Tasting: Santa Elena Tarrazu Miel

  • Rating: Rating: ★★★★☆

Coffee is a fruit, you know… Sipping the cup in front of me, this simple truth is underlined. The cup is lush, heavily fruited with black cherry, and reveals a sweet tobacco finish. Oh… and it’s from Costa Rica.

The coffee is Santa Elena Tarrazu Miel. Now, Santa Elena is a big coffee farm in Tarrazu, Costa Rica. Big enough they have their own mill… and big enough that when the top 10% or so of their coffee meets specialty coffee standards, it’s a lot of coffee. Erna Knutsen, the grand damme of the specialty coffee trade [and the originator of the term Specialty Coffee] convinced the folks at Santa Elena to process this coffee, this very fine Tarrazu coffee, like folks in Sumatra do… a “semi-wash” process that left the pulp of the fruit on the bean while it dried.

Unheard of!

It was almost certainly something of a leap of faith for Santa Elena farm… maybe even for Erna! But the result is unique, and distinctive, and very enjoyable. It’s not your typical Tarrazu… it’s sweeter, it’s more complex, it’s richer in body.

Thanks, Erna.


  1. Where can one purchase Santa Elena Miel? I use to be able to get it from Sweet Maria’s but they dont seem to carry it anymore. Thanks, Bill

  2. I believe Tom has given up on the Santa Elena as an origin (for now) because of issues with consistency… however, I believe he’s sold on the *idea) as he’s recently offered “miel” or “pulped natural” coffees sourced from other origins. He’s currenly offering just such a bean — Nicaragua Matagalpa, Placeras Estate Miel — so get it while you can and let me know how you fare! (I might want some, too!!)

  3. Aw, couldn’t help myself. I just ordered some.

    I just love me them pulped natural coffees…



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