|Santa María de Dota, Costa Rica
Omar Calderón and family
Read our interview with Maruyama
|Candied ginger. Oolong. Rosemary.
|View the brew guide for Granitos de Altura del Ortiz
This month we’re honored to bring you Granitos de Altura del Ortiz, an award-winning Costa Rican coffee roasted by Maruyama in Nagano, Japan.
This exceptionally rare coffee won the Cup of Excellence in 2015 after being evaluated over 120 times by an experienced international jury. The resulting lot, auctioned in its entirety, is exclusive to Collected Coffee in collaboration with Maruyama—you won't find it anywhere else in the world.
In the airy Santa María de Dota, a small mountain town along the flank of the Cordillera de Talamanca range of Costa Rica, Granitos de Altura del Ortiz was produced by Omar Calderón. His farm, Finca Ortiz 1900 is located 1970m above sea level, and Calderón, his wife, and his four daughters have been growing coffee and processing it in their own micro mills for the last 20 years.
Their particular method of processing, black honey, involves drying the coffee on raised African coffee beds and sheltering it from light exposure over the course of several weeks. Black honey is the most labor intensive and expensive of all the honey processes, but it also produces some of the best and most complex flavors, as evidenced by Calderón's track record of yearly Cup of Excellence-winning coffees.
Granitos de Altura del Ortiz was roasted by Maruyama, a Japanese roaster whose claim in the coffee world is nothing short of spectacular. Maruyama was founded in 1991 by Kentaro Maruyama in Karuizawa, a town in the Nagano prefecture, 200km northwest of Tokyo.
Maruyama is known for bidding on and winning some of the world’s best coffee lots each year; in 2002, they made history by paying the highest price ever in the auction lot of a Brazil Cup of Excellence winner. In 2014, Maruyama also became home to the first Asian barista champion when its staff member Hidenori Izaki won the World Barista Championship.
Well-known for his palate and commitment to producers, founder Kentaro Maruyama is somewhat of a legend. He has cupped more Cup of Excellence coffees than anyone else in the world and he spends more than 100 days on the road each year in the Americas and Africa, visiting producers to purchase coffee from them directly.
Granitos de Altura del Ortiz is the perfect fall coffee. Wonderfully fragrant, each whiff conjures up warm spices and fruit, like that of pears poaching in honey and allspice. Each sip awakens the palate with intense, upfront notes of candied ginger, but as the coffee lingers, its flavors coat the mouth with the silky body of oolong tea and the fresh brightness of apricots. The tea and fruit aromatics balance out the fiery crackle of ginger by infusing it with earth tones and a nuanced sweetness.
This is a sparkling and vibrant, but also deeply comforting coffee—the result of a careful black honey process that develops delicate and complex flavors over a slow and lengthy drying cycle. Granitos de Altura del Ortiz finishes smoothly with a scent of light rosemary, and is a joy to look forward to on those colder, darker days.