Costa Rica - Naranjo, Tarrazu, Dota -2007

Costa Rica - Naranjo, Tarrazu, Dota -2007

This is a way-back archive travelogue of a cupping trip to Costa Rica in 2007! Some fun pictures and captions from Sweet Maria's of yore -Tom

 

  1. Costa Rica - Naranjo, Tarrazu, Dota -2007

    2 barrel probat

    to get this probat to costa rica, and set it up, a mere 12,000 bucks. but (the theory is) this roaster ruined all the samples. Well, not ruined, but there was a definite lack of sweetness in the coffees, and a sharp roast flavor. why?

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  2. Costa Rica - Naranjo, Tarrazu, Dota -2007

    17 coffee pulpers

    17 pulpers are installed to remove the skin from the cherry ... that is huge folks. a small farm mill has one or two. but the mill is in great shape, and is very good at what it does.

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  3. Costa Rica - Naranjo, Tarrazu, Dota -2007

    58 dollars to found the mill

    founding the mill with 116,000 colones, which would be about $58 bucks at todays exchange rate. I think you can spend 29,000 colones on appetizers these days.

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  4. Costa Rica - Naranjo, Tarrazu, Dota -2007

    a quick and simple trip

    and this is where i went, on a plane loaded with tourists of all types. costa rica, be prepared to be the s. florida of the new millenium. watch out coffee drinkers, farms are turning into subdivisions.

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  5. Costa Rica - Naranjo, Tarrazu, Dota -2007

    abacus

    an easy way to count the amount of incoming coffee cherry at their receiving station

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  6. Costa Rica - Naranjo, Tarrazu, Dota -2007

    abnoxious

    a nosey gringo jumps into the pile coffee coffee in the silo. hey, it wasn't nice-looking parchment coffee so this can only improve the flavor.

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  7. Costa Rica - Naranjo, Tarrazu, Dota -2007

    ambient temperature gauges

    the ambient thermometer (it's cooling). anyway, the problem might have been the combination of propane (of dubious quality too) and solid drums. it might have been anti-scorching, or basically the inside of the bean roasting more than the exterior due to too much conductive heat.

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  8. Costa Rica - Naranjo, Tarrazu, Dota -2007

    bamboo

    ... and some towering bamboo, a pachymorph type, perhaps bambusa oldhamii . oh, that's just a rough guess... anyway, it was a nice, swift cupping trip.

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  9. Costa Rica - Naranjo, Tarrazu, Dota -2007

    best picture first

    saving the best for first. this is the best thing i saw on the whole trip.

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  10. Costa Rica - Naranjo, Tarrazu, Dota -2007

    bottlecaps

    my favorite thing to collect on trips, bottle caps. i usually say i am collectiong them for my nephew, if i am too embarrased to ask for them outright.

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  11. Costa Rica - Naranjo, Tarrazu, Dota -2007

    bulk bags

    super-sackin' . alot of coffee is stored in parchment in supersacks. a 20 bag lot can fit in one supersack, so this is good for the micro-lots.

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  12. Costa Rica - Naranjo, Tarrazu, Dota -2007

    cafecoop cupping

    our first stop, cupping a few rounds at cafecoop outside san jose. here are town cuppers from the lovely west oakland Jeri (royal coffees top sales associate) and myself, and we both looked stumped. why? i will explain later.

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  13. Costa Rica - Naranjo, Tarrazu, Dota -2007

    cashew!

    outside the mill office, a cashew tree ... something I had never seen before.

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  14. Costa Rica - Naranjo, Tarrazu, Dota -2007

    coffee hullers

    hullers for removing the parchment layer, the start of the dry milling procedure. coopedota does it all, and loads coffee into containers on site.

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  15. Costa Rica - Naranjo, Tarrazu, Dota -2007

    composition of coffee cherry

    educational poster at the coopedota office.

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  16. Costa Rica - Naranjo, Tarrazu, Dota -2007

    coop coffee shop

    the coop owns a coffeehouse in town under their offices. I liked the fact that "export quality coffee" means good coffee. it is actually a very accurate statement, since most coffee sold to "local markets" is of lower quality. there's a reson people prefer nescafe to local coffee in many producing countries... sad but true

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  17. Costa Rica - Naranjo, Tarrazu, Dota -2007

    coopdota

    our first stop, a tour of the dota cooperative mill in the town of santa maria de dota.

