Costa Rica is one of the top producers of coffee, and, as their number three export, is incredibly important to the country’s economy. Arabica coffee was first introduced to the country directly from Ethiopia in the late 1770’s. Like many countries’ governments, the Costa Rican government encouraged farming by offering plots of land to farmers who wanted to grow and harvest the plants. By 1829, coffee production was a larger source of revenue than tobacco, cacao, and sugar cane. Today, many Nicaraguan immigrants are often employed as seasonal workers on plantations to harvest coffee during peak seasons.
Finca Los Papillos is owned by Miguel Angel Cabezas Rodriguez. He and his son Luis Miguel manage the farm together, with help from his wife Miriam Mora Salazar, and their two other children Noylin and Jonathon. They primarily cultivate Villa Sarchi, and have recently planted a plot of Sarchimor. The Noylin lot was harvested from Los Papillos and processed through the Coopronaranjo micro lot program. Coopronaranjo, a large cooperative in the province of Naranjo, have implemented a micro lot program to capture specialty quality lots and work with farms and growers who are consistently producing high quality coffee. The micro lot coffees are received and processed in a separate area from the main mill.
Honey processed coffee is unique in that while the skin and pulp are removed from the cherry, the mucilage, a sugary, sticky outer layer, is retained during the drying stage. This mucilage is sometimes called “honey”, which is why this process is called Honey Process. Honey processed coffees are significantly less acidic than washed or natural/sun dried coffees and have much more character and sweetness than traditional fully washed coffees.
Farmers have begun to assign colors to each honey process. Colors are assigned to indicate the amount of sunlight each cherry is exposed to, yellow/white being the most and black being the least. Yellow/white honey coffees are usually dried in the sun for around a week, red honey is dried for two to three weeks, usually in the shade, and 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.