Next Roasting Date_18/10/2021 Weight / 200g
Producer / Aguilera Brothers
Region / West Valley
Altitude / 1400-1700m
Varieties / SL-28
Process / Anaerobic Washed
Harvest / Oct 2020 to Feb 2021
Note / Floral, Nectarine, White Wine
If you have ever begun to explore coffee production in Costa Rica, certainly the Aguilera name is one of the first to appear in the search. Not only were they part of the first group of micro-mill pioneers in the entire country, but their top quality lots have been praised by world-renowned roasters, traders, and baristas for years. There is really no secret sauce to their success except for family tradition, extremely hard work, and a steadfast passion for what they do and the quality that they are able to improve each harvest.
Similarly to so many Costa Rican families, especially in this area, their grandparents were involved in coffee production and had a small hand in the development of the country as a quality producer. Over time, the family was able to acquire some farm land at the base of the mountains that surround their village of Los Robles at about 1300-1500 masl. At that point in time, it was considered absurd to plant coffee in this area as the weather was too cold and extreme to make for a thriving coffee plantation. Yet, the son of the grandparents, Edgar the father, had the vision to grow coffee on the land with a newly found variety, dubbed Villa Sarchi, from the nearby town of Sarchi; which was beginning to be extremely popular to plant in the area as it grew quickly, produced high yields, and lended a good cup quality.
So, about 80 years ago Edgar planted the farm that is known today as the Aguilera’s Tono lot. It took at least 5 years for this coffee to struggle through the extreme weather in order to grow and produce fruit, but today as the climate has changed this farm has thrived and yielded some of the best micro-lots that Costa Rica has ever seen. Edgar started his own family of 12 children and they were all expected to lend a hand in the farm as was customary at this time and place. The brothers and sisters grew up in the farm, created a living from it together, and have managed it into what it is today.
As was typical of coffee production in Costa Rica up until the past 10-20 years, the family always delivered their fruit to larger wet mills in the area and were content with that model. Mills and cooperatives like CoopeNaranjo, La Eva, and La Meseta would purchase the coffee fruit from the Aguileras and mix it into regional blends for commercial exportation. Until Grace Mena, one of the catalysts for the micro-mill revolution in Costa Rica started her wet mill nearby, and began buying fruit from the Aguileras as well. At some point, Grace’s wet mill reached capacity and she noticed that her clients were asking more and more for micro-lots and so she began to encourage growers to build their own micro-mills so that she could purchase the processed coffee as micro-lots for her clients.
In 2006 the Aguilera family came together and began to process a small amount of their harvest. They started producing washed process first, 3 years later they were making honey processed coffee, and a couple of years after that they were drying natural process for their enthusiastic partners. As time went on the Villa Sarchi that their father had planted and admired began to grow old, the climate had evolved, and leaf rust had began to take hold of the trees. The brothers and sisters had the intuition and support to begin planting new varieties that could cup even better and withstand the environment for many more years to come. So, they began to plant San Roque that they could get from a neighboring farm, Hacienda La Luisa, Geisha-M2 that they received from Starbucks’ Hacienda Alsalcia, and F1 that was provided by Costa Rica’s iCafe.
Today, the 12 Aguilera brothers and sisters are all still involved in coffee production and have grown the farm considerably since their father, Edgar and his parents, started the family tradition. What was once barren land is now covered with thriving coffee plantations and the Aguileras have succeeded in planting numerous varieties that are quality and sustainably focused. Their wet mill sets a high standard and is an example of an organized, well-run operation that is capable of putting out expertly processed coffees. They continue to push for quality and harmony with the nature that surrounds them and regularly compete in competitions like Cup of Excellence in order to stay on active in the practice towards excellence.
After collecting only ripe coffee, they move the clean coffee fruit to the receiving tank and let it ferment there aerobically for some hours, then they put the cherries inside of plastic tanks and leave it there in a anaerobic environment for 48 hours in order to ferment in shade. After the 48 hours they depulp the fruit and remove all the mucilage, after the coffee is washed they let it ferment in open tanks. Afterwards they move the coffee to sun dry on patios for approximately 15 days.
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