August 4, 2020
Origin: Costa Rica La Pastora
Back in February, a few members of our team took their first trip to origin, visiting farms in the Tarrazu region of Costa Rica. While the bulk of our trip was spent at Hacienda La Minita, who supplies us with our Costa Rica La Magnolia, we also had the chance to visit Minor Esquival Picado of Finca La Pastora.
Located in Santa Maria de Dota, Finca La Pastora has been in Minor's family for over 60 years. The location of the property is hard to beat, with an ideal climate and elevation for coffee growing, and breathtaking Costa Rican views every way you look. In 2011, Minor built a wet mill on the farm, and named it Micro Beneficio La Pastora. This is definitely not the norm in Costa Rica, and this has allowed him and his family to really experiment with different processes, and create some beautifully unique coffees!
One of the keys to Minor’s fantastic coffee is that he only picks his coffee cherries when they are the color of Sangre de Toro (bull’s blood). The ripe cherries are almost a purple color and are at their absolute syrupy sweetest. After picking, the coffees are picked for a variety of different processing styles including: natural, yellow honey, red honey, black honey, and a few special in-house developed processes (like our current "African Washed" offering).
"African Washed" is processed in a style more typical of Kenya where the cherry undergoes an initial fermentation before being depulped, fermented again, and then sundried on raised beds. The method is expensive, and labor intensive, but Kenyan coffee is often some of the sweetest, and most complex you'll find. The majority of coffee coming out of Central America is washed - which is what makes it even more unique that Minor processes the same coffee a handful of different ways.
After visiting some larger scale processing facilities on our trip, coming to Finca La Pastora and seeing all of these different processes happening in an area smaller than the size of our roastery was incredible. Our team had only ever read about how coffee is processed at origin, and the different methods, so seeing it first hand, with every step happening right in front of you was eyeopening, to say the least!
Minor's farm, and wet mill are right next to his house, where he recently built a beautiful room for brewing and tasting coffees. He wants roasters, importers, and fans of his coffee to come to his farm to see the production for themselves, and we were lucky to do so.
Minor works on the farm with wife, brother, daughter, and son-in-law, and you could tell that he takes an immense amount of pride in his coffee from the contagious smile he had on his face the entire time we were there.
We thank Minor for not only the hospitality, and education, but for this delicious African Washed coffee that we now have the chance to roast and share with our customers!
Click here to buy a bag of Costa Rica La Pastora