Magnolia Coffee

Costa Rica Signature Reserve Don Pepe

Location: Charlotte, North Carolina

Origin: West Valley, Costa Rica

Roast: Medium-Light

Est. Price: $15.99/12 ounces

Review Date: November 2016

Agtron: 56/76

Aroma: 9

Body: 8

Flavor: 9

Aftertaste: 8

With Milk: 9

Blind Assessment:

Evaluated as espresso. All three reviewers praised this espresso for its clean, citrusy/orangy sweetness: “orange hard candy” for co-taster Jen Apodaca (94); orange and brown sugar for John DiRuocco (93); tart but juicy blood orange for Ken (93). All found notes that rounded and complicated the citrus: the brown sugar for John, caramel for Ken, Concord grape for Jen. Jen was most enthusiastic and explicit about what this coffee brought to three parts milk: “tasted like cherry pie.”


Produced by Jose Francisco Aguilar Sanchez from trees of the Red and Yellow Caturra varieties of Arabica. Processed by the black honey method. With all honey processing methods, some sweet pulp or fruit flesh (“honey”) is allowed to adhere to the beans during drying. In the case of red and black honey, all of the fruit flesh is allowed to dry on the beans, but in the black honey variation, the beans are subjected to a slower drying procedure than is the case with red. This coffee tied for the top rating in a tasting of single-origin espressos from the Americas for Coffee Review‘s November 2016 tasting report. Magnolia Coffee is a Charlotte, North Carolina-based specialty roaster whose motto is “Craft roasted. Truly delicious. Socially conscious.” Magnolia particularly emphasizes community engagement through its Local Beans for Local Good programs. Visit www.magnoliacoffeeco.com or call 704-651-7726 for more information.

The Bottom Line: A nicely balanced version of the new American style of espresso: bright but not too bright, naturally sweet, citrusy but roundly and ripely so.

This review originally appeared in the November, 2016 tasting report: New-World Espressos: Single-Origin Espressos from the Americas

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