Pulped naturals are an intriguing halfway point between washed coffees and full naturals (or dried processed). I really like naturals. They give you interesting, murky, maybe even musty sweet fruit flavors with muted acidity. Washed coffees can give you a more complex, subtle cup and lots of acidity. A pulped natural is when the outer layer of the coffee cherry is stripped off, and the coffee bean, embodied in the fruity mucus, is left to dry in the sun.
When I went in to Ritual last weekend looking for something new to try, I originally grabbed a bag of the Fazenda Kaquend, the first place winner in the Brazilian Cup of Excellence contest. It's not often you get to try a CoE #1 coffee. However, I checked out the price and decided $30 was a little rich for me right now. Trying to cut back expenses, given the depression and all...and spending that much for coffee is a little hard to justify.
However, the Fazenda Esperança caught my eye. Also a pulped natural from Brazil, this coffee was a mere $15. Deal!
I had a hard time dialing this coffee in as an espresso. The few times I tried, I got very light colored crema, blonde/tan in color and lasting a medium time before fading. In the small cup, this coffee tasted like dark chocolate and cinnamon. Nice milky mouthfeel. Now that I'm reading Ritual's description, I also recall getting malt chocolate. Whoppers-candy like.
As a French press, this coffee is all hazelnut. Almost like a Dunkin' Donuts flavored coffee. But much better. There was some vanilla notes in there as well, but this was really dominated by the hazelnut taste.
From Ritual's website: "Produced by the Souza family—João and Tiago—in Campos Altos, Brasil, this coffee is a micro-lot from their farm, Fazenda Esperança, located in Brasil’s Cerrado eco-region. These Mundo Novo, Acaia, and Catuai trees were processed in the pulped-natural manner—pulping of the coffee fruit followed by drying with some mucilage, developing natural sweetness with clean, syrupy body. This coffee is clean and syrupy with flavors of malt chocolate, toasted aniseed, and sesame."