Having spent the last 4 days in the Tarrazu region it was was time to start exploring other parts of the country. So I set out to meet with Carlos Batalla owner of Finca Terra Bella and head of the Specialty Coffee association of the Western Valley, an ambitious group of 26 produces in the region with the town of Naranjo at it´s center. We started out visiting he mill that stores and prepares the coffees for prestigious cup of excellence so Carlos could show me his coffee that had made it thought to the second round of the competition. While here I spotted some bags labelled Girasoles (sunflowers), I´d the very same bags the day before in the Los Angeles Micro Mill they were delivered here this morning at 5am.
Carlos had arranged a meeting with 14 of the members all of whom brought samples of their coffee to the meeting and had a chance to explain about the farm they work after which I explained to them what we do at Origin. After this we had coffee and I had a chance to speak to some of the members individually.
That evening we sat around and talked about William Le Lacheur an Englishman, from Guernsey, who pioneered the Costa Rican coffee trade route in 1843. This is before the construction of the Panama Canal and the Caribbean Railway meaning Le Lacheur navigated Cape Horn to return the coffee to the UK and Europe. Costa Rica gained it´s independence from Spanish rule in 1821 and at this time was the the poorest nation in Central America. La Lacheur set about to change this, as well as the coffee he transported young Costa Rican men back to England where there would be educated before returning to Costa Rica. This has been cited as a contributing factor for today´s economic success.
Not only did the young Costa Ricans bring back knowledge that empowered their nation, they introduced football to the country.
Finally La Lecheur was involved in the bloody battle against the american Filibusters lead buy William Walker. William Walker had entered Costa Rica after successfully conquering Nicaragua and stared to march on San Jose. He was unaware that La Lachuer had give his fleet of boats over to the Costa Rican army and they sailed up the coast and arrived at the battle of Santa Rosa from the North. Rested and refreshed they surprised the Filibusters who expected the Costa Ricans to march on them for the south. The battle was over in 14 minutes.
It rained over night at Terra Bella. This was good news as the coffee trees respond to rain by flowering. So regular rain pattern contribute to a large and ever harvest.
Me and Carlos when to meet some of the producers on their farms. I was surprised to pull into a Mirco Mill called Benficio Aguilla Bros who have a farm called De Licho which we bought in 2009 they are members of the association. We also met with the family at Vista de Valle the top coffee from last years´s cup of excellence.