Finca San Calletano
Diego Abarca is a fourth generation coffee producer in the Tarrazu region of Costa Rica. He is young, ambitious, and already very successful in creating his own path in coffee focusing on experimentation and innovation at his farm San Calletano.
He also owns and operates the San Juan Micromill. This is the facility where he is able to execute his and his family’s processing methods at a very high level. This Red Honey processed Catuai variety is heavy on processing with fermentation present in the flavor profile. It creates a sweetness and a heaviness that intensifies the body and fruit flavors.
What is the honey process? Despite the name, there is no actual honey involved in the process, as delicious as that sounds. Honey is referring to the sugary fruit mucilage between the coffee cherry’s skin, and the seed’s protective endocarp, or parchment hull. In the honey process, the fruit’s exocarp, or skin is mechanically milled off the fruit, leaving the sticky, sugary mucilage still intact. At this time, the coffee is set out to dry with mucilage still intact. With proper conditions (cool, dry air and nearly contestant turning) the sugary mucilage will begin the process of aerobic fermentation (wild fermentation with oxygen present). This fermentation as the seed dries develops and imparts delicate fruit characteristics on the coffee so that it resembles a flavor middle-ground between natural and washed process coffees.
Typically, honey process coffees are softer and sweeter than washed process coffees, often with a silky mouth-feel, while more balanced and delicate than natural process coffees. However, because there are so many potential variations in the honey process, it can be tough to pin any stereotypes on how coffees processed with this method will taste. You may have heard terms like “yellow honey”, “red honey”, or “black honey”—though the perceived intensity implications of these names are generally applicable, those terms are actually referring to what the seeds look like once they’ve fully dried. Generally, the more mucilage is left on the seed, and the higher the sugar content, the darker the appearance of the parchment. This does not, however, always indicate particular differences in flavor.
Enjoy this short interview Cafe Imports did with Diego about his history and passion for coffee:
How did you come into growing coffee?
My family is dedicated to the cultivation of coffee, currently I am the fourth generation in coffee production family. All my life I have been linked to coffee production and cultivation since I was a child, I remember working during my school vacations collecting coffee.
After primary school ends. I started work with my father at the farms and by the age of 17 I was doing research on the production of specialty coffee.
What is a day in your life like?
I live in the mountains of Tarrazu, my farm is located in the last mountain range in the Tarrazu region, a little far from the city. I usually get up at 5 am and start driving in my truck at 5.30 am at this time is sunrise in the mountains. I am in charge of 2 people who help me work on the farm from 6 am to 12pm.
Normally we fertilize, fumigate and work so that the plants have the best possible health and thus obtain a good quality coffee.
What opportunities are you looking for from people that buy your coffee?
I want customers who buy my coffee to have a high quality and traceable coffee, generating trust and consistency year after year.
Where does your passion come from?
When I wake up every morning I think about the customers who are currently drinking the coffee I produce and that is my motivation to continue working and improving my quality.
What makes your coffee different from others?
I believe that what makes my coffee different from others is the passion with which I produce this has moved me from the beginning to be in constant innovation in processes and varieties, since at the beginning I only produced washed coffee and now I am producing different types of honeys.
Thank you for buying my coffee. I from Costa Rica wish you to enjoy drink it as much as I enjoy producing it. For me it is a dream come true to have the opportunity to talk directly to the final consumer thanks for being part of my life.