Ripe red fruits, honey and a hint of milk chocolate. smooth medium roast
Here it is, this year’s Black Honey process microlot from Finca El Mango in the Chirripó micro-region of southern Costa Rica. The farm is owned and operated by the Ureña Rojas family, who also operate the Café Rivense del Chirripó micromill where this lot was processed. One of their microlots placed 5th in the 2019 in the Cup of Excellence.
Finca El Mango is an 8ha farm in the Brunca region of southern Costa Rica, in a micro-region called Chirripó. The farm sits at an altitude of 1,500masl and cultivates Caturra & Catuai varieties. While mango trees are not common at this altitude, this farm has 2 providing shade to the coffee trees. The farm is next to the neighbouring family farm Finca Las Torres, though the cup profile its quite different thanks to its position looking to southeast and its steep slopes. This farm includes the first coffee plantation Don Régulo started when he was just 18 years old.
Café Rivense del Chirripó is a family micromill founded by Régulo Ureña and Isabel Rojas in 2005. During their formative years, the family had to fight hard with many challenges: low international prices, lack of information on processing coffee, and financing for coffee projects. To setup this project in a region not known for specialty coffee had their neighbors predicting that they would fail. However through perseverance, faith in the project and lots of hard work the Ureña Rojas family to continue through a long road to be recognized as specialty coffee producers.
It’s fair to say their dedication and hard work paid off. In 2019 one of their microlots placed 5th in the Cup of Excellence; the first from the Brunca region to place in the COE top ten.
The farm is managed with a sustainable system focused on reducing the carbon footprint with proper shade management to provide organic material to soil and keep coffee trees fresh; fertilization based on annual soil analysis; the use of herbicide in specific plots with strong grasses; pollution protection for all water sources on the farm; and there are specialized fruit trees to feed wildlife.
This lot utilises a Black – or “full” honey process. Only the ripest cherries are selected to ensure high sugar content. These are dry pulped with a high mucilage retention and transferred immediately onto raised African beds where they are sun-dried for an average of 12-15 days. All of the milling, grading and bagging is done on site, affording the family complete control of the post-harvest process through to export.
The Chirripó micro-region is developing a name for itself in the specialty coffee scene thanks to its high altitude – ranging from 1,300 to over 2,000masl – the rich of the soils, and fresh environment. It is located between two very high mountains: Cerro de la Muerte (3,491m) and Cerro Chirripó (3,820m., the highest in Costa Rica), the valley between these mountains creates a unique microclimate which is ideal for coffee cultivation. In recent years, the potential for specialty coffee the Chirripó micro-region has developed dramatically. This has contributed to an increase of land planted with coffee and it is projected that it will continue increasing in the coming years.