Fieldtrip journal : Las Lajas
In February, we had the good fortune to return on a trip to Costa Rica, but not only for the Pura Vida… there is currently a growing specialty coffee scene in the country. Overall yields decrease with coffee diseases such as rust in addition to climate change, but the quality of coffee is constantly improving; investments in research and development in treatment processes certainly have something to do with it.
We can truly see the evolution of these innovations at each visit. Costa Rica's coffee producers are no doubt different from the rest of the world; the micro-mills or wet mill (and sometimes dry mill) process facilities that producers build to control the processing and the separation of their coffee batches is part of what increases its quality. By investing in equipment such as depulper machines, which removes the outer skin and some of the mucilage from the cherries, producers can harvest and process their coffees in various ways without resorting to third-party mills. These initiatives can reduce operating costs and increase the asking price of coffees. Thus, a great advantage of our visits on site is to see concrete results directly from the farms.
With long-term relationships with these producers, we are able to access exceptional products. The demand for these coffees is very high and thanks to the relationship that we have built over the years, these farmers favor Faro when selling these coffees.
This trip to Costa Rica was also an opportunity to update ourselves with all the latest innovations. The micro-mills are part of it and have helped put Costa Rican coffees in the spotlight in recent years. The Honey process, a hybrid of a natural and washed process, is also becoming increasingly popular and prevalent among fine specialty coffees, although the different Honey processes still vary greatly from one mill to another. On some farms, the type of process (usually white, Red, black or Yellow) is achieved by removing a percentage of the mucilage before the coffee is dried; hence the importance of visiting and tasting the product.
Natural processing is gaining popularity with farmers too, partly because the unique profile of the cup may require higher prices and because water restrictions can make fully washed coffees more expensive and difficult to produce for a micromill.
WHAT ARE WE BRINGING BACK THIS YEAR?
Education is a continuous process and to realize all the efforts behind a cup is still very impressive to me today. This year, we purchased 65 bags of Black Honey that honor the variety’s deliciously unique flavor, as well as the dedicated craftsmanship of its producers. It should have arrived at the port a little earlier, so we might as well say that he was wanted this year! It's therefore my great pleasure to offer you the new 2020 harvest. It's incredible and will even reconcile me with this year. Thank you to my colleague Jean and my travel friends with whom I had an incredible experience.
- Maxime Fabi