|Origin||Finca Las Palomas, Aserrí, San Jose Province, Costa Rica|
|Producer||Jorge Monge Garbanzo|
|Notes||Amaretti, Cherry Pie|
Looking back, I feel incredibly lucky to have had the opportunity to visit Costa Rica back in February. What seemed then to be part and parcel of a life immersed in coffee now seems like the greatest of privileges - to have had the freedom to travel the world in pursuit of knowledge, experience, and a deeper understanding of coffee.
Hosted by our importing partners D R Wakefield, and in the company of some of the finest humans I could have wished to spend two weeks travelling around Costa Rica with, we explored numerous farms, cooperatives and washing stations. We learnt about the strict regulations put in place by the Costa Rican government to ensure a fair wage for all parties involved in the production of coffee, and were recipients of incredible warmth and hospitality.
On the morning of Tuesday 21st February, we were picked up by a convoy of all terrain vehicles. Those of us in the know immediately made a dash for the electric-blue vintage Land Cruiser and piled into the back. After a long and bone-shaking ride on dirt paths we suddenly descended into an isolated valley. A man who I can only describe as the George Clooney of coffee farmers was waiting by a gate to welcome us. It turned out this man was Don Jorge Monge Garbanzo, owner of Finca Las Palomas. When we got out of the Land Cruiser I was struck immediately by two things - firstly, the beauty and tranquility of the valley that we were in, and secondly, that the climate was much cooler than it had been in the neighbouring valley. It was clear looking around that this was well tended land with neat and incredibly healthy looking rows of coffee trees all around.
Sebastien Lafaye of ASAPROAAA, who process the coffee on behalf of Las Palomas, spoke to us in length about production on the farm, before we were treated to a truly memorable barbecue, not only for the delicious food, but also for the equally delicious homemade rum that tasted of pure sugar cane. I don't know if the rum had anything to do with it, but the cup of coffee that followed was simply outstanding, and carried the same incredible sugar-cane sweetness. I knew instantly that this was the coffee I needed to bring home with me.
We have bought the same coffee processed by way of both the washed and the natural method. If you want to see how dramatically different processing can effect cup profile, then why not buy a bag of each!
This natural processed iteration is incredibly clean and sweet, and reminds us of amaretti biscuits and cherry pie.