Costa Rica Hacienda La Minita Estate
Coffee Review: 94 points
Blind Assessment: Elegantly fruit-toned. Strawberry-guava, pistachio, lime zest, freesia, cedar in aroma and cup. Sweetly tart structure with vibrant, juicy acidity; full, syrupy mouthfeel. The finish centers around notes of strawberry-guava and pistachio with cedar undertones.
Notes: Produced at Hacienda La Minita entirely of the Caturra variety of Arabica, and processed by the honey method, in which the skin is stripped off the coffee fruit but some of the fruit flesh is left to dry on the beans. RamsHead Coffee Roasters is a family-owned company founded by Bozeman, Montana natives Caleb and Laura Walker that specializes in direct trade microlot coffees. For more information, visit www.ramsheadcoffee.com.
The Bottom Line: A delicate, balanced honey-processed Costa Rica cup with notes of tropical fruit and complex, pistachio-like nut tones.
Hacienda La Minita has been a pivotal partner for RamsHead since 2017. In 2017 we began a search to buy more coffee through farm direct models. La Minita along with the Menendez Estate in El Salvador became two of our primary buying partners and we never looked back.
For the past 4 years we have purchased exclusively a Honey Natural. This year we are changing our focus as we consider the current prices of the coffee market. For 2022 we have decided to purchase direct from the estate to make sure that we can maintain control over the quality of the coffee while paying a fair price to the farm, and offering coffee at a fair price to the market. Historically the estate coffee has been higher priced than other coffees. However this year with the current status of the C-Market and trade, other coffees have sky rocketed in price while La Minita has done an amazing job at maintaining their farms and pricing. This ultimately means we are buying a higher quality coffee than in years past without the inflation of the market, meaning we can keep this coffee as a very good and reasonable price to you.
La Minita is located about one and a half hours drive south of San Jose, in the coffee producing area called “Los Santos.” The zone known as Los Santos includes a series of small villages and towns that begin in the north with San Juan Norte and end in the south with Santa Maria de Dota. The farm is located within the region from which fruit coffee is received by the Tarrazú coffee mills. The coffee from our farm is considered a Tarrazú coffee, but we believe the geography and microclimate of the farm produces a much more balanced and flavorful coffee than other Tarrazú coffees.
The plantation consists of a total of 1,200 acres of land of which 800 acres are currently in production. Of the remaining 400 acres, there are 200 acres of natural forest preserve located on the south side of the farm that will never be brought into coffee production.
There are approximately 680 acres of coffee in production. We have four varieties of trees under cultivation; Caturra, Catuai red, Catuai yellow, and Hibrido Tico. After many years of experimentation, statistical analysis and cup quality testing, we have decided to stay principally with the Caturra and to continue to maintain a small amount of the old Hibrido.
We plant approximately 2,500 trees per acre on the farm depending upon the geography of the area being planted and the variety of tree used. This results in a total of about 1,700,000 trees on the farm.
We employ a selective pruning system to maintain the health and productivity of the coffee trees. Highly skilled employees monitor the coffee trees and as necessary, approximately every five years, the tree are pruned. This will encourage the tree to begin new growth. One year after this cutting, the tree is shaped maximize its continued growth. All of this work is performed using hand tools. Each year approximately 350,000 trees are pruned.
After fifteen to twenty years, the trees become exhausted and are replaced with trees from our nursery. This nursery is located on a small, protected area of the farm. The nursery trees are nurtured on this farm for one year prior to being transplanted to the main farm. In a typical year, we transplant about 150,000 trees.
We use the fast growing, broad-leafed “poro” as our shade tree. These trees are planted on a grid of varying density depending on the light requirements and need for temperature control in each individual section of the farm.
We have attempted to produce the perfectly balanced coffee. One that combines all of the ingredients that a classic cup should contain: sweet aroma, full body, brilliant acidity, and delicately clean aftertaste. All in balance and with no impurities to detract from its enjoyment. In a word: elegant.