Wild animal coffees like Kopi Luwak are some of the rarest and highly-prized coffees in the entire world, but our new Wild Toucan coffee from Costa Rica might be the most exclusive yet. Offered exclusively to Sea Island Coffee by the magnificent Coffea Diversa estate, these beans are the first in the world of their kind, ethically foraged from native Aracari toucan birds living freely around the Coffea Diversa farm.
WHAT IS WILD TOUCAN COFFEE?
The fiery-billed Aracari Toucan (known locally as 'Cusingo') is the newest animal involved in the creation of exceptionally rare wild animal coffee. Native to Costa Rica, these toucans are true coffee connoisseurs, feasting on only the ripest of coffee cherries, which they consume as part of their natural mixed diet. Interestingly, of the hundreds of rare varietals grown on Coffea Diversa's farm, the toucan's are especially fond of two varietals: the Bourbon Pointu and the Geisha.
Similarly to other animal coffees, like Kopi Luwak and Jacu Bird, the consumed coffee cherries are processed by the toucan's digestive system. This naturally occurring gastronomic phenomenon elevates what are already great coffee beans into something exceptional, transforming the beans protein structure, leaving them sweeter and brighter.
SOURCING WILD TOUCAN COFFEE
Based in Southern Costa Rica, Coffea Diversa estate is home to the largest private coffee varietal collection in the world, with about 800 botanical coffee varieties & cultivars. Coffea Diversa's coffee beans grow in the confluence of both the Atlantic and Pacific Ocean climates, a rare phenomenon that has a superb effect on the taste of its coffees.
We previously sourced our Wild Bat coffee from Coffea Diversa, which is unfortunately no longer available due to climate change forcing the bats from their habitat. These new Wild Toucan coffees are, in our opinion, a superior alternative to the bat coffee, and a testament to our continuing dedication to sourcing new and unusual coffees.
HOW IT'S MADE
During harvesting season the toucans feed on only the ripest coffee cherries, skilfully removing the cherry skin and pulp with their bills, then swallowing the coffee bean whole, covered with a sweet, sticky mucilage. The coffee beans travel through the toucan's digestive system, where it's thought that the enzymes in the toucan's stomach, much like the Kopi Luwak, change the structure of the beans, naturally processing it to create a sweeter, richer coffee that is virtually devoid of all bitterness.
These transformed beans are then deposited by the toucans in neat silver piles around the estate, after which they are collected by keen-eyed farmers who clean, dry, and process the beans by hand, then finally leaving them to rest in the sun for several weeks.
You can see a video of the toucans eating coffee cherries below:
WHAT DOES WILD TOUCAN COFFEE TASTE LIKE?
Two coffees have been produced by Coffea Diversa estate using the toucans' favourite varietals: Geisha and Bourbon Pointu. Both of these coffee varieties maintain their natural cupping attributes, but in both cases the body of the 'Toucan Processed' coffee is heavier than in the conventional Washed Processed form of these varieties.
The tasting notes for these coffees are similar but more intense - the floral of the Geisha is more pronounced and so is the caramelly taste in the Bourbon Pointu, resulting in a sweet and uniquely rich taste profile that makes wild animal coffees so sought-after.
WILD TOUCAN GEISHA - Tasting Notes:
Full-bodied and exceptionally smooth, with fruity tropical overtones and layers of florals and tangerine.
WILD TOUCAN BOURBON POINTU - Tasting Notes:
Rich and very smooth, with overtones of caramel, dark baker's chocolate, molasses, and hints of grapefruit.
If you're looking for a new and exciting coffee, we highly recommend these fantastic new Wild Toucan coffees! You can also read more the creation of these coffees in this Guardian article, interviewing Gonzalo Hernandez from Coffea Diversa estate.