An old favourite returns, a big favourite returns, and after the great success of this coffee in previous years I'm super happy and excited to welcome a naturally processed lot of Villa Sarchi from Finca Licho back for 2019!
Licho's is a coffee that I feel shows our development as a roaster over the years. We first bought this coffee in the Cup of Excellence program (a great way to meet a grower). Back then we bought it from an import broker; they helped us bring in this coffee because we are a small coffee buyer. Now we buy directly from the farm!
Four years ago, I went out to the farm and did the deal then and there with the brothers. I love the fact that I simply 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 how much they wanted, and 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 this year 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, which is native to the area and excellent in the cup. Villa Sarchi is a Bourbon mutation (similar to Caturra and Pacas) originally found in Naranjo. It's a dwarf variety with short internodes and (usually) higher-yielding production.
The Aguileras are twelve brothers and sisters, all of whom are involved in coffee as inherited from their parents. The brothers work the mill and farms themselves with basically no hired labour except for pickers during the harvest. With the help of the third generation, they work the mill and drying patios, prune the coffee fields, fertilise, and so on; and they do it all year round. The Aguilera brothers understand quality at the farm and mill level, and this is why we are excited about working with them.
For those amongst you who are beer drinkers, you might very well have enjoyed this coffee in a very delicious coffee beer! It was used by our very good friends Buxton Brewery in their Ratebeer award-winning Costa Rican Coffee Extra Porter – the 10th best Porter in the world! If you look at the pictures on the left you'll see one of us sharing a can of it with the brothers when we visited. Unfortunately we only had one can for them all to share, but we'll get more to them, don't you worry. 🇨🇷☕️🍻
In the cup I get a big hit of cherry liqueur up front, with an interesting note of lychee. It's sweet, sticky and a little boozy, and thenyou get sultanas coming through on the aftertaste.