Our initial introduction to Carlos Montero was on a trip to Costa Rica in 2017. Being welcomed by Carlos and his family to Don Eli, their beneficio located in the town of San Marcos, Tarrazú, it was fascinating to see the lengths they go to create a range of diverse, high-quality cup profiles. Managing every step of the process from planting, crop husbandry, lot separation, harvesting, processing techniques and experimentation through to drying protocols, they never settle when it comes to pursuing quality. Those two 2017 purchases from the Monteros were experimental lots, processed in an atypical fashion that delivered fantastic results - "Miel Y Lavado" and "Fruta Fermentación".
Returning the following year, this time with the honour of staying at the La Pastora farm as guests of the Monteros, we witnessed the same drive to improve coffee quality and tasted more delicious lots being produced by the family at the cupping lab installed just outside their family home. Unfortunately we weren't able to secure the lots we desired so skipped a year with them in our range but are pleased to welcome them back in 2019, this time working with Selva, the new exporting company of Carlos' eldest daughter, Marianela.
Our chosen lot, a more typically processed yellow honey, grows on the Anfiteatro microlot of La Pastora. Boasting high elevations of 1,900 to 2,000m, the amphitheatre-like plot maximises sunlight hours, boosting the productivity of the Red and Yellow Catuaí trees. The high altitude also offers a cooler climate overnight, helped by winds blowing through the plantation, so the cherries on Anfiteatro mature very slowly, creating concentrated and complex flavours. Initially, La Pastora was intended to be an apple orchard, as the cold, high elevation was historically unsuitable for coffee. In recent years, however, climate warming means that growing coffee up to 2,000m is now possible.
Once ripe cherries are harvested, they are taken on the back of Carlos' truck to the mill to rest overnight. The next morning Carlos' son, Jacob, processes the coffee. After eco-pulping the coffee, usually with recycled water, Jacob adjusts the processing equipment to remove a desired amount of mucilage. In the case of this lot, around 70% of the mucilage has been mechanically removed, and the resulting parchment coffee was put straight onto raised beds under a parabolic shade and continually turned whilst slowly dried. Covering the beds overnight helps avoid increased humidity, with drying taking around 15 days to achieve the desired moisture level.
Actively pruning, the Monteros manage their trees with minimal pesticides and fertiliser, whilst also experimenting with organic production on a newly purchased forest-shaded plot of coffee. We look forward to the results from future harvests but are pleased to welcome back coffee from La Pastora into our range this year. We hope you enjoy this honey-processed lot from the Montero family!
San Marcos, Tarrazú, Costa Rica
A well-structured, clean & round cup, offering flavours of sweet almond, apricot & greengage. Vanilla & caramel notes linger in the finish.