Producer: Juan Rafael Montero Gamboa Location: Monteroga, Tarrazú Landed: August 2023 Altitude: 1,800 masl Varietal: Red Catuai Process: Washed Flavour profile: Papaya, lychee & Dulche de Leche Category: Fruity & Juicy
Tío Juan Micromill is a family project which was started in 2015 by coffee producer Juan Rafael Montero Gamboa with the intention of improving the quality of the coffee from his family farm, Monteroga. Juan Rafael has been taking care of his land since the 1960s and works to cultivate coffee in a harmonious way with nature.
Juan Rafael believes that every living organism, no matter how large or small, is part of a habitat and ecosystem. This means that his land, where he lives alongside hundreds of organisms, must remain perfectly tuned to thrive. His belief in this harmony guides the way that he works with his soil and crops, knowing that coffee quality depends on the way which producers work in their ecosystems.
Juan Rafael’s production practices are designed to be sustainable and to consider his environment. He analyses the soil regularly, producing his own organic fertilisers called “bioles”. These foliar-type fertilisers are created through anaerobic digestion of plants, and are nutrient-rich enough to fulfil most of the nutritional requirements of his coffee. All of the weed removal on the farm is done by hand, and Juan Rafael also chooses not to use any herbicides on his plants.
This lot of Red Catuai coffee was grown on the “Truchas” lot at Monteroga, and underwent washed processing at Tío Juan Micromill. Fully ripe cherries were selectively harvested before being brought to the mill where they were pulped. The pulped coffee was then fermented with its mucilage for 48 hours prior to being washed. The washed coffee is then dried on raised beds until reaching its optimal humidity.
The Tarrazú region lies in the high mountains of the southern Pacific region south of Costa Rica’s capital city of San Jose and is one of the most densely planted high altitude regions in Central America, with many farms at or above 2000 meters above sea level. It is locally known as “Zona de Los Santos” for the number of towns with “San” or “Santa” in their names.
Tarrazú’s climate is characterized by two well-defined seasons; a rainy season lasting seven months (May through November) and a dry season (December through April). This encourages uniform coffee blossoming. On average, precipitation is between 2,400 millimeters (94.5 inches) per year, with an average annual temperature of 19°C (66.2°F).
The fertile, volcanic soils and rolling mountainsides of Tarrazu are well-suited for agriculture, and smallholders grow bananas, avocado, and citrus as well as coffee on properties passed between generations. The spirit of community and family is strong in Tarrazu, with producers caring for their land with pride. Many farms in Tarrazú include primary forest and some degree of shade trees interspersed with coffee and producers take care to protect the natural water sources that spring up from the mountainsides.