I first met Alejandro, Horacio and Don Oscar in December of 2014, just as they had finished setting up their mill for the coming harvest. I spent most of my time with Alejandro and was instantly impressed by his humility and realistic approach towards running his mill. As he walked me through the various parts of the mill, Alejandro kept apologizing that it was not up to his standard, that he knew it had to improve, but since it was their first year, they couldn’t do it all at once. Contrary to how Alejandro was feeling, my first impression of the mill was very positive. There were of course things that could be improved, but for a first year operation it was remarkably well set up. It was Alejandro’s desire to improve, to be the best, to recognize his shortcomings that left me with such a good impression after that first meeting. During that same visit, I explained our emphasis on proper drying, and Alejandro agreed to build a set of shaded, raised drying beds specifically to dry our coffee.
I visited Alejandro, Horacio and Don Oscar for a third time in February of 2016 and noticed several improvements at the mill. They upgraded their demucilager to a higher capacity unit with better cherry sorting. They increased their raised bed drying capacity by three times and they improved the storage conditions in their warehouse. I also had an opportunity to visit one of the farms we buy from called “La Vuelta”, which incidentally placed 11th in the 2014 Costa Rica Cup of Excellence.
Sadly, this past year Don Oscar became ill and passed away. Losing the patriarch of the family was not easy on the sons, but they have a new found resolve to ensure that the Don Oscar mill is true to the name. This past harvest, the coffees from Don Oscar were remarkable.
I had a chance to cup many day lots in Costa Rica and selected a very round and ultra sweet day lot from one of their farms called “Los Arracaches”. Needless to say, we’re very happy with our evolving relationship with this great family and are proud to be working with them. This green coffee was frozen immediately on arrival in Calgary, to preserve freshness.