During his recent origin trip to Costa Rica, Tobi was visiting the Aguilera Bros. Micromill in the West Valley. Although the name Aguilera is renowned for exceptional coffee, he didn’t know a lot about the producers at that moment. Two brothers welcomed the visitor and he thought: “So those are the famous Aguilera Brothers!” When shortly after two more brothers showed up Tobi asked: “Sorry, but how many are you?” The answer is – 12.
Ok, the Aguileras are a total of 12 brothers and sisters who have been involved in the coffee industry their whole life. 80 years ago when their father Edgar Aguilera planted his first coffee farm. At the time there were hardly any coffee farms in this area and neighboring farmers warned Edgar that coffee wouldn’t grow in the location. The Aguileras proved them wrong – in 2006 they founded their own micromill and won their first Cup Of Excellence (COE) award the following year.
COE is a competition that is being held in several coffee producing countries each year. Each producer can submit up to 3 samples of his recent crop. The green beans are then evaluated by their appearance, number of defects, humidity and density. If they meet the requirements coffees are being roasted and cupped (sensory evaluation) by a panel of national professional coffee tasters. Coffees reaching a score of 86+ (on a 0-100 point scale) are then again being evaluated by a panel of international coffee tasters. The best 30 coffees scoring 87 points and more are then auctioned online.
Cup Of Excellence winners can fetch very high prices and for the Aguileras. This meant that they could reinvest extra income into their family business. Today they are producing 15 different coffee varietals on around 65 hectares of land and are processing all of their coffee at their own beneficio. This gives them complete control over the critical mechanisms of processing and drying.
For kava we selected a yellow honey processed Villa Sarchí from Finca Edgar. This farm is named after their father, the person who started this very successful family business. So it’s no wonder that from all the farms they own - this one is the largest with the highest elevation, overlooking Los Robles de Naranjo. Villa Sarchí, a mutation of Bourbon, is a varietal which was discovered in Costa Rica in the 1950s or 1960s and is still widely being cultivated especially in the Central and West Valley. In high altitudes it produces a delicate cup with good sweetness, clean acidity and subtle floral notes. For the yellow honey process the coffee cherries are being depulped and then dried with only a thin layer of mucilage. After 5-7 days in the sun this layer gets sticky like honey and turns yellow to orange in colour; hence the name. Afterwards the coffee finishes drying for 1-2 days in a mechanical dryer ( called “guardiola” in Costa Rica ).
ORIGIN: Costa Rica, West Valley, Lor robles de Naranjo
PRODUCER: Aguilera brothers micromill
VARIETY: Villa Sarchi
PROCESS: Yellow Honey
CUP: Almonds, stewed apple, chocolate