Farm – Costa Rica Finca San Francisco
Altitude – 1800m above sea level.
Location – Tarrazu, near the city of Leon Cortes.
Preparation – PRed honey.
Varietal – Caturra and Red Catuai
Owners – Emilio Jimenez Castro
Costa Rica is a small country nestled in the heart of Central America. It’s probably most famous as a nature retreat for wealthy Americans, favoured for its stable government and relative safety compared to its Central American neighbours. The stability and forward thinking governance means Costa Rica has a much higher standard of living than its neighbours making it a much more expensive country to visit or do business in. The coffee industry is well regulated by the national body Icafe. Under Icafe’s eye, farm workers are monitored and protected with minimum living standards and widely enforced minimum wages for all employees. This regulation has had two distinct impacts on the quality and type of coffee being produced in Costa Rica:
1. Quality has improved as the cost of production is estimated to be close to $2/lb, almost 25% higher than their Latin American neighbours. No longer able to compete on price with the high cost of land, living and employee wages has forced them to improve quality.
2. Costa Rica has become a boutique origin producing value added coffees through experimental processing. No other origin we work in produces the diversity and quality of processing methods as Costa Rica. The quality of their naturals in particular is extraordinary, with a clarity and complexity that few of the world’s producers can match.
Costa Rica’s production volume is in decline as the volume growers struggle to compete with producers from neighbouring countries on price. The future of the country’s coffee production seems to be in micro lots and value-added lots through interesting processing.
Finca San Francisco is one of the largest suppliers of coffee to the Asoproaaa Cooperative. Our importer met Emilio Jimenez Castro early on a Tuesday morning in January as he was delivering his first pickings of the season to the Cooperative mill, nestled in a valley near the City of Leon Cortez. After speaking with him it became clear he is a thoughtful and professional producer with an eye for detail. Emilio was happy to provide coffee from his farm from the same section, to be processed in 3 separate methods by Asoproaaa.
Emilio inherited 6 Hectares from his father that is mainly used for cattle. He later bought a further 7 hectares at the higher altitude of 1800m where he produces coffee interspersed with citrus, avocado and other fruit.
The result is 3 separate lots of 15 bags each, all from the same section of his farm. The coffees were picked in the same week and delivered daily to make up the lot volumes.