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  18. Costa Rica - Naranjo, Tarrazu, Dota -2007

    coopronaranjo

    the sign at the coop of naranjo coffee farmers. there are 2500 members, most with very small farms of 1 hectare.

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  19. Costa Rica - Naranjo, Tarrazu, Dota -2007

    cupping at naranjo

    a little cupping at the naranjo coop after a long day. i think that dude max (brown shirt) was trying to intimidate me. what's up with that? they had these funny pvc-pipe spitoons, the big green thing.

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  20. Costa Rica - Naranjo, Tarrazu, Dota -2007

    dota valley, looking to tarrazu valley

    there's a spot where you look down on the dota valley from one side, and walk over across the road and see this, san marcos de tarrazu. this is the tarrazu valley (the town is in the center, background.

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  21. Costa Rica - Naranjo, Tarrazu, Dota -2007

    fancy worm gears

    gear drives on the drums. anyway, a simple fix would have been to roast larger batches, which would help dissipate all the heat stored in the drum metal.

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  22. Costa Rica - Naranjo, Tarrazu, Dota -2007

    flowering

    in dota much of the coffee flower had bloomed a few days before. blossoms last just 3 days in dota. you can see the browning edges here

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  23. Costa Rica - Naranjo, Tarrazu, Dota -2007

    furnace fuel

    parchment, dried coffee husk, and a mix of both. the mix is burned in their special john gordon (british-made) coffee furnace, and so no wood or other fuels are needed ... a fantastic system and the same they have at Rio Tarrazu mill (La Minita).

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  24. Costa Rica - Naranjo, Tarrazu, Dota -2007

    giant receiving tank

    here is the receiving station, and you can see it is just one big trough. it makes for their great mill brands (hermosa) but here all the producers cherry are mixed. the new micro-mill is the alternative, and a much more fitting one for sweet maria's interest in coffee.

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  25. Costa Rica - Naranjo, Tarrazu, Dota -2007

    going to naranjo

    the next day, we head up to the naranjo region. here is the town of naranjo.

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  26. Costa Rica - Naranjo, Tarrazu, Dota -2007

    losers

    a bunch of losers from the US. okay, not really. but there's a certain moody and dejected look in this picture.

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  27. Costa Rica - Naranjo, Tarrazu, Dota -2007

    macro mill

    and here is part of their big mill, a huge beast, more like a refinery in appearance than a coffee mill.

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  28. Costa Rica - Naranjo, Tarrazu, Dota -2007

    micro mill

    here is coopedota's innovation: their new micro coffee mill or micro-beneficio, to process small lots of coffee from individual coop members. this is why i came down.

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  29. Costa Rica - Naranjo, Tarrazu, Dota -2007

    middle east coffee broker

    back at cafecoop for more cupping, some sample bags of their customers. this one is palestine.

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  30. Costa Rica - Naranjo, Tarrazu, Dota -2007

    nearly open coffee flowers

    these are the "candellas", flowers about to open. these trees were caturra

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  31. Costa Rica - Naranjo, Tarrazu, Dota -2007

    nearly open flowers

    the trees nearby were just about to open their flowers, maybe the next day.

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  32. Costa Rica - Naranjo, Tarrazu, Dota -2007

    new sample roaster

    roasting samples all day long. this is a brand new (like 1 week old) 2 barrel proabt sample roaster. good machine, right?

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  33. Costa Rica - Naranjo, Tarrazu, Dota -2007

    other products

    the mill has a wide vision, looking for other products. one idea is to make the shade trees they intercrop with coffee pay, a second harvest. in this case it is a bean/seed, heguerilla, that has a high oil content and can be used for fuel oil. they also have an ethanol project from coffee pulp in the works.

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  34. Costa Rica - Naranjo, Tarrazu, Dota -2007

    ox-cart coffee

    historic photo of ox based transportation of coffee, from the picker's basket to the coffee mill.

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  35. Costa Rica - Naranjo, Tarrazu, Dota -2007

    parchment coffee

    bulk parchment coffee in its reposo, resting, 4 weeks or more, before final milling.

