Ep. 806: Costa Rica Sumava Los Pinos Villa Sarchi Honey

Apricot, milk chocolate, mango.

Francisco Mena of Exclusive Coffees has been a dear friend for many years and has played a big role in helping shape both our Costa Rican coffee offering and the coffee Costa Rica offers to the world.

Many years ago, Francisco started working in coffee on his bike zipping around the mountain roads of Costa Rica collecting green coffee samples from producers. Fast forward to today and after working almost every job in the green coffee world, he's one of the most important and influential figures in the Costa Rican coffee industry.

He co-founded Exclusive Coffees, a green coffee exporting company in Costa Rica, with whom we've been working for many years and help us source our fantastic range of Costa Rican coffees. Exclusive work hard to build relationships between local producers and international roasters such as ourselves as, without the help of Exclusive, it could be challenging for producers to get their coffee out there to the world and for roasters like us to find them too. As well as helping with market access, Exclusive also provide milling services, educations, advice, and quality control to the producers they work with. Francisco has helped the world to enjoy more Costa Rican specialty coffee via his work at Exclusive and we couldn't be more thankful for the wonderful relationships he's helped us build.

As a man filled with ambition and a drive to always achieve more, Francisco wanted to be a producer as well as an exporter and in 2015 reached that dream with Finca Sumava de Lourdes - his own farm in Lourdes de Naranjo, a region of Costa Rica synonymous with fantastic quality coffee. There's a road you can drive up to Sumava, National Tertiary Route 709, which is lined with Cup of Excellence winning farms - there's really something special about the area.

Sumava is a farm that somewhat has to be seen to be believed - it's a picture of coffee producing perfection with everything laid out neatly, beautifully looked after, and run incredibly efficiently by farm manager Mario Mena. It's 68 hectares in size and sits between elevations of 1,670 and 1,790 metres above sea level.

The overall farm is actually two farms which are separated by a road with Finca Monte Llano Bonito, which has nine plots of land, on one side and Finca Monte Lourdes, which has six plots of land, on the other. Each plot is planted with different coffee varieties as Francisco enjoys experimentation and the vast array of fantastic coffee that can be grown in Costa Rican soil. If you were to take a walk around Sumava you'd find Villa Sarchi, Pacamara, Mokka, H3, SL28, Geisha, Java and Sidra growing very happily indeed.

Coffee at Sumava is picked by teams of trained, experienced pickers and delivered to their own on-site cherry receiving station for processing. They also process coffee for some other farms in the surrounding area that don't have the facilities Sumava do.

Sumava specialises in producing honey and natural processed coffees and has a beautiful space for this processing on a softly sloping hill just after you first enter the farm. Coffees are dried either on raised beds, concrete patios in direct sunlight, or concrete patios in a greenhouse. They're also experimenting with aerobic, anaerobic and lactic fermentations too.

On a recent visit to Sumava we encountered a busload of excited looking people and asked what was happening. We discovered that the farm runs an educational program for the baristas and staff of a Costa Rican coffee company called Spoon whereby they're invited to the farm numerous times across the course of a few months to learn about and experience all steps of the coffee production journey. Wow, we wish that was the kind of educational experience we could have had as baristas!

This sweetly fruity cup has a soft start with creamy milk chocolate before layers of apricot come rolling in. There's a delicate edge of mango to it but as it ends it's that apricot which lingers and makes for a well-balanced and moreish coffee.

Farm Information

  • Country: Costa Rica
  • Region: Llano Bonito de Naranjo
  • Farm: Sumava de Lourdes
  • Plot: Los Pinos
  • Micro Mill: Sumava de Lourdes
  • Producer: Francisco Mena
  • Variety: Villa Sarchi
  • Process: Yellow Honey
  • Elevation: 1,700 m.a.s.l.
  • Farm size: 3 hectares

Further Information

Tasting notes: Apricot, milk chocolate, mango.

Cup of Excellence Cupping Scores

  • Clean Cup: (1-8): 6.5
  • Sweetness: (1-8): 6.5
  • Acidity: (1-8): 6.5
  • Mouthfeel: (1-8): 6
  • Flavour: (1-8): 6.5
  • Aftertaste: (1-8): 6.5
  • Balance: (1-8): 6.5
  • Overall: (1-8): 6
  • Correction: (+36): +36
  • Total (max 100): 86.5

Roast Information
Medium - through first and keep this coffee developing steadily, not too quickly, towards the end of the gap and finish before second gets going to let the Apricot flavour be the star.