||Costa Rica Finca Arbar El Manatial Yellow Honey 2015
||Varietals: Catuai, Caturra and small amount of Villa Sarchi
This is the third year of us having this coffee, and piece by piece we are finding out more about the farm. When we first found it in 2013 we had very little information on the farm; so much so it didn’t even have a name!
On my trips to Costa Rica I've been lucky enough to visit the farm and over the past 2 years I've got to find out lots more and also build a stronger relationship going forwards. Let me tell you what I know so far...
I first got to meet Carlos at the exporter's office on the last day of my time in Costa Rica in 2013, he arrived around 10 minutes after I had cupped the first table of coffees, where I had found one lot that was making me sing. It just had to be his coffee.
Here ensued the worst negotiation for buying coffee ever to take place.
"How much do you want?" I asked.
He replies, "How much do you like it?"
"A lot” I say.
"I'd like a lot then please" Carlos says.
Luckily at this point a grownup from the exporter's office stepped in and made sure I didn't give Carlos my house, car, and pension plan. We agreed a price that rewarded Carlos more than he had ever gotten before and left me with a home in Stafford to return to.
Back then this coffee was just called Carlos Arietta, as that was all we knew about it.
Last year on my return visit I got to spend some time with the family; I stopped for some lunch, hung out, and asked lots of questions. First of all there's the mill, which is called Arbar and is very close to the house; here they have drying tables and a small nursery. They don't have a deplulper, but more about this later. The mill is new; before they would just sell their coffee to the local co-op and have no interaction with the coffee.
Then I found out that they own two small farms; this coffee is from the farm El Manatial, which was a new farm to us in 2014 but is now back for 2015 after being a massive favourite last year. The farm is located in the Western Valley region near to the town of Lourdes de Naranjo. It's located at 1,600 meters above sea level and contains mostly Caturra, Catuai + a tiny bit of Villa Sarchi, there are also plans to plant some small micro lots too in the future. The farm produces between 700 - 1,400kg a year.
Carlos runs the farm with his wife and his children, Maria Isabel, Yesica, Karen, Stephen, and Jose Ignacio. He has owned this farm for 15 years but only started processing the coffee himself in 2014 (paying someone else to pulp it for him, more on this later). Because he hadn't previously been able to present his coffee to a buyer, he sent it to the exporter we use in Costa Rica.
Last year you may remember that the coffee was priced a little differently, our normal nicely rounded-down price was not there. The coffee should have been sold for £7.50 (we negotiated a small price drop from the previous year as we bought everything from both farms, and this works out that there are some economies of scale compared to the £10.00 of 2013), but we charged £7.88. Well, this was so we (by “we” I mean “you”) could buy Carlos and his family a depulper for his next harvest. This meant he didn’t have to pay someone else to pulp his coffee, and he could gain more control of his amazing coffee.
You can go and see what your generosity bought as I lent the money to Carlos as I promised you would pay it back (and you did!) at the blog post here.
This year one of my roasting team Roland (of Roland's Daft Fact fame) travelled to Costa Rica to be on the jury for their Cup of Excellence competition, if you ever wondered what a coffee roaster from the UK would get up to if let loose in Costa Rica then you should have a read about his trip in Roland Glew's Costa Rican Adventure.
In the cup you can expect the traditional amazing Costa Rican milk chocolate and caramel sweetness but here it's doing a dance partnered with a delicate apricot and peach acidity. In the finish there's also a super clean hit of pineapple.
Country: Costa Rica
Region: Western Valley
City: Lourdes de Naranjo
Farm: El Manatial
Farmer: Carlos Arrieta
Micro Mill: Arbar
Altitude: 1,600 m.a.s.l.
Varietals: Catuai, Caturra and small amount of Villa Sarchi
Processing System: Yellow honey
Medium to medium dark roast. My preference is just into second crack, first few pops then drop.
"Quick Look" Guide
Caramel, milk chocolate, apricot, peach, pineapple, super clean.
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