||Costa Rica Finca Licho Yellow Honey Geisha 2018
Licho is a relationship that I feel shows our development as a roaster over the years. First we bought coffee from the farm in the Cup of Excellence program (a great way to meet a grower), then we bought it from an import broker; they helped us bring in this coffee because we are a small coffee buyer. Then we bought directly from them.
Then, three years ago, I went out to the farm and did the deal on the farm with the brothers. I love the fact that I walked onto the farm after cupping a particular lot in the exporter's office, asked how much they wanted, and there was a short conference. They came back and told me, then we shook hands. Then we got back into the 4x4 and drove away. That year we agreed a European-exclusive deal with them for this coffee, and to this day we continue the close work we have been doing with them.
Grown by the Aguilera brothers in the province of Naranjo, in the volcanic Northern Cordiles corridor of the Western Valley, this coffee is cultivated at an altitude of 1,500 metres above sea level. Most of their coffee is of the Villa Sarchi variety, but in recent years we've started to see others from the farm, this is the very first year we've ever seen a Geisha from Licho and it's a result of the nursery they started working not all that long ago, oh my I'm so excited to have this coffee!
Processing wise this coffee is yellow honey processed, which is just like the pulped natural method, so the fruit is removed from the seed of the coffee bush and left to dry. The main difference is that there is no water involved when the cherry is removed, so mucilage sticks to the bean. This can be dangerous, but it's necessary in these parts of Costa Rica where water is limited: in this area of Naranjo water is a precious commodity, so this method suits the location very well.
The coffee ends up clustering whilst drying because there is so much mucilage. So the coffee either needs to be turned regularly to stop this happening, or it has to be broken up. Over-fermentation can happen at this stage and you can end up with a not-so-good cup, but the Aguilera brothers are well-versed in this method and are some of the most skilled in Costa Rica.
Want to know a little more about honey processing? Here's a video you might enjoy!
The Aguileras are a family of twelve brothers and sisters who are second-generation coffee producers in the West Valley. (Hermanos is used to describe mixed male and female siblings in Spanish, but literally translates to "brothers" in English.) Their father was one of the first coffee growers in the area, and planted his farm 70 years ago. Neighbouring farmers warned him that coffee wouldn't grow there, but now the area is rich with coffee lands. His children, the Aguilera Brothers, work together to produce coffee. Most of the siblings own farmland, and they co-manage the micro mill they installed eight years ago, which they built with the earnings from their fourth place Cup of Excellence win in 2007. That's the year I first found the farm!
In the cup you'll get jasmine and black tea. It's super perfumed, but then a big boot of sweet lemon hits you. In the background you'll find a little kiwi and white wine too, rounding this out into a complex yet super balanced coffee.
Country: Costa Rica
Region: Western Valley
Nearest city: Naranjo de Alajuela
Farm: Finca Licho
Producers: Aguilera family
Farm size: 28 hectares
Coffee growing area: 9.10 hectares
Altitude: 1,500 m.a.s.l.
Processing system: Yellow Honey
Medium - let it run through first but slow it down a little before you drop it in the gap.
"Quick Look" Guide
Jasmine, black tea, lemon, kiwi, white wine.
Note: Cupping Scores for Mouthfeel & Balance are actually 6.5 each, not as above (software limitation, allows whole numbers only)
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