October 2017 – Costa Rica Sangre de Toro
Coffee of the Month
This coffee’s aroma is beautiful and full of sweet red berries. In the cup, the berry flavours continue with honey, vanilla, and blood orange acidity, which defines this distinctly well-rounded and rich coffee.
Right now Costa Rica represents the triumph of quality and attention to detail with regards to the cultivation and processing of high quality specialty coffee.
This has come about largely due to a change in the business model for coffee production and export in this tiny Central American nation. The change, which began 12 years ago, is widely known as the “Micro Mill Revolution”.
With coffee prices at a low and producers struggling to make a living from a system which favored volume over quality, some small farmers took a risk in 2003 and decided to take control of their product in a way never before seen. These famers such as Juan Ramón Alvarado of Brumas del Zurqui and the Barrantes brothers of Herbazu, took the bold step of setting up their own small mills, or “micro mills”, and taking complete control of their coffee from cultivation right through to milling. With a staunch focus on quality they sought to bring a new level of distinction directly to an international clientele. Helzar de Zarcero’s Ricardo Perez Barrantes sums up the mood of these farmers well, when he says, “The coffee gave us identity as producers and also made us entrepreneurs.”
The name Sangre de Toro was delivered by Antonio Barantes who is head of the Herbazu group. He refers to the perfectly ripe cherry colour as Sangre de Toro and measures quality and his success by this commitment to this colour.