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Costa Rica - El Mirador Natural

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Costa Rican Coffee - El Mirador

We were fortunate enough to have managed to fit in a visit to Costa Rica in February before the Covid-19 crisis. This meant that we were able to visit some of the producers we'd already bought coffee from over the last few years including El Mirador.

Varietal –  Villa Sarchi, some Catuai
Preparation – Natural
Location – West Valley, Costa Rica
Altitude – 1500 masl
Importer - Horsham Coffee Roaster

Farm Overview

El Mirador is located in the West Valley to the north-west of the capital, San Jose. The farm altitude is around 1500 masl and is located on the southern slopes of two volcanoes. El Mirador is owned by Olman Aguilera, a second-generation coffee producer. His family have been involved in coffee production for several decades. His wife and son are involved in the farm management and as a team, they manage their own farm as well those of several relatives. 

This image shows the El Mirador farm from above:

Costa Rican coffee farmed at El Mirador

The farm covers 15 hectares and includes a mix of coffee trees surrounded by indigenous protected forest. 

Harvesting and Processing:

During the harvest Olman employes a team of pickers who are well trained and responsible for very selective harvesting and varietal separation on the farm. Costa Rica has strict labour laws and coffee pickers on speciality focused farms are always paid at least the legal minimum, often more. For this reason farms like El Mirador attract works from several neighbouring countries as they will be much better paid by travelling to pick coffee on farms in Costa Rica. 

This image shows freshly harvested cherry at El Mirador. The yellow cherry comes from a small number of Yellow Catuai trees

Fresh coffee cherry

After harvesting the coffee is taken to a local mill called La Eva. They are a specialist mill that processes coffee cherry on behalf of a wide range of local producers. Olman has chosen La Eva due to their dedication and focus on the production of high quality processed micro-lots. They keep all his coffee separate and drying is initially done in a thin layer on large plastic sheets. After the initial drying, the coffee is piled to slow down the drying and to help to create more intense fruit notes. 

Piling the coffee helps to slow down the drying to create more intense fruit flavours through fermentation

Costa Rica El Mirador natural coffee drying

 

Natural process costa rican coffee

After drying the coffee is cupped at the lab at La Eva and samples are prepared by our friends at Selva Coffee. Once we've confirmed our order the coffee is milled to removed the exterior fruit and sorted for density and size to ensure only the best quality gets through to the export stage.

Tasting Notes:

Juicy fruit flavours that include cherry, blueberry and red apple. This is a fantastic natural from Costa Rica and is packed with fruit flavours but still retains a really lovely acidity.

Olman Aguilera and Bradley Steenkamp

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