Costa Rican Coffee History
Costa Rica is one of the top producers of coffee in the world. As their third most exported product, it is incredibly important to the country’s economy. Ethiopia introduced Arabica coffee to the country in the late 1770s. The Costa Rican government encouraged farming of coffee by offering plots of land to local farmers. By 1829, coffee production was a larger source of revenue than tobacco, cacao, and sugar cane. Today, the farms in Costa Rica often employ Nicaraguan immigrants as seasonal workers on plantations to harvest coffee during peak seasons.
Finca Otto from Los Papillos is owned by the Cabezas Mora family and is managed by Miguel Angel Cabezas, his son Luis Miguel, and his wife, Miriam Mora Salazar, and their other two children Noylin and Jonathan. Though they mostly cultivate the Villa Sarchi varietal, they also have been working with the Sarchimor varietal on a small plot. The Noylin lot was harvested from Los Papillos and processed through the Coopnaranjo cooperative’s micro lot program. This program captures specialty quality lots and works with producers who consistently harvest high quality coffee. These micro lots are processed in an area separate from the main mill.
Honey processed coffee is unique. When they remove the skin and pulp from the cherry, the mucilage, a sugary, sticky outer layer, remains on during the drying stage. The mucilage resembles Honey. Hence, why we refer to the process as “Honey Process”. These coffees are significantly less acidic than washed or natural/sun dried coffees. They also tend to have much more character and sweetness than traditional fully washed coffees.
Farmers have begun to assign colors to each level of honey process, indicating the amount of exposure to sunlight the plants receive. Yellow/white honey process being the most and black honey process being the least amount of sunlight. Yellow/white honey coffees are usually left to dry in the sun for around a week and red honey is dried for two to three weeks, usually in the shade. Whereas Black honey is exposed to as little light as possible and must dry for at least two weeks. The longer the dry time, the more fruit-forward the end result tastes.