Costa Rica and Guatemala are well known for their excellent coffee, their beautiful and diverse landscape as well as for their welcoming people. We were very fortunate to experience all those characteristics and this summary will hardly live up to all the experiences made.
Costa Rica, with its long coffee tradition, knowledge and advanced techniques is a role model for many producing countries. The coffee growing areas are divided into eight regions - the most well-known being Tarrazú, Cental and West Valley - and offer a large variety of cup profiles - from nutty and chocolate flavors to very fruity and fresh aromas. We met many producers and coffee farmers, for example at Finca Las Lajas, a pioneer in naturals and honeys. Here, Oscar and Francisca revealed part of their processing secrets. We had the chance to cup an amazing range of coffees from yellow, red and diamond honeys to the darkest natural. With Roger from Finca Santa Teresa 2000, we saw the diversity of varieties that are being implemented over the last couple of years in Costa Rica, such as – Pacarama, Geisha, SL28 and many more - while enjoying an amazing view from the highest micro mill in the Tarrazú region. Daniela, owner of Montaña Tarrazú, produces some of the best fully washed in the region and represents with only 25 years the young and motivated next coffee generation.
In Guatemala, with its vast territory, its partly active volcanos and diverse coffee regions, traveling can be a challenge. But seeing what this country has to offer was worth every driving hour. We were overwhelmed by the different coffee profiles and diverse landscape depending on the coffee regions you visit. In Huehuetanango for example, Mauricio from Finca La Maravilla, made us climb to 2.100m to see all his coffee varieties. Bourbons and Caturras as his standards, but also San Ramon (a Pache type), Parainema (a cross of Villa Sarchi and Catimor) and even some African varieties such as SL28 and SL34. To the south-east of Guatemala City, at El Socorro, Diego showed us around his beautiful farm, full of treasures, flowers and above all Pacaramas and Maracaturas. Those two varieties have a common root, the Maragogype, and feature a very fruity profile, peach and lemon flavors with a silky body and elegant acidity. In Antigua, with the famous “Coco” from Finca Medina and Finca El Portal, we were not only struck by the ecological and social efforts, but we were also impressed by the high-quality requirements and outstanding cup profiles.
We would like to take this opportunity to thank all our partners and friends who made this trip a success!
Best wishes, Tom and Philippa