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Costa Rica - Aguilera Bros

Costa Rica - Aguilera Bros

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  • Country – Costa Rica
  • Region – West Valley  - Naranjo
  • Farm –  Aguilera Bros
  • Varietal – Villa Sarchi
  • Process – Red Honey
  • Cup Score – 85
  • Altitude – 1500 masl

Aguilera farm is run by 12 siblings (8 brothers and 4 sisters) on a total of 50 hectares. Dagoberto and Jose David are two of them. The farms altitudes are running from 1,450 to 1,700masl. The mill is at 1,450 masl. A lot of experiments and innovation are done with varieties. They have various types of Geisha, Sarchimore, Pacamara, Venezia, Cidra, Catuai, Villa Sarchi intercropped with banana trees, poró tico (native from Costa Rica) and avocado trees. The siblings were initially just farming and used to deliver their cherries to a neighbour wet mill. But, 10 years ago, they decided to create more value for their coffee controlling a bit more the supply chain. They built the wet and dry mill and little by little were able to prepare their coffee up to export stage at their place. 7 years ago, they invested in greenhouses for the drying as the area is very windy and drying the coffee without cover was tricky as it kept being blown away. The farms also have wind protections with some local trees on all farm edges. After slashing weeds, they use them as mulch material, prune each tree every 3 years and they have left a decent amount of space in between rows. A combination of chemical and organic fertilization is applied a couple of times a year. They also roast and grind their own coffee, the family itself consumes 69 kg of coffee a month and they sell about 50kg to neighbours per week.

The colour of the honey is dictated by the amount of pulp and the time of drying (related to weather) but they can make the drying longer piling the coffee, spreading in thicker layers and regularly covering it from the sun. The honeys are not moved for the first day of drying, then moved every half an hour over the next 7 days. 

The family are the 3rd generation of coffee producers on this land and the 4th generation is at university studying and planning to take over the farming business in a few years. Their main challenges are climate change and the diseases directly linked to and the impact this has on production cycles. They would like to learn more about processes and are keen to experiment with different methods. They would love to set up a little lab and have the possibility to control their quality better.