We had the wonderful opportunity of returning to Costa Rica this year, a beautiful country and people. This time we had the pleasure of meeting and spending time with Francisco, who started an innovative business connecting micro roasters with quality-minded Costa Rican coffee farmers. We spent one day cupping in the lab with Wayner (Quality Grader) and cupped over fifty coffees to determine which farms and farmers are the right fit to cultivate relationships with. We visited two farms and mirco mills in the Tarrazu region (muy bonito!), which is about a three hour drive South of San Jose.
Our first stop was Finca Los Angeles, which is a meticulously run farm by the Calderon family. This family owns a few of their own farms and processes for some neighboring farms as well. They built their own wet mill to integrate the process and have better control and business efficiency. They are trying experimental methods of processing and are known for superior micro and nano lots of coffees. After our tour of the wet mill, they invited us in for the best Costa Rican meal we had all week!
Next up, we visited Don Mayo’s farm and wet mill. The Bonilla family owns and operates the Wet and dry mill at Don Mayo. Don and his sons run the show and have a somewhat sizable operation. They too are experimenting with many honey processes and varietals.
They have a fairly advanced dry mill with a machine that can density sort the coffee which reduces the chance of defects and under ripe coffee from entering the final product. The Don Mayo farm and mill is an industry leader in the micro mill revolution that is going on in Costa Rica. They have been milling since 1994.
Last, we visited Luis Alberto Monge’s farm called La Lia, which is named after his beautiful mother. We met Luis the first day in the cupping lab and cupped three of his coffees. All of which were beautiful coffees, but one of them stood out and we had to buy it! Luis and his brother, Oscar built their wet mill five years ago together. They are fourth generation farmers to work and live on this land. They have a range of experimental varietals in their coffee nursery with hopes of producing some great coffees in the future. Luis placed 2nd in the Cup of Excellence competition in 2012 with his coffee from Finca Dragon which scored a 90.67. Of course after the farm, his mother invited us in for pastries and incredible coffee from their own farm. We had a lovely conversation and met a few other family members while waiting for Luis to pick up some other coffee friends in town.
We are honored to have the chance to build relationships with these incredible farmers, trading directly and ethically for outstanding coffees …can it get better?! We’re planning to have one of these amazing Costa Rican coffees on our shelves sometime early summer!