Origin: Costa Rica
Region: Guadalupe, Tarrazu
Farm: Papa / Don Eli Mill
Altitude: 1600-1700 masl
Processing: Red Honey Process
Tasting Notes: Chocolate, Cherry, Brown Bakers Spice
Lot Name / Description: The Guadalupe or “Papa” lot is the plantation that Carlos holds most dear and has a beautiful history behind it. It was the very first farm that Carlos’ father and mother were able to collectively purchase and call their very own. Before that, his dad was a salaried farm manager and sold lottery tickets on the side for years in order to save up money to buy his own land. Carlos recalls when he was a small child and would go to pick coffee there with his dad. Back then, they would deliver their cherries to CoopeDota where Eli was one of the founding members. Later, the land would be handed down to his sisters Carmen, Floremilia, and Estrella. After working in restaurants and diners in the states for many years; Carlos was able to purchase the land from his sisters and use it for his own coffee production. Carlos had a humble home built in the entry of the property for his seasonal immigrant workers to stay in with their families while they are in Costa Rica; as this lot is located in the middle of the rest of Carlos’ plantations. In many ways, you can call the “Papa” lot the heart of Carlos’ coffee plantations.
Producer History: Carlos comes from a long line of farmers. His grandparents worked coffee plantations, his father managed a farm, and Carlos grew up in the fields. He saw the struggles that his father and many other families experienced doing what they did and so he set out to experience more of the world. Speaking with Carlos today, in a barrage of languages, it’s easy to see that he is well versed in many cultures. As a young man he went to high school for a year in San Diego and even played on their soccer team as a foreign exchange student. After his studies, he backpacked through Europe and spent time in various countries. He loves to tell all his stories from his travels and cherishes the time he spent in the U.S., Europe, and India. He always knew he wanted to come back home and continue his family's’ tradition of farming, but he wanted to do it on his own terms; so he worked in restaurants in the US for a few years in order to save up and buy a farm of his own. We are sure glad that he did that, because he returned to Costa Rica, bought his first farm, and settled down with his wife Lucia with whom he raised 3 children, Marianela, Jacob, and Maria Jose, that are also following in the the footsteps of the generations before them. Today Carlos is a visionary and leader in the specialty coffee movement in Tarrazu and has many other farmers looking to him for guidance on how to pursue better quality, relationships, and prices. It is also noteworthy that Carlos gives back to his community in many other ways. He constructed a gymnasium in his village where people of all ages can exercise, hold courses, and train for competitive events. He absolutely loves sports, the youth, and visitors from all walks of life. He heads the Costa Rican arm of the global “Children’s Games” and prepares kids from his area to compete in a different city every year.
Process: Carlos takes his trusty ol’ 70s white Chevy pick-up 15 minutes up the La Pastora mountain in order to measure his workers’ extremely ripe and well selected pickings in the traditional Costa Rica measuring tool called a “cajuela”. Once the coffee is accounted for, piled up, and secured in the bed of the truck--Carlos drives back down to the Don Eli wet mill in order to drop the cherries off to his son, Jacob. Typically, the coffee will be processed on the same day that it is delivered, but often times the cherries are allowed to rest in the tiled receiving tank in the cool of the night where a bit of a controlled fermentation takes place. When it’s time to process, Jacob turns on the equipment which uses a pump in order to recycle the water which is used to move the coffee through the depulping machine. Jacob watches with a careful eye as the cherries line up to be de-pulped and ran through the mechanical demucilager at the end of their Penagos Eco-Pulping machine. He chooses to leave about half of the mucilage remaining on the seeds as they will be drying. He believes that this adds a complex body and sweetness to this particular lot that they have.
Drying: Once the seeds have been processed with some of it’s mucilage still intact, the coffee is moved to raised beds which lay under a plastic canopy that protects them from any chance of rain and defuses direct sunlight from overhead. Carlos and Jacob’s right hand man at the wet mill, Evelio, makes certain to consistently turn the parchment with a rake-like tool about every hour during the day time. When the coffee has reached its optimal moisture content after approximately 2 weeks the parchment is a deep red color. Evelio packs up the parchment off the beds and puts it in the Don Eli warehouse immediately in order to rest for about a month or two. Finally, Carlos transports the parchment to the dry mill in order for it to be prepared for export.
Origin: Costa Rica