Los Crestones (Costa Rica) Coffee 250g
Because our roasting days are Monday-Wednesday, all of our orders are shipped on Thursday & Friday only. Orders placed after Wednesday evening will be shipped the following week. For shipping rates please see our Shipping Info page.
Tasting notes: Cherry, Raspberry, Dark Chocolate and Almonds
Altitude: 1900 masl
Varietal: Caturra, Catuai
Process: Fully Washed
La Cruz micro-mill is a family owned project located in Alto Canet in Tarrazu. Esteban Zamora with his brothers Jacob and Felipe now run the coffee business started by their parents Don Egidio Zamora and Dona Ligia Picado in 1970. They have started a micro-mill project to process their own coffee where they experiment with different types of processing.
We have selected a fully washed lot to roast for you (find out more about this process in greater detail below). First local pickers and family members select the ripest cherries which are then mechanically demucilaged before sun dried on raised beds. With the Eco pulper they use, they are able to adjust the amount of mucilage they want to remove before soaking/fermenting or drying. In this case it is what they refer to as “double washed” meaning they mechanically remove around 70% mucilage and then soak the coffee underwater to remove the rest of the mucilage. They dry the coffee first outside in African beds in direct sunlight for 2-3 days. After the second day they move the coffee to the green house where it is protected from direct sun with shade nets. They move the coffee around 4-5 times a day and it takes approximately from 8 till 10 days to get the right moisture content.
Esteban Zamora knows their soils and plantations well and works the farms according with his experience and knowledge he has learned for many years. For them it is crucial to apply sustainable practices in their farms and they are working in two different programs: Bandera Azul Ecologica and NAMA-Cafe. Bandera Azul Ecologica is an award that rewards efforts towards the protection of natural resources, and the implementation of actions to address climate change. NAMA-Cafe (Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Actions) is an initiative aimed at mitigation and adaptation to climate change in the coffee sector, promotes low emissions of greenhouse gases, aims to reduce environmental damage caused in coffee production by encouraging the adoption of new technologies, and improved production practices, aims to increase the efficiency of small farmers in Costa Rica. It contributes to improving the quality of life of producers and their families across the competitiveness of the coffee sector.
Nordic Approach in Costa Rica
The most fascinating thing with Costa Rica is the awareness of lot separation and different processing and preparation methods. Even if the coffees can be expensive due to cost of production we totally find it worth it. Nordic Approach (through who we have sourced this coffee) started a very interesting project in Costa Rica this year (harvest 2015/2016) along with Marianela Montero, a coffee producer and now their green coffee buyer/sourcer for Costa Rica. Marianela is 22 years old, born and raised at her family’s farm, Don Eli, and has decided to stay in coffee and try to make a difference through improving this vital industry.
Most of the producers Nordic Approach are working with are small farmers (average 5 hectares per producer) all of them have been working in coffee farming for almost all of their life. These producers own their own farms and most of them have their own washing station (micro mill). The micro-mills in Costa Rica have become family businesses and are based on family work. Nordic Approach would like to work together for many years with these producers if/when they have the mindset and ability to be consistent and hopefully improve year by year. They aim to get the growers to increase the quality and to think of this partnership as a mid-long term project. They want producers to maximize the potential of their coffees and get better premiums through cup quality and consistency.
One of the keys to make this project successful is to work as transparently as they can. They want their customers and everyone to know how much it actually takes to produce a great cup of coffee and how much every part of the supply chain is earning. Costa Rica is a high cost country these days, and to make it sustainable Nordic Approach believe it’s important to pay fair and good prices to the producers as they have to make a living. They need to be motivated to keep up the good work - the coffees can be amazing when grown and prepared well.
The fully washed process at La Cruz:
For specialty coffee they’ve been processing 200 quintales (Costa Rican unit of coffee measurement) each quintal equals 46 kg of greens. Esteban takes the coffee cherries from the farms to the mill in a truck and measures the coffee cherries by cajuela (Costa Rican unit of coffee measurement). While he measures he makes sure the pickers have picked the ripest cherries and have sorted and separated the unripe cherries. At the mill he keeps a track of every stage the coffee goes through.
Separation & Sorting:
At “La Cruz” mill there are different separation stages: the first one is when the dirt, stones and different materials heavier than the coffee are separated from the rest of the coffee by two peaks. The second one is the floating system. In this phase they cover the cherries with clean water. The floating system allows that the poor, dried and light cherries float and the dense, ripe and good cherries sink, during this separation phase they lose in between 10%-20% of their initial coffee volume. The third one happens when the depulping machine separates the skin and pulp from the beans, after this step the cherries pass through a type of screen called “Criba”, this machine classifies the bigger cherries that couldn’t be depulped before and depulps these bigger cherries, all the first and good cherries get out through the “Criba”. The rejections or bad beans get out throughout a tube.
Then the coffee comes to the machine that washes the beans called “ Washing-machine”. Here is where they can control how much mucilage they want to leave in the beans. They try to clean and wash the coffee as much as they can. After the coffee is washed in the machine, they take the coffee to a steel tank with a plastic cover and leave the coffee there for approximately 12 hours covered with water. The next morning, they change the water, wash the beans well, and leave the coffee resting again with clean water for another 12 hours, till they feel the beans don’t have any mucilage. They wash the coffee again before they pour it to dry.
They dry the coffee first outside in African beds in direct exposition to the sunlight for 2-3 days. This way the moisture content goes down faster. After the second day, when the coffee isn’t too wet, they move the it to the green house, this house has a special material that covers the ceiling so the temperature can’t get too high inside it. They move the coffee around 4-5 times a day and it takes approximately from 8 till 10 days to get the right moisture content= 10%-10,5%