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  36. Costa Rica - Naranjo, Tarrazu, Dota -2007

    penagos

    they use the new pulpers to remove the skin of the cherry - these use no water, which helps the mill to maintain high environmental standards, which are mandatory under costa rica law.

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  37. Costa Rica - Naranjo, Tarrazu, Dota -2007

    rear view of probat

    but we figured out too late. we cupped our way through all 50 samples of microlot coffees, picked out the best and culled out the worst, keeping in mind that under different conditions the coffees might be better. Now we will cup them all on our roaster in the US to pick the true gems.

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  38. Costa Rica - Naranjo, Tarrazu, Dota -2007

    santa maria de dota

    the beautiful town of santa maria de dota, looking down at it throught the coffee trees. most of the coffee is caturra and catuai. the valley forms a bowl, and is very high altitude, the highest for costa rica coffee (1500 meters to 1900 meters).

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  39. Costa Rica - Naranjo, Tarrazu, Dota -2007

    seabass

    our host at cafecoop, who refers to himself as "seabass" which is french for sebastien. how does a guy from bordeaux end up in costa rica? well, marriage is one good reason. and they don't grow coffee in bordeaux.

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  40. Costa Rica - Naranjo, Tarrazu, Dota -2007

    starbucks roast curve

    and it didn't help the roast much to have this document by the machine; the "starbucks roast curve". I think this might be part of their "cafe practices" manual to instruct producers how to roast samples for cupping. really, it's a pretty standard 13 minute drum roast curve, from initial temp of around 330, to just over 400. those are bean temp measurements. interesting they recommend some 2nd crack, and oils (aciete) on the surface of the bean.

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  41. Costa Rica - Naranjo, Tarrazu, Dota -2007

    stenciling bags

    their mill brand for primera quality, la rosa, being prepared for shipment to oakland. if only i had a white t-shirt on i could have asked for him to print it...

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  42. Costa Rica - Naranjo, Tarrazu, Dota -2007

    the football field

    the cathedral of santa maria - seriously la cancha de futbol appeared to be in the center of town. or maybe i was confused. in cr their are intense small town futbol rivalries, as well as major ones. everyone in dota loves the team Saprissa.

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  43. Costa Rica - Naranjo, Tarrazu, Dota -2007

    the founder

    founded by this guy, who seems so natural and easy-going with that "come hither" smile.

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  44. Costa Rica - Naranjo, Tarrazu, Dota -2007

    the mall at tres rios

    in the mall near bella vista estate, tres rios. tres rios is becoming a suburb. here we have a coffee kiosk where a coffee tree used to stand ... there won't be such a thing as tres rios coffee in a few years.

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  45. Costa Rica - Naranjo, Tarrazu, Dota -2007

    their brand

    one of the mill brands, actually their best brand. pooling coffee and offering the mixed lots as brands is a costa rican tradition, not the worst method, but not exactly micro-lot coffee milling.

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  46. Costa Rica - Naranjo, Tarrazu, Dota -2007

    their caracol bag

    my favorite bag design from the coop. Caracol means snail, but it is also the name for peaberry since it has a rounded, snail-like appearance.

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  47. Costa Rica - Naranjo, Tarrazu, Dota -2007

    their cartoon dude

    super-coffee-cherry-crusader.

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  48. Costa Rica - Naranjo, Tarrazu, Dota -2007

    their credit union

    the coop is many things, as well as a bank for its members, asociados.

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  49. Costa Rica - Naranjo, Tarrazu, Dota -2007

    their old sample roaster

    a very old 3 barrel probat sample roaster in naranjo. it will run forever.

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  50. Costa Rica - Naranjo, Tarrazu, Dota -2007

    their starbucks soccer ball

    in the offices of cooppronaranjo, along with awards, a genuine starbucks soccer-futbol. actually, i would like to kick that thing around a bit.

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  51. Costa Rica - Naranjo, Tarrazu, Dota -2007

    tread

    how you create tread on a step with your stick welder.

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  52. Costa Rica - Naranjo, Tarrazu, Dota -2007

    ugh, lot 299

    and the excellent coffee they produce. actually lot 299 is always bad, it's just a bad number. i am a numerologist and a cupper. by the way sample no. 44 is always good.

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