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Costa Rica - San Juanillo Natural

Costa Rica - San Juanillo Natural

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Costa Rica - San Juanillo Natural

Varietal – Marsallesa
Preparation – Natural
Location – Naranjo, West Valley
Altitude – 1600 masl


Fresh crop 2023!

Costa Rica is one of our favourite coffee-producing countries, and we love being able to trade directly with producers via the help of Selva Coffee. Selva is a small export business based in Tarrazu with their own cupping lab and direct connections to some of the best coffee producers in the country. Costa Rica is a beautiful country know for its focus on the environment and sustainability, and this is very evident in the coffee industry. Coffee from Costa Rica can showcase many different processing styles and flavour profiles from wild, juicy natural process coffees to soft, delicate honey-processed coffees. Some small producers and co-operatives also produce washed coffees, and experimental processes like anaerobic fermentation have also become very popular. 

We first bought coffee from San Juanillo farm in 2019 and visited them in 2020 and during the 2022-2023 harvest.

Costa Rica San Juanillo coffee farm visit

Every year we buy their natural and honey process both produced from the Marsallesa varietal. This is a great way to experience the same coffee processed using two different methods.

Farm Overview:

Tomas Gutierrez and Allan Vargas bought the farm in 2007 intending to regenerate the landscape, soil and to plant new and exciting varietals. The farm was originally planted with Caturra and Catuai trees. Tomas and Allan were keen to try out new varietals that showed better resistance to disease and those that show interesting cup character. They now grow a range of varietals, including Marsellesa, H1 Centroamericano, Caturra, Catuaí and a small amount of Geisha. In 2018 they purchased their neighbours' farm, increasing their total farm size to 12 hectares, and they are Rainforest Alliance certified. In 2015 they placed 19th in the Cup of Excellence competition with a coffee from their H1 hybrid varietal.

The map below shows the farm with all the different colour-coded varietals:

Costa Rica San Juanillo coffee farms

Harvesting and Processing:

This Natural processed coffee was hand-harvested from the Marsallesa varietal trees on the farm. Tomas and Allan employ a team of highly skilled pickers who are paid a premium for selecting only the ripest cherry. Many of these pickers travel to work in Costa Rica from Panama and Nicaragua. They are highly valued for their hard work and dedication during the harvest. 

Coffee ready to be harvested:

Coffee trees ready for harvest at San Juanillo Costa Rica

After harvesting the coffee is transported to the Patalillo micro mill. The coffee cherry is floated in a fermentation tank to remove any defective cherry. The cherry is then fermented for 12-16 hours after flotation. This kickstarts the natural fermentation process, and tests indicate that this can contribute to better flavours in the cup. 

After resting the coffee is moved to parabolic drying areas and placed on raised tables. Using raised tables helps to increase airflow and the coffee will dry a bit faster than it would on concrete patios. After two weeks of drying the coffee is moved to low-temperature mechanical driers. These complete the drying process in a temperature-controlled environment. 

The faster drying of this natural has resulted in a coffee with lovely clean, juicy fruit flavours and less intense fermentation notes than some of our other natural processed coffees. 

Tasting Notes: 

This is an excellent example of a lovely clean and juicy natural processed coffee. Some naturals might be too fruity or intense for coffee drinkers who prefer clean-tasting washed coffees. If so then this is a great coffee to try out! There is a gentle underlying alcohol note with dried fruit sweetness that includes prune raisin and caramel. You can also expect other gentle berry notes and a lovely caramel-like sweetness. 


This coffee works well for all brew methods. 

Filter: Dose 15g, water 250g. 

Espresso: Dose 17 gram to 40 gram yield over about 30 seconds. 

This coffee is available as whole bean and pre-ground, but we recommend always grinding fresh before brewing. We sell a range of grinders if you would like to grind this coffee fresh at home. 


    Customer Reviews

    Based on 10 reviews
    Special treat

    So juicy,lovely coffee

    great tast

    very good coffee.

    Consistently Great

    Regular drinker of San Juanillo in its various slight different processes, it’s my perfect cup . Smooth but rich and layered . Use aeropress with steamed milk . Brilliant thankyou


    I subscribe to their coffee of the month and it never fails! Both the cafetière and whole bean are always delicious!

    Stunning Coffee

    Really enjoying this coffee. It has a very exotic flavour, exactly as described. Boozy, caramel and raisin flavours are abundant. Can get some really nice flavours playing with the ratios too.