This unique offering features three of our favourite producer partners in Costa Rica: Oscar and Luis Monge, Gillio Francesa, and Ricardo Perez. We have blended these three coffees together, as the lot size of each one is so small on their own that we would not be able to offer them solo. The Gillio coffee adds a softer chocolate and nougat base, while the Monge Orange Bourbon adds tropical fruits and a winey acidity. Finally, Ricardo’s Villalobos packs on more fruit and jammy sweetness. We are calling it “Pura Vida”. Below is some information about each producer.
Oscar and Luis Monge have been running their farms and micro-mill (called “La Lia”) since 2008. The farm has been in the family for almost 70 years but used to sell to the local co-op until they set up their own mill and named it after their mom: Lia. This coffee is an orange bourbon, and it’s grown on their infamous “Pie-San” farm.
Pie-San was planted in 2014 with SL-28, Geisha, Orange Bourbon, Sudan Rume and several other cool, exotic varieties. This coffee was processed as a black honey anaerobic. The coffee was pulped and put into anaerobic tanks, and after 48 hours, the coffee was dried on raised beds for 14 days.
I have always been impressed with Luis and Oscar’s forward-thinking mentality and their demeanour towards their staff and pickers.
Gillio Francesa was a coffee producer who grew coffee on his farm for most of his adult life. He lived in a humble house right next to the property where his coffee grew (hence the farm name “La Casa”). Sadly, Gillio passed away from old age in 2019. We worked with Gillio from 2010 until his death and, even as he aged, he was willing to evolve and adopt new techniques. As a result, his coffee always changed for the better. We will surely miss Gillio’s sense of humour and hunger for eclectic life experiences. His coffee now lives on, managed by his daughter Yanina.
Since 2016, Gillio worked with our mutual friend, Francisco Mena, to process his coffee at Francisco’s mill: Sumava. Francisco has a state-of-the-art mill and has implemented strong quality protocols for the processing and drying. This change has really benefited Gillio. Since Gillio’s passing, Francisco has also helped Yanina with the picking.
Sumava uses a red honey (nearly black honey) process with Gillio’s coffee and managed the drying in raised beds. The natural conditions for drying at Sumava are quite nice, with sunny mornings, overcast afternoons and a constant refreshing breeze.
I have known Ricardo Perez for over 14 years, and I have never seen him this excited. Ricardo is a specialty coffee legend in Costa Rica and a revered pioneer since starting his mill Helsar de Zarcero back in 2004. His house is next to the mill and his farm, “Santa Lucia,” lies just below his house. The mill processes his coffee, but also partners with nearly 40 nearby coffee producers who do not have the processing infrastructure. Ricardo is known for his fair prices, his sustainable practices, and his efforts to improve the socio-economic standing of the coffee producers who work with him.
In 2013, Ricardo decided to work in a new project focused on coffee variety diversification. He was able to obtain seeds of many varieties, including H1, SL-28, Pacamara, Ethiopia Heirloom, Geisha and Villalobos and he started a sizeable nursery. Since then, he has planted these varieties in a farm next to the original Santa Lucia and in 2021, it began to produce some of these great varieties. This lot is Villalobos.
The coffee is tropical, super sweet, but very delicate and balanced. It’s a full red honey process with anaerobic fermentation. It was picked super ripe, de-pulped with all its mucilage left on, fermented in sealed tanks for 50 hours and dried on raised African beds for 25 days. This slow drying process allows sugars to migrate and concentrate, resulting in a very rich and round cup.
As always, this green coffee was frozen immediately on arrival in Calgary, to preserve freshness.