COSTA RICA HAS BUILT AN INCREDIBLE REPUTATION FOR SPECIALTY COFFEE OVER THE LAST DECADE OR SO BECOMING INFAMOUS FOR ITS MICRO LOT PRODUCTION. IT IS ALSO QUICKLY BECOMING AN AMAZING LEADER ON ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUES TOO.
Traditionally, coffee from Costa Rica was bulked and sold – however, the higher production costs made it impossible for the country to compete with neighboring Nicaragua. Specialty coffee production has therefore become the focus. Finca San Francisco is a 12 hectare farm that has been owned by the Solis family since 1965 – Edgar, his wife Ligia, and son Willian are the second generations to take over production here. Edgar is very passionate about issues of environmental responsibility and he is working towards organic production, much of what he does right now is in line with biodynamic farming principles – he champions intercropping and agroforestry by planting coffee trees with avocado, banana, and citrus trees. Coffee grown in this manner tends to benefit from a slower maturation of cherries.
Edgar and his team of 15 pickers religiously take the Brix reading of the cherries throughout the season to understand when is best to harvest them based on the sugar content. This year’s harvest was made somewhat easier thanks to the consistent flowering across the farm last year which enabled picking to be completed within two weeks. However, unexpected rains when picking provided some challenges when getting the coffee to the ASOPROAAA processing center. An extra 50 raised beds had to be installed this year to assist with the influx of cherries from growers across the region. Upon delivery at the center, the Brix reading is taken again to ascertain how to process the cherries: washed, natural or honey. We managed to secure the honey processed lot this year – this coffee has had the skin of the cherry removed before drying.