||Costa Rica La Pira Tarrazu Washed Caturra 2013
La Pira is located in the high altitude Dota Valley of the Tarrazu region, an area that was known for producing great coffees. This relatively young estate is only 50 years old, and is owned by the founder’s son, Carlos Urena Ceciliano. He has worked the farm for 17 years, although he has worked in coffee all his life.
We first found this coffee in the Cup of Excellence in 2009, and we were pleased to be reunited with it last year after a lot of effort and hard work. This year it proved just as hard to secure, and stretched the pocket and the patience, but it’s well worth it.
After inheriting the family farm, Carlos worked for many years as a certified organic coffee producer, but he realised doing so was just not possible on this farm. Organic coffee is good, but not possible for everyone. The yield was very very affected, so Carlos looked for alternatives, whilst still holding the organic principles very close to his heart. For instance, instead of using chemicals to control the weeds, sheep roam freely amongst the coffee plants and eat the weeds (and strangely leave the coffee plants alone). They work as automatic and mobile "fertilisation units" (nature’s a wonderful thing). This has eliminated the need for herbicides. This is the kind of thinking Carlos has about coffee.
When I visited him this year he was telling me that he often woke in the middle of the night with an idea of how he can improve production or change the way the coffee is harvested and processed, and how systems can be improved upon. I too suffer from this type of sleep deprivation - ideas popping into the head - so I can empathise about this.
During one of these late night bursts of inspiration, Carlos thought that using the coldest water he could would be the best way of processing the cherry. At night the Dota valley gets a really sharp, cold breeze, which runs through the whole farm (only at night). He had noticed the way the water on the mill roof that sprinkled from processing was almost frosting up. So he created a sprinkling system and a zinc ramp that the water runs across before hitting the cherries in the fermentation tank.
I am convinced that these little details are what makes this coffee so very very special, and you can taste it in the cup. I don't think it’s the processes so much, but the care and attention to the very smallest detail.
We have chased this coffee ever since we got it four years ago in the Cup of Excellence program. Due to its low yield, it's been tough to get our hands on it. But last year I pestered the exporter we partner with in Costa Rica so much, that in every Skype call and every email I begged them to sort this one out. Even this year after visiting, it’s never easy, and what is here is in the tiniest lot, but I think you will love it.
In the cup this one is like bouquet of flowers. It’s clean and floral with a coffee blossom edge to it too. There's the smallest hint of toffee and sweet caramel, with a biting green apple acidity hiding underneath. Crisp, clean, sweet, and balanced.
Farm: La Pira
Farmer: Carlos Ureña Ceciliano
City: Santa María de Dota
Country: Costa Rica
Farm Size: 7.00 Hectares
Altitude: 1650 masl
Processing System: Washed, sun dried
Medium to medium dark roast. My preference is just into second crack, first few pops then drop.
"Quick Look" Guide:
Floral, clean, sweet, toffee, caramel, green apple.
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