Café Don Sabino is a family business run today by Gilberth Vargas Acuña and his son Steven Vargas Bastos. The history goes back to 1940 however, when Steven’s great grandfather and after him his son Sabino were among the pioneers of coffee production in the area of Sabanilla de Alajuela.
It was in 2010 when Gilberth together with his family decided to completely focus on quality coffee and in the following years Café Don Sabino opened markets for their coffees in North America, Europe and Asia and Australia.
Tobi met both father and son at an event in Berlin back in 2019 and they have been in contact ever since. Steven used to say, “always remember – our house is your house” and what seems just like a common saying without meaning became true earlier in 2021. When Tobi arrived in Costa Rica the family insisted that he stays in their house for 2 nights.
Don Sabino is especially renowned for their natural coffees. Here the pickers recollect only ripe cherries, which Steven simply calls “uva” (grape) and this coffee is then being brought to the beneficio. Basically in the backyard of his house, Steven built up a number of so called African beds ( elevated drying racks covered with a mesh ), where the fresh and humid coffee cherries are being spread evenly in thin layers. Defective cherries can be removed by hand. Now to prevent the development of overfermented flavours or even the spread of mold, the coffee cherries are being turned around every hour during daytime. In the afternoon at around 2pm, when the pickers stop working, the african beds are covered with a special plastic foil to protect the coffee cherries from the cold and humidity during the night. Depending on the weather conditions the drying process can take 13-14 days under favourable sunny conditions and up to 1 month, if it is cloudy.
We selected a lot of Caturra and Catuaí From Finca El Apóstol, a farm of around 2.5 hectares located at an altitude of 1400 masl. On the cupping table this coffee showed a fruity and sweet cup with complex notes of tropical fruits, grapes and sweet citrus fruits. Still for being a natural this coffee is clean without the presence of overly whiney or fermented notes.
Producer: Steven&Gilberth Vargas, Don Sabino micromill
Region: Central Valley, Sabanilla de Alajuela
Altitude: 1300 - 1600m
Variety: Caturra & Catuaí
Taste notes: Blood orange, pineapple, grape