Country: Costa Rica
Farm: Aquiares Estate
Process: Anaerobic Natural
Variety: H1 Centroamericano F1 Hybrid
Elevation: 1200 metres
Caramel, Grapefruit, Strawberry, Milk Chocolate
Situated along the lush slopes of the Turrialba volcano, Aquiares farm is a case study in progressive, innovative coffee farming. Founded in 1890 by farmers looking to take advantage of Costa Rica´s railroad to the port of Limón, Aquiares would grow to become the largest coffee farm in the country with over 200 employee homes on the farm. Under the leadership of Alfonso Robelo, the farm underwent a transformation starting in the 1990s; Alfonso created opportunities for workers to purchase their own homes on the estate, evolving the farm into a strong community. Today, the community of Aquiares has its own primary school, a youth sports program, a recycling committee, an early childhood nutrition center, and 96% of Aquiares employees own their own houses.
Alfonso's son, Diego Robelo manages the farm and oversees their Carbon Neutral and Rainforest Alliance certifications. Aquiares devotes 80% of its land to growing high quality coffee and the remaining 20% to conservation. With over a dozen natural springs and nearly 20 kilometers in streams all protected by buffer zones, Aquiares regularly hosts researchers from around the world who conduct agricultural and environmental studies on their land. As part of Costa Rica’s Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Action, Aquiares farm measures its greenhouse gas emissions and plants trees in designated plots to offset the farm's carbon footprint.
The Centroamericano F1 hybrid is a relatively new cultivar - a cross of the Sarchimor T-5296 and a wild Rume Sudan variety. This hybrid is high-yielding and rust-resistant, and also has a complex, elegant profile.
Due to its high mucilage content (the sugary pulp of the coffee cherry), the Centroamericano variety was especially selected for anaerobic processing. After the cherries are floated and washed, they're placed into stainless steel tanks with a one-way valve. Anaerobic fermentation in the tanks lasts for 24 hours, and the native microorganisms and yeasts present on the coffee cherries begin to break down the pulp and mobilize the sugars. After fermenting, the cherries are washed again with fresh water before being laid out for drying on ceramic patios, with a final drying stage on layered beds within a solar dryer.
In the cup, we find this anaerobic natural to have a silky caramel body, great aromatics of ripe fruit - apricot and strawberry, a rich milk chocolate sweetness and mouthfeel with just the right amount of bright, grapefruit acidity.