Costa Rica –Don Alfonso Entre Rios

This lot is a mix of Marsellesa & Obatávarieties. Marellesa is a variety obtained from the hybridization of Sarchimorand Caturra. It is sought after for its superior cup quality and its resistance to leaf rust.Obatá is a Sarchimor: a cross between Timor Hybrid 832/2 and Villa Sarchi CIFC 971/10. Experiments made by Aquiares have shown the two varieties to have similar cup profiles, which is why they have been mixed in processing.


The varieties are versatile, lending themselves equally to washed processing as to honey and natural processing.Three lots this year have, thus, been developed using same varieties processed in three different ways: Washed, Natural & Red Honey.All Aquiares coffee is picked by hand to ensure consistent highquality. Microlots, such as this one, are picked by a special team of skilled harvesters who are paid well above the daily rate for their exceptional skill in picking the ripest cherries at each pass. Each tree is visited up to seven times during the harvestto ensurethat only fully red ripe cherries arepicked. The skilled hands of the pickers represent the farm’s mostvaluable asset. Pickershailfrom the community of Aquiares,nearby towns, and even from the neighbouringcountry of Nicaragua. The farmensures that all workers have a safe work environment and a comfortableplace to live. Workers coming from further away can live inon-site housing and use a children’s day-care. The farm sponsorsdoctors’ visits for pickers and their families twice a week where nutritionalhealth advice is also given. To take better care of itsfield workers, Aquiares has established first-of-its-kind physical therapysessions and also a daily warm-up routine of exercise before work.Many pickers return each year,confirming success in providing a secure home in Aquiares.


As coffee cherries come from the field the same day that they are picked, they move into Aquiares’ wet mill. The farm produces fully washed coffees, honey processed coffees and naturals. Washed lots are floated for density (with all floaters being removed) before being pulped using the mill’s Penagos DCV 306 pulper to remove the fruit. Next, the coffee is pulped again using a "Penagos Delva" to remove the mucilage, before being taken to tanks for partial (6 hours) fermentation. Before being sent to the Gaurdiolas to dry, Pre-drying is completed in a "Centriflux" machine to remove any excess water. The coffee is then dried for around 32 hours at a low, constant temperature of approximately 45 ̊C -55 ̊C in mechanical driers (Gaurdiolas). 2-hour breaks are given to the coffee to ensure consistent drying. Finally, the coffee is rested for a month in large silos to allow humidity and aromas to settle. Finally, the beans return to the dry mill where the parchment is removed and the beans are sorted by size, weight, density and colour before they are bagged for export.


Although Guardiolas are common in this wet, humid area of Costa Rica, the Robleos are always searching for new ways to innovate in processing and drying. For instance, theyknew that drying was one of their main challenges in producing speciality coffee –particularly as they wanted to start producing honey andnatural lots. According to DiegoRobelo, “Everyone told us we were crazy. You are never going to make honeys and naturals in Turrialba.We decided to prove them wrong.”


The Robelos sourced a greenhouse from a neighbourin the region who had been producing roses and built drying beds according to specifications gleaned from other producers. After the first lots were dried in the greenhouse, thermometers and humidity gauges still showed a great deal of temperature fluctuation depending on time of day and weather. In order to create a constant and even temperature in the greenhouse they installed an airflow system connected to their guadiola system (used for commercial lots). Now, dry air of around 36degrees Celsiuscirculates throughout the greenhouse, maintaining an even temperature. The new system works well, helps increase the drying capacityof the greenhouse and reduces variability in lots. Diegoand his quality control team consider these steps just the first in perfecting processing at the farm.




Tasting Notes -

White grapes, Madagascan Cola, Dried cheery and Cream


Country Costa Rica
Region Turrialba
Farm Aquiares Estate
Variety Marsellesa & Obatá
Altitude 1,100 to 1,400 metres above sea level

Proc. Method

Fully Washed

Costa Rica –Don Alfonso Entre Rios