Coffee Profile - Cristian & Greivan Salazar, Villa Sarchi, Red Honey
The story of this coffee has 2 parts, the first being the story of how our importer Nico discovered it, the second is my visit to Costa Rica and to see Cristian in March this year.
We have been working with Nico from Planting Costa Rica for some years now (he was even a barista at Café Blá for a couple of years, whilst studying in Munich) and in this time, he has gotten to know our tastes and helps us to find exceptional coffees from Costa Rica. In 2022, whilst visiting Cristian and Greivan at their "Los Cipreses" micro-mill, Nico took a walk through their farms. Whilst walking around the farms he noticed a patch of trees, whose cherries still hadn't been harvested. The cherries were huge and "bulls-blood red" as is the term for perfectly ripe cherries. Nico asked if this lot had already been assigned to a customer and, luckily for us, it hadn't. He booked the entire lot and reserved it for us, knowing that I have a big love for clean, juicy, beautiful tasting coffees. For the 2021/2022 harvest there were only 90kg available, so we bought all of it! This year, they have managed to harvest and process roughly 250kg from these trees, all of which we have bought and look forward to its arrival in a few months (we're already half way through the past crop, so get it quickly!!!).
Los Cipreses is located in the West Valley of Costa Rica, just a short drive from the capital city, San Jose. As the name suggests, there are a large amount of cypress trees grown amongst the coffee plantations. This is primarily to protect the coffee trees from the wind. The valley is a wide, windy place and, without some protection, the coffee trees would have to spend too much of their energy growing downwards rather than upwards. The cypress trees, alongside banana, plantain, mango and avocado trees make the farm incredibly biodiverse and absolutely beautiful!
In March this year I was lucky enough to travel to Costa Rica for a tour of coffee farms with Nico. Los Cipreses was first on the list and was one of the main highlights on the whole of the trip. Cristian is a warm, kind host and an absolute master of his art! His brother, Greivan, is more on the farming side, looking after the trees, while Cristian is more on the side of processing the cherries. The coffees are almost exclusively dried on African raised beds and Cristian focusses mostly on Honey and Natural processed coffees, with a small but thorough setup for anaerobic processing.
Walking through one of their farms at dusk will forever stick in my mind as a magical experience, especially when we reached the small plot of Villa Sarchi trees that our coffee came from. Being that we were there at the beginning of March, the majority of the harvest was already finished. Luckily, the Villa Sarchi still hadn't been picked, meaning there were big, beautiful cherries on the trees. Picking one of the cherries to eat, the very first time I had ever tasted a fresh coffee cherry, it was immediately clear why the coffee is so clean and delicious! The cherries from these trees remained some of the most delicious cherries I tasted on the entire trip, with a beautifully crisp apple acidity, lightly floral high-notes and a rich, sugary sweetness.
Cristian is a warm and passionate human being, whose passion really shines through in the coffees he produces. After showing us around the farm and mill, explaining all of their processes and patiently answering all of my questions, he invited us to his house to brew a cup of coffee (a Millenium variety that got him 18th place in the Costa Rican Cup of Excellence competition) and meet his family. We look forward to continuing to work with Cristian and Greivan in the future and hope that you all love their coffees as much as we do!
Big thanks also to Nico and Fatima at Planting Costa Rica for taking us there, translating and being the best hosts!! Not to mention all of the hard work getting the coffees across to Europe!