In 2014, the Umaña brothers mounted their own micro mill, and named it “La Roca”. Every year since then, they have been working on learning more about processing and improving their practices, from cherry selection to de-pulping to drying.
The Tarrazú region of Costa Rica is literally bursting at the seams with coffee and producers. After two near-record harvests in the past five years, it now represents over 35% of the exportable coffee from Costa Rica. Tarrazú has the soil, elevation and climate to produce good quantities of great quality coffee. Over the past decade, the surge in new farms and micro-mills is staggering. Until recently, just like the Umaña brothers, most producers in the region sold coffee to the three major cooperatives. These co-ops then went on to blend the coffee of all qualities into a single regional blend.
Although the cooperatives still account for most of the volume from Tarrazú, the micro-mills are continuing to eat into their share. The quality improvement with the birth of micro-mills is palpable and has re-inserted Costa Rican coffee as a producing nation of top-notch quality. Still, there is plenty of room for improvement, especially when it comes to varietal diversity. Caturra and Catuaí account for over 96% of the coffee in Tarrazú, and while these varieties produce great results in some terroirs, others would benefit from a different variety. The area of Alto Canet is one micro-region where Catuaí thrives, both from a production and a quality perspective.
This lot is a Red Catuaí from their farm called El Alto. It’s located at 2000m and benefits from slow growing conditions. The coffee has always surprised me on the cupping table with its delicate acidity and complex and elegant fruit notes. This was definitely one of my favourite Costa Rican coffees this year.