tangerine acidity. There is definitely a peach and apricot vibe in this coffee, too, noticeable right up front in the sip and all the way out into the long aftertaste. I am a total sucker for peach and apricot flavors in coffee and this one has a lot!
That same peach/aprictor note comes with a lot of sweetness, too. This is a really well-balanced cup that perfectly straddles brightness and sweetness. That also gives this coffee lots of drinkability and it’s hard not to take big gulps of this coffee as it’s cooling! The honey processing meets its goal of a clean cup in this coffee, too. I couldn’t detect any ferment notes (although I do rather like them when I find them in natural coffees!) in this coffee. Waiting a minute or two between sips gave me a floral and honey-like note on my palate, too. I am no honey conoisseur but I use honey from time to time and there is definitely a honey note in the aftertaste of this coffee. I almost always miss descriptors like, “honeyed sweetness” and etc, but it’s noticeable in the finish on this one, for me.
This is an excellent standalone coffee but would be a fantastic complement to breakfast food, too. This is definitely coming to work with me! Talk about a crowd-pleaser!