This lot comes to us from the Robelo family in Turrialba, Costa Rica. Aquiares Estate is one of Costa Rica’s largest and most historic coffee farms, located high on the fertile slopes of Turrialba Volcano. For over a century, the farm has developed an enduring model for growing high-quality coffee, protecting the stunning natural setting, and supporting a thriving local community of 1,800 people. Coffee plots here are protected by large preserved forests, providing a healthy environment for the local animals, birds, and plants
Established by British farmers in 1890, Aquiares was one of the first estates to produce and export Costa Rican coffee. In 1971, the farm was purchased by its current owners - three families who have worked together with the community to implement a model of sustainable agriculture.
Today, the farm manages the entire coffee production chain, from seedling production to plant cultivation, harvesting and milling. This ensures that they are able to meet the highest standards of quality assurance and guarantee a traceable product.
This lot is 100% ‘Esperanza’ variety – a hybrid of Sarchimor and the Ethiopia 531 variety, developed by various Central American coffee research institutes. Esperanza marries cup quality with high resistance to disease.
This natural lot has been floated in water tanks for density. In coffee, density is generally an indicator of quality. Damaged/defective cherries float to the surface and are separated from higher-quality cherries that sink to the bottom. The cherries are then moved to the farm's solar dryer patios (large greenhouse with ceramic floors) for pre-drying. After 2-3 days of pre-drying on the ceramic floors, they are moved to the farm’s raised beds, also in the covered greenhouse, where they slowly dry for around 10 days.
In order to thrive, high quality coffee requires specific growing conditions. However, these conditions are facing increased risks due to changing weather patterns resulting from climate change. As a Rainforest Alliance Certified farm, Aquiares is mitigating the effects of climate change by adapting their practices through strategies that aim to reduce water pollution, soil erosion, waste and water usage. Given that soil health is the most important factor for a successful farm, Aquiares adopts sustainable methods to naturally improve the farm’s volcanic soil.
In practical terms, this means that the organic matter from pruning and the leaf litter from the coffee and shade trees are left to feed soil microbes and provide organic nutrients which improve overall soil health. The diversified shade trees (over 40 species) also cool the ground, slowing the ripening of the coffee, which allows sugars from the mucilage to be fully absorbed by the bean, thus improving cup quality.
In recent years, Aquiares has made strides in achieving carbon neutrality and measures its greenhouse gas emissions to calculate its carbon emissions against its offsets. Join Aquiares GM, Diego Robelo as he discuss their approach towards sustainability at origin in this episode of the 5THWAVE Podcast (Timestamp: 10:01 - 19:25).