Origin: Costa Rica
Farm: Los Cipreses
Altitude: 1700 MASL
Process: Submerged, Wet Fermentation Natural
Cup Score: 89
Raspberry, Blackcurrant & Strawberry Yogurt
This lot showcases everything we believe in.
A passionate young producer, experimental & progressive processing and high quality cultivation. He does this whilst battling climate change and hurricane damage without the use of any chemicals and has a shared quality over quantity ideology.
We’re very lucky and proud to showcase one of his top 2022 lots.
Max is involved in the specialty and barista scene in San José, and has developed many experimental and progressive processes to improve quality at his mill. He is looking for stable and durable relationships with a few roasters and exporters rather than selling his coffee more widely.
Before 2019, Max and his family used to deliver their cherries to a neighbouring mill, but in 2020 they decided to start processing the best of their harvest themselves (most as honey’s), by installing a small mill and a greenhouse.
The processing plant, as well as the lowest part of the farm, is located at 1680 masl. During the peak harvest, 30 additional pickers are hired to pick the cherries at their ripest.
Max’s experiment with Geisha goes deep into post harvest processing.
After sorting and picking 100% Geisha cherries, they’ll float the cherry and then they’ll leave the cherry in tanks of water to slow down fermentation for 3-7 days before transferring to the drying beds.
They do this when the temperature is particularly high and they don’t want the coffee to ferment too quickly, this slow submerged fermentation (anaerobically) helps develop lots of sugars compared to the traditional natural drying techniques - resulting in this lot being scored an outstanding; 89.
Los Cipreses, which includes two farms and a mill, is located in the West Valley, which is influenced by Pacific weather patterns and is consequently drier than the Central Valley, producing a different coffee profile. Max Salazar runs the farms, San Cristobal (10ha) and La Isabella (13ha), named after his parents, alongside his two cousins and uncle Danilo. The business is named after the cypresses grown on a partnered farm that are sold as Christmas trees in December.
Initially, the farms were mainly planted with Typica and Villa Sarchi varieties, but the family have bought more land and have planted Catuai, Caturra, Geisha, Ethiopian varieties, Millennium and SL28.
New varieties – including L12-28, which is yielding good results – stay in the nursery for a year before being planted on the farms.
The way the farms are structured has resulted in a number of microclimates that require hugely labour intensive micro management, adapting processes for each slope and orientation.
Winds are strong in the area (the region’s coffee was decimated by the 2015 hurricane Nate), so they have had to find solutions to decrease its impact on the coffee plants.
Thus, Production since 2017 has been very low, with most farms being hit by distinct climate challenges.
Harvests used to be 600-700 fanegas (1 fanega = 250kg of cherries), but since 2017 they have been around 300, with a very small middle-harvest volume (this volume is the most important for the producers as it is usually some of the best quality coffee).
Despite the presence of crop disease and pests - Max doesn’t spray his trees with chemicals, preferring to fight coffee rust with more natural methods, including a good fertilisation plan and resistant varieties.
He also doesn’t use any herbicides and weeds are controlled with mulching.
*150G SIZE ONLY*