Words and photos by Zack Burnett  

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Day three was spent cupping.  We cupped 75 coffees from the Tarrazú region.  It's extremely tiring cupping coffee all day but it's always a nice experience to cup so many coffees from the same area side by side.  Different varietals, micro-climates and processing styles present themselves uniquely in each cup. 

We came away with what we felt were the four highest cupping coffees of the day, all scoring between 87.5 and 89.5 on the SCAA cupping scale.  Two of the coffees are from families we have worked with in the past and two are new relationship coffees for us.  Our first lot, Finca Cirri, is currently available.  Look for the others to be released throughout the fall.  

The following day we drove to the Acosta region of Tarrazú to catch up with farmers that have been part of the micro-lot program since the beginning.  The mountains in the Acosta area are high, many over 6,000 feet, and covered in mist.  These mountains are home to countless micro-climates which create distinct ecosystems and display a great diversity of flora and fauna in a very small area.  Small changes in altitude in the tropical latitudes allows for extreme bio-diversity.  This all affects how coffee is cultivated in these areas and is responsible for distinct differences in the cup between coffees grown in a geographically small area.  

As we drive, we pass through the clouds and arrive at an area that has been designated for coffee growing.  This area is home to 4 farms all owned by members of the extended Monge family.   The Monge family has been in coffee for generations and they continually push themselves to produce better coffee.  They are inspiring people to work with.  We purchased a couple of coffees from this family last year and are excited to work with them again this year. 

The coffee we purchased from this area this year comes from Finca El Boyerito, owned by Ismael Monge Garbonzo.  His coffee displayed beautiful notes of raspberry, black tea and tropical fruits on the cupping table.  Look for his coffee to be released this fall.  

It was great catching up with the Monge family.  They have been a big part of the micro-lot program since it's inception.  They are great people who grow spectacular coffee and are dedicated to the further advancement of speciality coffee in Costa Rica.  We look forward to continuing our relationship with them over the years.

The Monge Family.  Ismael pictured left, Carlos pictured second from right.

The Monge Family.  Ismael pictured left, Carlos pictured second from right.

Next we took the short trip to Finca Maria Rita.  This farm is another that has been part of the micro-lot program from the beginning.  It is a beautiful area and the coffee is typically one of the highest cupping in the program.  Many of the coffee trees were in bloom at Maria Rita.  It was a breezy and misty evening and the air was filled with the jasmine-like scent of coffee blossom.  They day ended with an incredible sunset and pulls of Aguardiente from Carlos Monge's bottle, a nice way to wrap-up another exciting and successful sourcing trip to Costa Rica.

A big thanks goes to Royal Coffee New York, STC Coffee, the ASOPROAAA cooperative, and all of the Costa Rican farmers and families who make all of this possible.  See you again next year!  ¡Salud!

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