Costa Rica, Alajuela • Finca Calle San Juan - Natural
Whole bean coffee
Region: Alajuela Producers: Oscar and Francisca Chacón Farm: Finca Calle San Juan We taste: Blueberries, Orange, Maple Syrup Process: Black Honey Elevation: 1450–1600 masl
Oscar and Francisca Chacón are third-generation coffee producers, but the coffee is more than just in their family heritage: It's in their hearts and souls as well. The couple is committed to quality and innovation, and are among the very first farmers in Costa Rica to produce Honey and Natural process specialty coffee.
In 2005, after years of delivering their cherry to a cooperative for the going market price, they decided to join the brand-new "micromill revolution" and buy their own depulper to have more control over the quality and the price they received for their lots. "At first, we didn't know what we were doing," Oscar explains. "We were just experimenting." That experimentation led to some of the most exciting new flavor profiles we have ever tasted: Now, the Chacons produce a wide range of Honey process coffees, modulating the drying time in order to create different effects in the cup.
Necessity bred more innovation for the family when an earthquake in 2008 wiped out electricity and water to their area during the harvest. Unable to run the depulpers or to wash the mucilage off to produce Washed lots, Francisca took inspiration from her knowledge of African coffee production and quickly built raised beds on the property. Their Natural lots caught the attention of Cafe Imports' founder Andrew Miller, and the rest is both history and our-story.
The Black Honey process is a drying process where almost all of the cherry remains on the bean while drying. The drying period lasts around 15 days, being raked over once a day to distribute any moisture and give even access to the sun. Usually the beans are also covered with a tarp.