This Villalobos variety is a natural mutation of the Typica heirloom variety. Although it can be found in other parts of Costa Rica, it seems that it’s only in this particular region that it really thrives. The Torres family grows 90% Villalobos, with a small percentage of Caturra scattered throughout their farm. The Villalobos is not necessarily superior to others, but it is unique and makes the coffee distinctive, particularly due to its round, balanced, and juicy acidity.
The Torres brothers strongly believe in “raspa” (a way to manually cut down weeds, using a machete), re-planting, and sometimes, even picking. When Sebastian first visited the Torres farm in 2012, he was impressed to see five of the brothers pruning and working hard. The farm was so well tended and loved. He and Alvaro Torres started discussing how they could work together for the upcoming harvest (2013/14) and help produce an incredible version of the Torres coffee.
In 2014, we launched a project with the Torres family to pay them a premium for improved cherry selection and it worked extremely well, so Sebastian met with them prior to the 2015 harvest and all decided to repeat the successful pilot project.
Of course, the coffee will only show its true potential if the processing at Helsar was done well, so this has been our priority this year, as it was in the last few years. Helsar is arguably the best coffee mill in Costa Rica and is owned and operated by one of the nicest and most genuine people we have ever met: Ricardo Perez. We have been working with Ricardo since 2010 and every year our friendship has grown. In 2013 and 2014, we worked with Ricardo to develop new drying protocols at Helsar aimed at improving quality and shelf life. These experiments proved very successful, so in 2015 we worked with Ricardo to improve the drying even more and extended it another 30%. The coffee did not disappoint. It continues to cup extremely well every stage of the way — starting in Costa Rica, when it arrived in Calgary, and now. This green coffee was immediately frozen on arrival in Calgary, to preserve freshness.