In our unrelenting desire to seek out the best coffees the world can offer, Costa Rica was a clear choice for us to source out unique extraordinarily high quality coffee beans. So off we went on January the 9th endeavoring to time our search with the peak of the harvesting season in Costa Rica.
Upon arrival, to the capital of Costa Rica, San Jose, it was clear this was a coffee country taking extraordinary efforts to cultivate, harvest and mill coffee with a passion to become known for having the best coffee in the world.
In a transformational way coffee farms over the past 2 decades in Costa Rica have evolved increasingly into boutique farms seeking to cultivate a variety of coffee varietals using state of the art growing as well as new innovative methods to prepare coffees with different flavor profiles Accordingly there are now coffee green bean processing methods that are literally changing what coffee tastes like.
Micro mills are flourishing in Costa Rica much like micro wineries and breweries have in North America and around the world.
Costa Rica is a clear leader in coffee producing countries toward micro farming and milling as well as coops that are separating coffee into different grades. Note the chart below depicting the coffee quality areas which have developed over the past decade.
Costa Rican Hospitality
One cannot say enough about the hospitality of Costa Ricans! Starting with Francsiso Mena from Exclusive Coffees, we were greeted as extra special guests which far exceeded our expectations. Clearly the way of doing business in Costa Rica places relationships above all else.
The Micro Mil Journey
Travelling the back roads and hillsides of Costa Rica was daunting to say the least. Potholes that pop out of nowhere and punish anything that dares to challenge them even 4 wheel drive SUVs are prone to getting buried in holes that require extra manpower. Without a guide (Johnny) supplied by Exclusive Coffees it would have been next to impossible for us to navigate the terrain much less find the farms.
Despite language challenges given our Spanish speaking skills were sadly lacking the respectful attitude towards us was heartwarming. This engaging way permeated our entire visit to all the farms and micro mills.
The farmers and their families took great pride in their mission to show that they not only deeply cared about improving the quality of their coffee they were absolutely committed to engaging their potential customers almost as if they were extended family.
Quite amazing reception that we felt privileged and honored to be a part of.
The New Crop Availability
Our timing was right on for seeing all aspects of the harvesting and milling at the numerous micro mills we visited. We definitely had a challenging time narrowing down our preferred coffee farms. We finally decided on 3 farms; two from the West Valley and one from the famous Dota Tarrazu region.
We were particularly impressed with the honey processing of their high quality coffee beans and with their significant development of the geisha coffee varietal as well as a new Kenyan strain.
If all goes well, we will be receiving our green coffee shipment from the 3 farms we selected sometime in May. It is without question developing relationships with farmers directly and purchasing from them through their co-ops adds value to every one.
We could not be more privileged to do so.