This Honey processed Red Catuai lot has a complex, but interesting combination of flavours, including milk chocolate, a malic green apple note, and a slight underlying herbal flavour.
|Milk chocolate, herbal and green apple
This lot was cultivated at Finca Alto San Pedro farm by producer and farm owner, Gilberth Rojas Monge. Growing his Red Catuai trees at an an altitude of 1850 metres above sea level, Gilberth and his family selectively hand pick ripe, red cherries before delivering them to the Solis and Cordero Micromill.
Solis and Cordero Micromill was founded in 2018 by the Solís Cordero family to help support smallholders in the Santos region, including producers like Gilberth. The mill provides a variety of services including cherry processing, selling specialty coffee to international destinations, selling roasted coffee in Costa Rica, consulting on processing and quality control, and export services. For smallholders working with Solis and Cordero, the mill helps them differentiate their coffee by maintaining farm-level traceability and by using innovative, quality-focused processing methods to further improve coffee.
After Gilberth’s cherries arrive at the mill, they are first inspected, and then fermented in whole cherry for 30 hours. They are then washed in clean water before pulping, with the parchment and remaining mucilage transferred to raised drying beds. When the parchment is nearly dry, it is finished in Guardiolas (mechanical dryers) at 45 degrees Celsius for an extended period.
|Gilberth Rojas Monge
|Santa Maria de Dota
Santa Maria de Dota, Costa Rica
Over many years, Costa Rica has become a world leader in traceability and sustainability in coffee production, despite the high number of smallholder farmers. Across its eight coffee regions, more than ninety percent of the country’s 50,000 coffee farmers are smallholders. Today, many of them deliver their cherry to boutique micro-mills, that often process cherries according to producer’s specifications to retain single-lot or single-farm qualities.
The rise of micro-mill processing, in itself, is a relatively recent development. Prior to the early 2000s, it was common for smaller producers to simply deliver their cherry to cooperative-owned mills. As lucrative specialty markets developed, more and more farmers began establishing mills on their own farms, giving them increased control over processing and more assurance of the ‘traceability story’ so important to the growing market segment. Mills with excess capacity would then offer their services to neighbouring farmers, offering a range of processing methods for small lots along with full traceability for roasters and importers.
This system has enabled Costa Rica’s small to mid-sized coffee farmers to offer a wide range of differentiated products. Today, specialty lots from Costa Rica are almost as likely to bear the name of the micro-mill where they were processed as that of the producing farm.