Last year, 5 Rabbit Cerveceria produced one of the best coffee beers we've ever had. Yodo con Leche was a bit of a secret in Chicago amongst coffee beer nerds who sought it out for its rich caramel, chocolate, and milky flavors backed with a strong Costa Rican coffee aroma, roasty bitterness, and subtle dark fruit character. But this year's Yodo changes everything. Because this year, we all went to origin.
In collaboration with Tristan Coulter of Gaslight Coffee Roasters, and Michael Kiser of Good Beer Hunting, 5 Rabbit Cerveceria founder, Andres Araya, lead the team into the Costa Rican mountains to seek out, first-hand, the coffee beans for the next Yodo con Leche. The plan, the hope, was to find a coffee rich enough to stand on it's own in the imperial-level porter, but also express a complexity and flavor that would earn a place in the Gaslight Coffee cafe, known for it's stellar coffee and dedication to sourcing amazing coffees from all over the world.
The team explored high into the mountains on both sides of the valley around San Jose, visiting small experimental lots, co-op mills, high altitude coffee farms, natural and washed processing houses, all in the search of the right profile for Yodo. After securing about a dozen samples from a variety of producers, Tristan's team roasted the coffees and sought out the subtleties that would distinguish each bean. In the end, a bean from the Association of Organic Families of the Caraires Mountains (AFAORCA) co-op won out, and this year's Yodo will feature the chocolatey sweet, strawberry, and tropical fruit qualities of the Mil Maravillas bean (Spanish for "A Thousand Wonders") in the beer. Gaslight will also be featuring the coffee in its shop in Chicago's Logan Square neighborhood.
The journey is nearly complete, but the story has yet to be told. And this Sunday, July 19th starting at 11a we're going to be doing just that as 5 Rabbit releases the beer at their brewery taproom. Please join us.
In the coming weeks, we'll be sharing short stories from the mission in Costa Rica. But for now, here's a snapshot of what it was like on the journey to Yodo.