Farm: Aquiares Estate
Varietal: 100% Esperanza
Processing: Fully washed
Flavours: Citric acidity, greengage, cashew
Altitude: 800 to 1,400 metres above sea level
Aquiares, one of Costa Rica’s largest and most historic coffee farms, sits high on the fertile slopes of Turrialba Volcano. Producing coffee continuously for over a century, the farm has developed an enduring model for growing high-quality Arabica coffee, protecting a stunning natural setting, and supporting a thriving local community of 1,800 people.
Established by British farmers in 1890, Aquiares was one of the first estates to produce and export Costa Rican coffee. In 1971, the farm was purchased by its current owners – three families who have worked together with the farm´s staff and community to implement a modern model of sustainable agriculture. Today, the Estate is the largest continuous coffee farm in Costa Rica, covering 924 hcetares, 80% of which is planted under shade-grown Arabica.
This lot is 100% ‘Esperanza’ variety – a hybrid of Caturra and the Ethiopia 531 variety, developed by various Central American coffee research institutes. Esperanza marries high cup quality with high resistance to disease – particularly the ojo de gallo fungus. Aquiares has found the variety very well-suited to the farm’s high elevation (grown above 1,200 meters in most cases) and as consistently yielding a quality cup.
All Aquiares coffee is picked by hand to ensure consistent high quality. Microlots, such as this one, are picked by a special team of skilled harvesters who are paid well above the daily rate for their exceptional skill in picking the ripest cherries at each pass. Each tree is visited up to seven times during the harvest to ensure that only fully red ripe cherries are picked. The skilled hands of the pickers represent the farm’s most valuable asset. Pickers hail from the community of Aquiares, nearby towns, and even from the neighbouring country of Nicaragua. The farm ensures that all workers have a safe work environment and a comfortable place to live.
As coffee cherries come from the field the same day that they are picked, they move into Aquiares’ own wet mill. The farm produces fully washed coffees, honey processed coffees and naturals. This natural lot has been floated for density (with all floaters being removed) and then immediately moved to the farms greenhouse patios for pre-drying. After 2-3 days of pre-drying on the concrete, they are moved to the farm’s African beds, also in the covered greenhouse, where they slowly dry for between 20 and 25 days.