Farm: Finca San Luis
Varietal: Caturra & Catuaí
Processing: Yellow Honey, dried in African beds
Altitude: 1,600 metres above sea level
Owner: Jorge Gutiérrez
Town / City: San Luis
Finca San Luis (Tarrazú) Yellow Honey - Costa Rica
Jorge Gutiérrez’s family has been involved in coffee production in Costa Rica since the 1950s. When Jorge inherited Finca San Pedro (close to Finca San Luis) from his maternal grandmother, he knew he had some big shoes to fill. In 2009, noting the successes other Costa Rican farmers were having with the speciality coffee market, it became apparent to Jorge that in order to make the most of his small farm, he had to differentiate his product, giving it special attention from the moment of planting through to the harvest. A year later, in 2010, he purchased Finca San Luis to expand the legacy. Jorge – along with his wife and three daughters – began selecting the very best beans to replant in their nursery every year and taking great care with ever step along the way. Their efforts paid off! The family’s coffee has placed very highly in the prestigious Cup of Excellence competition in both 2011 and 2012. Since then, there has been no looking back!
The farm itself is named more or less after its location. Despite the literalness, the family’s approach to coffee is romantic. They have expressed that they are “very aware of the privilege that is to be dedicating our enthusiasm and effort to the coffee legacy, which has been a patrimony for our country and has allow us to grow through the heritage of families like ours all along Costa Rica’s history.” For them, coffee is truly a passion; it is one, however, that they know requires a great deal of time and effort in order to maintain and improve.
The harvest normally begins towards the end of November and the mil reaches full production in January, right at the peak of the harvest. March and April are usually reserved for pruning back the trees in order to maximise production in the coming year. May, August and September are when plague and disease hit the hardest, and these months are when the family must watch carefully for any sign of rust or other attack to the vulnerable plants. Finally, May, June and August are reserved for applying fertilisers (always according to very specific preparations) to ensure growth and cherry development for the new harvest. Most of this work is done lovingly and with stringent attention by the immediate family.
All coffee is milled in San Marcos de Tarrazú, where it is delivered on the same day as it is harvested. This yellow honey lot was first floated to remove all damaged and underweight coffee. It was then pulped and, afterwards, delivered with most of its mucilage attached to African beds to slowly dry in the sun.
Jorge and his family are always thinking of ways to improve the farm. In the short term, they plan to install greenhouses for drying the coffee and to plant new varieties. Furthermore, social welfare of workers is very important to the family and they have plans to improve the workers’ seasonal housing and to build new paths through the farm to make it easier to move about.