Episode 667

Costa Rica Finca Licho Natural Villa Sarchi

Here at Hasbean we love to celebrate the awesome things that happen when strong relationships are built between roasters and producers, and Finca Licho is a shining example of that ethos. We first bought from this farm way back in 2007 when it was awarded 4th place in the Cup of Excellence. Fast forward fourteen years (gosh, feeling old now), and Licho has become a firm favourite – both with customers and our little Hasbean team. The arrival of coffees from Finca Licho is greatly anticipated every year.

We really feel that this coffee showcases our development as a roaster over the years, as we've moved from buying via an importer to buying directly from the farm ourselves. A few years ago we visited the farm and made a deal with the family for a European exclusive on these coffees, and this year we continue that. You'll not see these coffees anywhere else in Europe. They're so tasty, we wanted them all for ourselves! We love the fact that we simply walked onto the farm after cupping a particular lot in the exporter's office, had a chat about how much money they wanted, and then we all shook hands. We got back into the 4x4 and drove away very happy!

The farm is owned and run by Los Hermanos Aguilera. It's often translated as 'The Aguilera Brothers', but everyone is involved, not just the boys! The family of twelve brothers and sisters inherited the business from their parents, who started their coffee-growing career over 50 years ago. With the help of the third generation, the family work the farm with basically no hired labour except for during the harvest. They manage the mill and drying patios, fertilise, prune the coffee trees, and so on. They do it all themselves, and all year round. The Aguileras have a reputation for their deep understanding of quality at the farm and mill level, and this is why we are excited about working with them.

Situated 1,500 metres above sea level in the region of Naranjo, the farm is located in the volcanic Northern Cordiles corridor of the Western Valley, which is an area famous for its excellent coffee production. The majority of the coffee grown at Finca Licho is Villa Sarchi variety, but there's a smidge of Caturra too (they're about 65% and 25% of production respectively). The remainder of coffee production is made up of a mixture of more unusual varieties, some of which we've been able to snag this year now that they're established enough to provide a crop.

This is all about the plums! There's fresh, ripe plums mixed in with bruised plums before it finishes with a jammy sweetness of, you guessed it, plum jam. There's a gentle boozy edge to it all, but it's very delicate.

  • Country: Costa Rica
  • Region: Western Valley
  • Province: Alajuela
  • Nearest city: Naranjo de Alajuela
  • Farm: Finca Licho
  • Producers: Aguilera family
  • Farm size: 28.00 hectares
  • Coffee growing area: 9.10 hectares
  • Altitude: 1,500 m.a.s.l.
  • Varietal: Villa Sarchí
  • Processing system: Natural


Fresh plum, bruised plums, plum jam, boozy

Clean cup: (1–8): 6.5
Sweetness: (1–8): 7
Acidity: (1–8): 6
Mouthfeel: (1–8): 6.5
Flavour: (1–8): 7
Aftertaste: (1–8): 6
Balance: (1–8): 6
Overall: (1–8): 7
Correction:(+36): +36

Total (max. 100): 88

Roast Information:
Medium – through first crack and let this run steadily through the gap towards second, but finish the roast before you hit the end of the gap. The great processing lead flavours will really shine here - don't over-develop the coffee or you'll lose this fruity character.

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