Lemon, Lime, Toffee and Milk Chocolate.
Country: Costa Rica
Producer: Diego Abarca
Diego Abarca, owner and operator of the Alto San Juan micromill, is a sadly rare person in that area of the coffee industry: young. He's been involved in coffee for all of his 22 years, foregoing enrolling at college after school to work with his family at their coffee farm. Four years ago, his father gave him one of the family farms to run himself, from the agriculture to the sales of the coffee.
The first year our green buyers bought coffee from Diego, it was a small lot of 10 bags. Since then, both the volume and quality of his crop has happily increased to around 100 bags of speciality-grade coffee.
Diego focuses primarily on washed coffees both because he prefers the profile in the resultant cup and due to streamlining his coffee processing. As a medium-sized producer, consistent quality control becomes more difficult as different processes are undertaken simultaneously with each requiring a different approach. Washed coffees are also a safer option, with a greater control over the process of turning cherry into parchment and a reduced fermentation time not risking the coffee overdeveloping and rotting during drying.