Garcilaso Farm Chicatona, Red Honey – Cartago, Costa Rica

Quick Facts

Producer: Garcilaso Farm, Sustainable Management Systems, Costa Rica (ECOM)

Country: Costa Rica

Region: Tres Rios, Cartago

Elevation: 1,400 MASL

Variety: Chicatona / H17, (Catuai x Ethiopian “ET 59A2”)

Process: Honey

Harvest: November - February


Garcilaso is owned by Alice Soto. Through the years she has grown to love coffee production and had hopes to keep the farm legacy for generations to come. However, as with many coffee growing families around the world, the younger generations do not wish to work the land and also note productivity and climate change being extra challenging.

SMS heard of Alice’s challenges and approached her to manage her farm through their “Saving Coffee” project. Alice agreed to allow SMS to manage the farm allowing her to keep her dream of coffee production for future generations of her family alive.

Management of Garcilaso began as no easy task. After assessment, it was noted that at least 40 hectares needed complete renovation and production on the entire farm was at a historical low. The farm and producer required substantial financial investment to turn things around.

Around 2 years ago, SMS’s goal was to transform Garcilaso, a very traditional farm, into a top of the line productive unit. New environmental and social principles that protected rivers, trees and wildlife became ingrained into the day-to-day operations of the farm and around 134,000 highly productive H3 and H17 coffee plants were planted. Using these hybrids, of a cross of Caturra and Ethiopian “E531”, and Catuai and Ethiopian “ET 59A2” respectively, the farm could achieve a high quality coffee, large bean size, and high yields.

Flavor Notes

Citrus, Tropical, Honey

The cup profile of this coffee clearly expresses Chicatona’s (H17’s) lineage. Catuai typically thought of a citric, high-acid cup pairs perfectly with what we would expect of an Ethiopian: tropical fruit, floral and honey-like. It is no wonder this coffee’s cup quality is outstanding. Through proper cultivation of this new hybrid we get to experience a cup not only unique to this lot, but one that also expresses varietal process, and how proper management can turn a fleeting farm around.

Processing Information


This coffee was processed in the honey method. Perfectly ripe cherries were picked, hand sorted and floated prior to being pulped using minimal water. It should be noted that pulping coffee with limited water not only conserves water, but also preserves more fruit/sugars on the outside of the seeds during the drying process.

After the cherries are pulped, the seeds are carefully dried on patios and raised drying beds and carefully rotated in order to preserve the natural fruit sugars and ensure even drying.

Regional Information

Tres Rios, Cartago

Tres Rios lies just west of Costa Rica’s capital city in the Central Valley, San Jose and was one of the first coffee growing regions in Costa Rica. Tres Rios land is sought after for coffee production due to the regions high altitudes, volcanic soils and good climate all of which lend themselves to producing very dense Strictly Hard Bean coffees with complex flavors and good acidity.

Costa Rica now has eight different recognized coffee production regions, and Tres Rios is now one of the smallest. Due to the proximity to the capitol, and pleasant weather, coffee production here is being overrun by real estate development and urban expansion. In 1984 in the largest Tres Rios growing region there were 234 coffee farms registered, totaling around 1,254 hectares. Most recently in 2014 just 52 coffee farms, totaling around 533 hectares remain.

New in 2019

Honey Process and Quality

Gracilaso wants to market their H3 and H17 coffees as microlots directly to the specialty market. Last year’s honey processed coffees performed amazingly and the farm is looking to repeat and improve year after year.

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