Origin: Costa Rica
Region: Santa Maria de Dota, Tarrazu
Altitude: 1900 masl
Processing: Anaerobic Natural
Tasting Notes: Strawberry, Apple, Rock Candy.
Farmer History: This beautiful prairie side farm is no stranger to hard work and good care. Although it had not become a proper coffee farm until recently the Solis family has been tending to the land for generations. Alfonso Solis, the patriarch of the family spends most of his time up the mountain from their home in the small town of Santa Maria. He grows various different fruits in their forest surrounded farm such as blackberrys, tomatoes, cas, higuerilla (very interesting plant - puts nitrogen back into the soil and produces a seed in which they use to make an oil that goes into all sorts of topical products), citrus, plantain, nispero, bijaro, and of course some coffee. The national institution of electricity, ICE, has various programs to help farmers and one of them offers farmers in Costa Rica free fruit trees. The Solis family has chosen to take advantage of that program and have made a tremendous habitat to grow coffee in at their farm while also create other streams of cash flow throughout the year.
As coffee came to be one of the better paying fruits to grow in the region their plantation grew and lead to the creation of Cedral. Currently, they are able to produce about 50 bags per year, but are planning to grow into producing about 130 bags per year. At first, Alfonso was only interested in producing his coffee in order to deliver it to the cooperative nearby, but his son, Javier, persuaded him to take the risk of processing all of their own coffee. Javier is extremely passionate about specialty coffee and loves being surrounded by nature. He went to university in the city as a young adult as many farmer’s children are doing these days. He studied technical engineering and works as an advisor for companies all around the country, but mainly near the larger cities, during the week. When he isn’t doing his consultant work, he is back at home in Santa Maria and on the farm helping his father produce specialty coffee off of their farm.
Lot Name/Description: Cedral means cedar tree in Spanish. This area was overrun by cedar trees in the past, but in the mid 1900s a large company from Spain came into the area and cut down the area where the farm resides today. Although that is quite sad, it is promising to see the Solis family re-planting and farming sustainably in the recuperating land. The micro climate coupled with the habitat that Alfonso has created by planting various other plants in order to produce excellent coffee is world class. High altitude, great cloud cover, strong sun rays, plenty of wind movement, and frequent rains lend well to the young catuai plants (only 7 years old!) growing in the fertile soil of the Dota Valley.
Aside from having a very biodiverse farm they do many things in the quest to manage the farm sustainably. They use the spent cascara from processing on their plants not only as fertilizer but also to maintain moisture in the soil. The elements in their soil are not quite balanced enough to produce the coffee that they are after and are high in potassium; so they put down boron and zinc in order to foster an ideal base for the farm. Alfonso fertilizes four times a year, which is exceptional yet requires a hefty investment, and they execute this practice after first analyzing the coffee leaves to understand what is needed for the trees. They use extremely few chemicals in the plantation and mostly keep any disease and weeds away by hand.
Processing: For this anaerobic process they collect the best cherries, they take it to the micromill and ferment it in small plastic tanks for approximately 144 hours, after this process, they dry the cherries in the sun until they have the perfect moisture. They first do a pre-drying on cement patio for 3 or 4 days where they only move the coffee a few times throughout the day to continue promoting some fermentation. Then they move the semi-dry cherries to raised beds within a green house where they turn the coffee more frequently - about every hour.
Origin: Costa Rica