Back in the 18th Century, Don Patricio Hernández Barquero began La Ramona. Since then, the farm has passed down four generations, now owned, and run by Julian Chavarría. Today, the family have worked to produce and export coffee grown in harmony with the surrounding wilderness, whilst working to improve quality over the years.
Soil from the farm is analysed every two years with guidance provided by ICAFE about the best methods to adjust fertilizer components, improving the pH and potential for quality coffee. No herbicides or pesticides are utilized within the farm to ensure the health of the coffee trees and quality is maintained.
Costa Rica’s history is inextricably linked to coffee production: in fact, on the eve of the country’s independence from Spain, in 1821, free coffee seeds were distributed by the local government as a means of promoting coffee production to bolster the economy. Since it was first shipped to England in 1843, coffee has been one of Costa Rica’s key exports (it was, in fact, the ONLY export until 1890) and is linked to Costa Rica’s identity in a way that no other agricultural product is. The country’s producers were also some of the first ‘responders’ in the global movement towards quality in the cup; nonetheless, as recently as the 1980s, specialty coffee was barely understood, and Costa Rica’s production was largely lumped together as undifferentiated SHB and HB.
Today, Costa Rica has answered the calls of export buyers for greater traceability and remains a leader in the boutique ‘micro mill’ and microlot movements, which allow specific lots to be traced back to a unique farm or plot.