Journey to the Source 2020: La Lía in Costa Rica

Voyage à la source 2020: La Lía au Costa Rica

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ur journey to the source continues with a visit to our producing partner, the La Lía micro-mill, operated by Oscar and Luis Monge Ureña. We have been purchasing our micro-lots from La Lía since the beginning of our sourcing efforts in Costa Rica. This year will be the third.

La Lía is made up of several plots of land which each have their own terroir and name: Santa Rosa 1900, Pie San, El Dragon, San Marcos and San Lorenzo. This year, we went to visit two plots: on the Pie San plot, we went to see the Typica Mejojado variety coffee trees which produced the coffee that we had purchased for the regional barista competition, which our barista Gabrielle Côté had won. Then we went to visit a new plot recently acquired, “Los Gavilanes”. This new coffee land, more than 40% of which will remain in the wild, is just starting to produce its first batches. The coffee trees were planted there 2 years ago, but the very high altitude (over 2100 meters!) means that growth and maturation are very slow, which bodes well for an exceptional cup. Also, if other surrounding mountains at the same altitude are not usually conducive to growing coffee because of the cold and excessive humidity, the Los Gavilanes plot benefits from a much drier microclimate, which allows the cultivation of coffee at this altitude in this precise location.

While the last two years of sourcing in Costa Rica were more about exploration, this year we took more time... to spend time with the Monge Ureña family. Taking the time to talk, to exchange, to eat with the family and Dona Lía and her sons, all around an excellent coffee of course. At the beginning of the week, we tasted several batches of La Lía which are very promising, and we look forward to receiving other samples before making our choice on the batches that we will serve in the coming months.

Visit the Lia - with our team

One of the things that secures us in the partnership that we have developed with La Lía is the complete and deep involvement that the Monge Ureña brothers have towards their production. Every two weeks, Luis travels to Exclusive Coffees' central laboratory in San Jose (2.5 hours drive) to taste all the batches he produces. Also, before one of his batches is exported/sold to one of his commercial partners (like Saint-Henri), he carries out a quality check. Once the coffee has been processed, very few producers are as concerned and involved in quality control. So we will continue to buy specialty coffees from La Lía this year with complete peace of mind!

Oscar and Luis Monge Urena