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Article: Journey to the Source 2020: Visiting Farms in Costa Rica

Voyage à la source 2020: Visite de fermes au Costa Rica

Journey to the Source 2020: Visiting Farms in Costa Rica

ur second day of the source-buying trip continues in Costa Rica and began with cupping at our exporting partner, Exclusive Coffees.

We tasted two tables: the first consisted solely of micro-lots from La Lía, our producing partner for the last 2 years. The second table was filled with samples from the Sumava micro-mill. Both tables satisfied us and we will have difficult choices to make for our 2020 commitments!

Then we went to visit the Helsar, Sumava and Sin Limites micro-mills. Although we have never purchased coffee from these farms before, this was the 2nd time in 3 years that we have visited them and a certain sense of familiarity is beginning to develop. Everyone received us very warmly. We took the time to have coffee with Mariana Perez (Helsar), then reconnected with Johnny, the agronomist from the Sumava farm and finally we stopped by to say hello to Jaime (Sin Limites), who offered us a nice amount of 'a micro-batch of Kenya variety Black Honey!

We also visited Alejo Castro, whom we first met at our headquarters in the fall of 2019, during a tasting session. So we took advantage of our 2020 source buying trip to Costa Rica to visit him.

His family farm is located on the side of the Poas volcano, located in the Central Valley. Coffee trees grow there at a height of 1500 meters above sea level up to 1700 meters. The farm is vast: more than 300 hectares. However, 200 hectares are preserved in their natural state, leaving room for lush nature. Alejo is convinced that the forest preserved in this way allows his coffee trees to benefit from a climate unique to the central valley: a light damp veil sweeps the farm every day, even during the dry season.

With more than 200 years of family coffee growing, Alejo copes perfectly with the more classic processes (washed) as well as the more adventurous processes developed in recent years: honey processes, of course, but also anaerobic fermentations. The farm meticulously divides micro-lots as well as nano-lots. We had the opportunity to do two rounds of cupping/tasting: a first table composed of washed, honeyed and natural process coffees as well as a second table composed of natural and anaerobic coffees. On the tasting tables, we had several favorites, which we voluntarily kept secret so as not to divulge what could be the birth of a new direct purchasing relationship at the source. We hope to be able to tell you more in the coming weeks/months!

Here is the day in a few photos:

The dust always present on the farms contributes to giving a slightly mystical air to the road.

In the morning, cupping session at Exclusive Coffees, our exporting partner. This morning, the laboratory is relatively quiet: it's rather unusual to have the whole lab to ourselves, at this time of year.

cupping at Exclusive Coffees

Mariana Perez, daughter of Ricardo Perez, owners of Finca Helsar. This is the 2nd time in 3 years that we have met Mariana. We had a great time together!

Mariana Perez, daughter of Ricardo Perez, owners of Finca Helsar

At the end of the day on the Sumava farm

With Johnny, on the Sumava farm in Lourdes. We are happy to find Johnny, agronomist for the farm, who showed us around the country two years ago during our first visit.

With Johnny, on the Sumava farm in Lourdes

Drying greenhouse on the Sin Limites farm. Drying of three batches with different honey processes: in the foreground, a washed coffee (white), followed by a Red Honey (dark yellow) and a natural coffee (purple/black), drying with its cherry.

Drying greenhouse on the Sin Limites farm

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