The Torres family proudly grows 90% Villalobos, with a small percentage of Caturra, scattered in their farm. The variety is not necessarily superior to others, but it is unique and makes the coffee distinctive, particularly due to it’s round, balanced and juicy acidity.
The Torres brothers strongly believe “raspa” (a way to manually cut down weeds, using a machete), re-planting, and sometimes, even picking. When I first visited the Torres farm in 2012, I was impressed to see five of the brothers pruning and working hard. The farm looked so well cared for and loved. It was then that I and started discussing with Alvaro Torres how we 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. It worked extremely well, so I met with them prior to the 2015 harvest and the family agreed to repeat the successful pilot project.
Of course, the coffee will only show its true potential if the processing at Helsar is done well, so this is also a priority every year we buy the Torres’ coffee. 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. 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; the Helsar coffees performed very well and showed improved shelf life. In 2015, we worked with Ricardo to improve the drying even more and extended it another 30%! The coffee did not disappoint. It has cupped, and continues to cup extremely well at every stage of the way — starting in Costa Rica, when it arrives in Calgary, and now.