Dona Francisca and Don Oscar Chacon of Costa Rica Las Lajas Micromill are third generation coffee producers in their family. They inherited their farms from their grandparents and are known for being one of the first to process high-quality Honeys and Naturals in Central America and for participating in the Cup of Excellence auction in 2009.
Las Lajas is an organic micromill located in Sabanilla de Alajuela in the Central Valley region of Costa Rica. Organic coffee in Costa Rica is almost non-existent and with this caliber of cup makes it one of a kind; they believe in the preservation of the environment hence their organic practices. Las Lajas processes coffee from their family farms’; these lots are fully traceable and separated by day. Water use is minimal since coffee is not washed. During the harvest Francisca will measure the brix contents in the coffee cherry to determine the optimal time to pick their coffee. 21 – 22% brix content has been the maximum they’ve seen.
Las Lajas carries several distinct processes from this mill. The coffee we’re drinking today is processed via the Red Honey method. The mucilage from the coffee cherry is left to dry, with this batch a “red” process turned several times a day. The development of different profiles — yellow, red, black, pearla negra and alma negra — is unique to this farm. The difference being the frequency at which the drying cherries are turned each day.
Welcome to my Table, here in the corner of this cafe. Today we’re cupping the Costa Rica Las Lajas, from Square One Coffee Roasters in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, courtesy of Craft Coffee. Feel free to pull up a chair.
region: Sabanilla de Alajuela, Costa Rica
farm: Finca San Luis
producer: Oscar Chacon
elevation: 1300 – 1500 meters above sea level
cultivars: Caturra, Catuai
process: red honey
The aroma of this Costa Rica Las Lajas is exactly what I was hoping it would be, based on previous experiences with this coffee; it is intensely bright, sweet, and fruit-forward, accentuated by scents of red fruits, honey, chocolate, and a bouquet of floral aromatics.
The first few sips of the cup are immediately bright and vibrant, a little tart even, as the coffee comes lazily rolling over the tongue with a jelly-like mouthfeel, being characterized by strawberry preserves and Gala apple and supported by a backbone of caramel, milk chocolate, nougat, and marzipan. As it cools off, its red fruit flavors intensify, becoming much more pronounced, prominent, and juicy as they gush all over the palate, totally drowning my taste buds in flavors of sweet strawberry, Rainier cherry, and spiced apple cider. What’s really grabbing my attention, though, is the coffee’s finish; after all of that red fruit juice rolls off the tongue, my palate is left with a spicy lingering finish that is surprisingly (shockingly) reminiscent of an Oktoberfest beer: roasted malt, spices (cinnamon, clove, coriander), fruit, and caramel.
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