After a two-day stop back in Sacto to touch base and wash clothes, we loaded up the backpack again and headed out for an 8-day trip to Costa and Panama.
Like in Mexico, this was our second year Direct Sourcing in Costa Rica. We flew into San Jose, the Capitol of Costa Rica, and spent the first two days around the cupping lab of our exporter/farmer rep, Nature's Best Coffee.
After cuppng through 30 samples and working on our "Spanglish" with the lab workers, we packed up the pickup truck and headed out to meet farmers in the Central and West Valleys on our way to the famed Tarrazu region where we were hosted for two days by farmer Carlos Montero and family. Carlos is the owner of Finca La Pastora and an all-around amazing dude. This is someone we will be growing with and buying coffee from for many years. Carlos and his family own three small farms in the Tarrazu region at different elevations along with a two-year-old wet mill and community space across the creek from his casa. We spent most of the first day touring Carlos's highest elevation farm, named Don Eli after his grandfather. After a few hours visiting various parts of the farm and his nursery, we ended up picking cherries for some experimental processing of his newly-planted Geisha varietal coffee trees. Our takeaway from harvesting: us Gringos are not very good at it...
That evening after dinner, we set up a cupping and tasted through samples from different parts of his farm. More to come on the outcome in a bit. On day two, Carlos played "Mayor" of the community and shuttled us around in his truck to meet various other farmers including giving us an intro to two particular farmers we are excited about...the Cup of Excellence winning farm from 2014, and their next door neighbor (higher elevation...never entered the COE yet), Finca La Bandera...can you say "crazy potential"?!!
The next day, and our last one in Costa, was a Sunday. Sundays in Latin America are typically spent going to church, spending time with family, and relaxing. That means no farm visits. Carlos ended up throwing a party for us as a thank you to partnering with him and inviting the whole town over to his mill/community center where we got to make a sugar-cane based candy from scratch. Of course, it was delicious and amazing to be a part of this ritual that the community has been doing for over a hundred years.
Coffee that we will be receiving from Costa Rica, much like in Mexico, is currently resting in parchment form. We are still negotiating milling fees but expect it to get milled and shipped out to us in late April/early May.
Finca La Pastora...Don Eli "White Honey" Microlot...10-20 bags out of 70 that were produced for the year...Grown at 1750 meters, this one is a killer! Of all the samples that we cupped in Costa this year, it was our 2nd favorite...The unbelievable news is that we think that Carlos has the potential to be even better in years to come as he has access to a steady relationship with us and gains even more knowledge in Agronomy and organization of his farm's varietal placements.
Finca La Bandera...3-5 bags..."Ranger Lot"...Diego, the son of the original owners of the farm, recently took over operations...Diego has a vision of forming a solid core of relationships with select high-end roasters in America, Europe, and Australia. We're pretty honored to be a part of this...and crazy excited about this farm's potential to win the COE in Costa soon! The "Ranger Lot" is so named because it was the part of the original farm that the family gained title to after they successfully won a dispute with the regional government decades ago over private property rights in Costa Rica.
#great farmers make great coffee