Producer: Río Grande de Orosí Farm, Pitalillo Wet Mill, Sustainable Management Services (SMS/ECOM)
Country: Costa Rica
Region: Palomo, Orosí, Cartago
Elevation: 1,150 MASL
Variety: Starmaya, (Marsallesa x Ethiopian/Sudanese natural mutant)
Process: Fully Washed
Harvest: October - February
Río Grande de Orosí farm is a perfect example of the farm management program of our sister company, Sustainable Management Services. In 2013, the owner of Río Grande de Orosí farm could not take care of the farm due to economic issues and his sons did not want to continue with the management. At this point, ECOM’s Sustainable Management Services Farm management division (SMS) was hired to manage, market, and maintain the farm. Since then, SMS has taken special care of the farm and it is now a role model for the SMS Farm Management project.
Río Grande came to show the long standing producers of the region that good quality could be obtained with adequate management and using new varieties. The profile of the farm is outstanding compared to the local standard. The farm has made huge investment in experimental varieties with high productivity and quality, such as Starmaya. Starmaya is a hybrid that comes from the crossing of Marsellesa and a natural wild mutant of Ethiopian and Sudanese varieties. Most notably, this hybrid resists leaf rust, is high yielding, and produces generally higher acidity in the cup. Starmaya is also the first F1 (first generation) coffee hybrid to be propagated by seed. At Río Grande de Orosí farm, SMS uses shade canopy and top of the line fertilization methods to yield the best results from this already great varietal.
This specific lot of coffee was planted in 2015 on 5 hectares of land and only has 15 bags available in the world. This lot and about 30% of the farm's entire production for 2018-19 harvest was sold at the Costa Rican microlot level. This is an amazing feat for any farm, let alone one from an area not historically known as a prime growing area.
Orange Candy, Floral, Cream
Clean, perfectly grown and processed washed coffees are becoming few and far between. As honey processed and natural processed coffees become more popular in the market, we have also seen how these post-harvest processing methods can manipulate flavor profile (for better or worse). Being a fully washed coffee, this lot has nothing to hide behind and has no reason to.
This coffee displays the true potential of the Starmaya varietal. Near perfectly executed farm management, and a watchful eye on cherry progression from flower to harvest are what this coffee is all about. Sustainable Management Services (SMS) in Costa Rica have done an exceptional job with this coffee.
Through the proper cultivation of this lot, we experience the intensely citric and floral notes with a backbone of deep candy-like sweetness in the cup that keeps coffee professionals talking about the potential of Starmaya.
This coffee, as with all SMS produced micro-lots was processed at ECOM's Pitalillo wet mill in Tres Rios. Now surrounded by shopping malls and business complexes, Tres Rios used to be one of the largest coffee growing regions in Costa Rica. Through recent decades, and urban expansion, Pitalillo mill is one of the last remaining relics of this area's illustrious coffee production history. Conveniently located just behind Cafinter's office (ECOM Costa Rica) Pitalillo wet mill is now being re-purposed for SMS's microlot production to bring fame back to the once-thriving mill.
This lot of coffee was processed in the washed method. At Pitalillo mill this means the coffee was mechanically pulped and demucilaged in order to conserve water. After the majority of pulp is removed this way, the coffee is traditionally washed with a small amount of water to ensure the coffee is 100% clean. After the washing process the coffee is sun dried on patios or raised beds and turned constantly to ensure even drying.
Palomo, Orosí, Cartago
Located next to the Río Grande river and named appropriately, the Río Grande de Orosí farm has a unique micro climate provided by the closeness to the river and the artificial Lake Cachí. Lake Cachí is named after a power plant that was constructed during 50's and became operational in the late 60's and produces about 102 MW of power for the community. The power plant and lake project were formed to not only supply electricity, but also to control flooding problems in the low lands due to the high amount of rain that falls in the region each year.
New in 2019
Hybrids and Plant Management
SMS is continuously exploring the future of coffee hybrids. This year we saw a huge breakthrough in the nutrition requirements for these coffees and hope to continue with this progress.
It is SMS's goal to be able to develop specific nutrition and care recommendations for each hybrid varietal available in any particular growing region. After unlocking the true ability and potential of a plant, the future will be to create best-fit post harvest processing methods.
All of this is for one ultimate goal: to decrease susceptibility to disease and pests, while increasing crop yields and quality.