Costa Rica Finca Licho Natural Pacamara

Blackberry, cherry, orange, boiled sweets.

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Licho is a relationship that I feel shows our development as a roaster over the years. First we bought coffee from the farm in the Cup of Excellence program (a great way to meet a grower), then we bought it from an import broker; they helped us bring in this coffee because we are a small coffee buyer. Then we bought directly from them.

Then, three years ago, I went out to the farm and did the deal on the farm with the brothers. I love the fact that I walked onto the farm after cupping a particular lot in the exporter's office, asked how much they wanted, and there was a short conference. They came back and told me, then we shook hands. Then we got back into the 4x4 and drove away. That year we agreed a European-exclusive deal with them for this coffee, and to this day we continue the close work we have been doing with them.

Grown by the Aguilera brothers in the province of Naranjo, in the volcanic Northern Cordiles corridor of the Western Valley, this coffee is cultivated at an altitude of 1,500 metres above sea level. Most of their coffee is of the Villa Sarchi variety, but in recent years we've started to see others from the farm, this is the 2nd year of us being able to get our hands on a Pacamara.

This coffee is naturally processed, which much like the honey processes we see used on other coffees from Costa Rica, really do help the local area through water conservation. In parts of Costa Rica water is limited: in this area of Naranjo water is a precious commodity, so this method suits the location very well.

The Aguileras are a family of twelve brothers and sisters who are second-generation coffee producers in the West Valley. (Hermanos is used to describe mixed male and female siblings in Spanish, but literally translates to "brothers" in English.) Their father was one of the first coffee growers in the area, and planted his farm 70 years ago. Neighbouring farmers warned him that coffee wouldn't grow there, but now the area is rich with coffee lands. His children, the Aguilera Brothers, work together to produce coffee. Most of the siblings own farmland, and they co-manage the micro mill they installed eight years ago, which they built with the earnings from their fourth place Cup of Excellence win in 2007 (the competition year I first found Licho!)

The farm has recently started up a nursery in which they are growing many different varietals, including Geisha and SL28, as well as Bourbon and Villa Sarchi. They're aiming to grow 'a balance of good quality and rust-resistant varieties'.

In the cup this is a bag of mixed fruit hard boiled sweets! It's got sugary sweetness but the fruit flavours or blackberry, cherry and orange jump around, giving you something different each sip.

  • Country: Costa Rica
  • Region: Western Valley
  • Province: Alajuela
  • Nearest city: Naranjo de Alajuela
  • Farm: Finca Licho
  • Producers: Aguilera family
  • Farm size: 28 hectares
  • Coffee growing area: 9.10 hectares
  • Altitude: 1,500 m.a.s.l.
  • Varietal: Pacamara
  • Processing system: Natural


Blackberry, cherry, orange, boiled sweets.

Clean cup: (1–8): 6
Sweetness: (18): 8
Acidity: (18): 6.5
Mouthfeel: (1–8): 6.5
Flavour: (18): 7
Aftertaste: (18): 6.5
Balance: (18): 6.5
Overall: (18): 7
Correction:(+36): +36

Total: (max. 100): 90

Roasting Information
Medium - let it run through first and drop once you're well into the gap before second.

"Quick Look" Guide
Blackberry, cherry, orange, boiled sweets.

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blackberry, boiled sweets, cherry, orange,