19/04/2010 Micro mills in Costa Rica

Costa Rica is a small country in Central America with Northern borders to Nicaragua and Southern to Panama.
The country’s population is about 4.000.000, the country has no military force and according to research related to happiness indexes, Costa Ricans come always first.
Besides their moto is Pura Vida.
This rich coast (Costa Rica means rich coast) has its land protected by 1/4 due to the tropical forests and volcanoes that exist. The rich volcanic soil in combination to several microclimates create the ideal conditions for coffee production.

There are 8 identified producing regions (West Valley, Central Valley, Tres Rios, Orosi, Turrialba, Tarrazu, Brunca, Guanacaste) each one with unique environmental characteristics creating specific cup profiles to its coffees.

In Costa Rica great coffees are being produced, recognized worldwide amongst the world’s best, positioning more than 60% of its production in the specialty market.

In the last 8-10 years, we are experiencing a micro mill revolution in the coffee producing micro-regions. Producers add value to their farms by processing their cherries in their own processing station (mill). In that way, all we can see all the efforts that the farmers make and we can experience a unique cup profile.

In Costa Rica there are over 150 micro mills processing no more that 1000 bags per year, with several processing methods (wet, natural, honey).
This helps the farmer reveal his identity and in that way, he can screen the micro lots according to the variety and the processing method. The investment for a micro mill can be more than 100.000 USD.
This new model can be compared with the one of the small wine producers.
Taf supports this effort by purchasing coffee from several micro mills in Costa Rica.
One of those is called Zalmari in the farm La Margarita. Four generations have been occupied with the production of coffee in this farm. Cachi is the name of the micro region of the Orosi Valley close to Cartago. The Murray family built the Zalmari micro mill in 2000. Harvest in this micro region takes place from October until February.

From the crop 2009-2010 I selected for Taf coffees from La Cabana micromill from the micro region San Pablo De Leon Cortes in the area of Tarrazu and from the Don Jose micromill in the micro region San Juanillo de Naranjo.
La Cabana micro mill was built 3 years ago and started processing so as to add value to the beans of the farm.
The existence of a micro mill inside the farm is a real revolution and the benefits are numerous.

The producer adds value to his coffee and various and unique varieties are being revealed as well as micro regions, while in the past we could have information only about the area.

Taf has the ability to elevate these coffee characteristics through the roasting and can offer to its customers special flavor characteristics because of its commitment to the research of unique cup profiles. These coffees are included in the Taloumis Family Limited Reserve line.


Yiannis Taloumis