Costa Rica - Johel Alvarado (Black Honey Geisha) *SPECIAL EDITION* SCA: 87+

Costa Rica - Johel Alvarado (Black Honey Geisha) *SPECIAL EDITION* SCA: 87+

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Origin: Costa Rica

Farm: Johel Alvarado 

Varietal: Geisha 

Altitude: 1600 MASL 

Certification: Micro-Lot 

Process: Black Honey (Extended Fermentation) 

Cup Score: 87+ 

Creamy Mango, Raspberry, Strawberry and Boozy Dark Chocolate

The most exclusive, highly gratified and rare processed coffee we’ve ever had.

We’re incredibly lucky to have secured a small amount of Johel Alvarado’s top lot, this Black Honey processed, Geisha.

This incredible coffee is particularly special for 2 reasons, it’s currently the most prized varietal in the world, Geisha.


Geisha is the most consistent high quality coffee varietal produced over the last 2 decades. Originally an ancient wild coffee of Ethiopia first identified in the 1930’s before being brought over to Costa Rica where the environment was identified to be ideal.

In 2019 a Geisha lot sold for £742 per pound (around 450g)! A new world record.

This gratified Geshia as the ‘Champagne of Coffee’.

The Geisha varietal is very difficult to produce as it’s susceptible to many diseases, has an incredibly low yield and grows long and slender which means it’s easily harboured by harsh weather.

The characteristics of each Geisha are unique to the terroir and growing conditions, as the most ‘hyped’ varietal the scope of Geisha is huge, though mostly produced in Ethiopia, Costa Rica and Panama, farmers in Tanzania, Peru and even India are experimenting with Geisha production, of varying levels of quality however.

The highest quality lots of the past few years have come from South America.

In the latest Cup Of Excellence competition in Honduras the 1st, 2nd & 3rd places all went to Geisha lots!

Black Honey

This lot is also particularly special as it’s processed as a rare and labour intensive method known as Black Honey.

The process gets it’s name from the honey like stickiness of the coffee whilst drying.

The uniqueness of the honey process comes from the manipulation of light during drying. The coffee is sheltered from sun light which extends the drying time, this extended fermentation produces a less acidic, sweet profile with more body and heavy mouthfeel.

There are 3 main stages of honey processing;

  • Yellow Honey 60%
  • Red Honey 80%
  • Black Honey 100%

The percentage refers to the amount of mucilage left on the harvested fruit, this is controlled by the velocity of the pulping. (Think of a peeled seeded grape, the amount of mucilage corresponds to the amount of grape flesh left around the seed.)

Yellow Honey

  • Up to 1 Week Drying
  • Dried completely uncovered / similar to a pulped natural
  • This produces a floral, light bodied fruity profile.

Red Honey

  • 2 Weeks Drying
  • Dried uncovered on overcast days but covered from sunlight if conditions become too bright.
  • This is the most common stage which produces a sweet syrupy profile.

Black Honey

  • 2-3+ Weeks Drying
  • Completely covered and sheltered from sunlight.
  • This is the most labour intensive process as the cherries need constant attention to prevent over fermentation by turning every few hours, day and night.
  • This is a rare and expensive process due to the numerous variables that can effect the overall quality and the extended time to develop.
  • Black Honey’s have the sweetest, most full bodied profile with emphasis on the development of the fruit in low humidity environments.

Johel Alvarado 

Johel Alvarado’s conscious and progressive farm is located in Central Costa Rica an hours drive from the capital, San José.

Johel’s farm is unique in the respect they produce a wide range of coffee varietals, all separated into micro-lots to be monitored and cared for individually.

Johel is also a member of the Coopé Victoria, a co-operative group of like-minded sugar cane and coffee producers. They’re both environmentally conscious and supportive of their community by providing their members with medical assistance, education and financial services alongside projects to support women and youth empowerment.

These producers have a strong sense of community and preservation of the environment whilst producing the highest quality coffee.

This Black Honey lot is sticky sweet, rich, boozy and chocolatey all highlighted by soft ripe fruits.

A rare opportunity.

SCA: 87.65