IMAG6402 Costa Rica - 29 July 2013The newest Starbucks Reserve offering is the Costa Rica La Candeililla Estate Coffee.  Have you tried it?  The website describes its primary flavor notes as citrus, nuts, and chocolate.  For myself, having had this coffee a number of times, I get the citrus in the aroma, and both a chocolatey mouth-feel, and a bit of the Kenya-like citrus qualities to the flavor profile.

I first had it on July 29, 2013, while attending a coffee seminar at the East Olive Way Starbucks.  Josh (a Coffee-Master-In-Training) paired this with the La Boulange Lemon Loaf as well as La Boulange Chocolate Croissant.  In my humble opinion, the lemon loaf was a great pairing, but I was  a bit less of a fan of it paired with the chocolate croissant.  I thought the buttery flavors of the chocolate croissant were almost a bit overwhelming to the coffee.  By the way, we tried this same coffee both hot and iced (prepared by the Clover) and this coffee does beautifully as an iced coffee.

The Sanchez family (who own and operate the coffee farm where this coffee came from) has a long and rich history of partnering with Starbucks.  In 2005, this coffee was a Black Apron Starbucks coffee offering – also an amazing Costa Rica from the same estate, and the article on it says the following about this coffee farm:

Untitled-2 Screen cap from 2005 official article on Costa Rica La Candelilla Black Apron coffeeLa Candelilla is one of Costa Rica’s first micro-mills,” explained Dub Hay, Starbucks senior vice president of Coffee and Global Procurement, “so the Sanchez family — the nine owners of the estate — controls the high quality of this exquisite coffee from seedling to export. The Sanchez family has been working this land for five generations, and we are honored and humbled to be working with them to provide this exceptional coffee to our customers.”

The estate spans more than 90 acres including coffee plants, two main houses, a warehouse, a coffee mill and drying patios. The Sanchez family controls all aspects of green coffee growth and production, making sure their Caturra and Catuai varieties of arabica coffees are cared for every step of the way.

“The rich volcanic soil, high altitude and dry summers produce a ‘strictly hard bean’ with enormous flavor potential,” continued Hay. “In the hands of our master roasters, this green bean is transformed into a coffee with juicy acidity and a flavor that is soft, sweet and complex.”

La Candelilla Estate is in the magnificent valley of Tarrazu, set on a rise of land between the roaring Pirris River and a small creek — in fact, the “little candle” estate is named for fireflies that light up this creek at twilight. The estate is high in the Talamanca Mountains of Costa Rica, in a verdant valley known for breathtaking scenery and a region known for its leadership in growing fine coffees.

“Our family has a deep respect for each other and for our coffee,” said Ricardo Hernandez, Manager, La Candelilla Estate. “Only the ripe coffee cherries are hand-picked, processed, completely sun-dried and graded in the old Tarrazu methods. In addition to producing the highest quality coffee, we use progressive, environmentally friendly practices — like transforming the broza (skins of coffee cherries) into organic fertilizer, and using water treatment facilities to purify waste water and avoid any damage to our natural water sources.”

It’s great to have this coffee back as a Reserve coffee! I was just curious if anyone else had tried it, and what they thought.

Thank you Josh at the East Olive Way Starbucks for walking us through a great coffee tasting for this exotic coffee!

Untitled-1 Screen cap from StarbucksStore dot com - Costa Rica 12Aug2013IMAG6502 Costa Rica paired with the La Boulange lemon loafIMAG6408 Coffee tasting in progress - 29 July 2013 - Costa RicaIMAG6405 Josh leads the coffee seminar 29 July 2013Untitled-1 Screen cap from StarbucksStore dot com - Costa Rica 12Aug2013IMAG6501 Descriptive cards for the Costa Rica Reserve coffee