Marigold Murray - Costa Rica La Margarita Zalamari OCTOBER 2013
This is the the first year of us stocking this coffee, and I think its one of the most interesting varietals we have ever stocked.
This coffee comes from La Margarita estate in Costa Rica, in the Cachi Microregion of the Orosi Valley, which is close to Cartago, and it's owned by Marigold Murray.
In 2000 the Murray family built a micromill called Zalmari inside the farm, where they are able to process all of their own coffee. Since then they have really seen a leap in quality. Two challenges that face the farm is its relatively low altitude when compared to other farms in Costa Rica, and the ongoing problem people have had in central south America with something called Roya.
Roya is very big news in coffee at the moment.
Roya is also known as coffee leaf rust, and is a fungus that has ravaged much of central America this year, thought to be due primarily to drier than normal conditions that some say is associated to the onset of global warming, and at best is due to changing climates in coffee producing areas.
Roya causes the leaves on coffee trees to wither, rot, and eventually takes cherries, and entire branches with it and severely reduce the outturn of the affected coffee plant. Early indications are that this year the crop of most central American countries will be reduced by as much as 40%, so you can understand why this is a hot topic.
But this is not a new problem. In the past, the governments and specialty coffee associations of producing countries have encouraged farmers to plant Catimor, a disease resistant hybrid of Arabica and Robusta. Unfortunately, it turns out that the cup characteristic of Catimor is not for everywhere and everyone, and although we have seen some success with it, it's fair to say we have seen much more disappointment.
Step forward F1, which has showed some amazing promise. It produces about 30% more than Caturra and Catuai, and early indications are that the cup profile is more consistent that some of the Catimors.
The first F1 hybrids research started in the early 90s and resulted from artificial cross-pollination in the lab environment. This came from the work of Dr. Benoit Bertrand working for Cirad in Costa Rica. This is how many new varietals start their life. These pioneer varietals were developed from three types of coffee: Sudan, as the base seems to be the most common; and then using Typica, Mundo Novo, Catuai, Maragogype, Bourbon, Villa Sarchi; and then adding the resistant part of the plant in the Catimor / Sarchimor.
You can buy Marigolds coffee here