Costa Rica Ramiro Mora
Costa Rica Ramiro Mora
Farm: El Aguacate
Region: San isidro Leon Cortez, Tarrazu
Process: White Honey Process
Tasting notes: Apple Mint | Bergamot | Clementine
We purchased this coffee through Nordic Approach’s sister company, Tropiq. They operate in such a manner that they pay the farmers, then charge a fee for export logistics and then claim a margin for themselves. After that, we’re responsible for paying our shipping partners to bring this coffee in to Canada.
In the case of Ramiro’s coffee, this breakdown was like this:
Producer price: $3.25USD/lb
Export Logistics: $0.25USD/lb
Tropiq Margin: $0.50USD/lb
Freight on Board (FOB) Price: $4USD/lb
Ocean freight: $0.35USD/lb
De Mello’s total landed price: $4.35USD/lb
What We Hope You Remember
We know it can be hard to read all of the information about every coffee — we don’t think you need to. However, we provide it all here for those who are interested. For those who don’t have the time, here’s what we hope you learn about this coffee.
This is our first year working with Ramiro Mora’s coffee, and it comes to us through our partnership with Tropiq whose Costa Rica lab is operated by Marianela Montero, the daughter of Carlos Montero.
Ramiro owns and operates the Socafe Micro-Mill with his two sons, Teo and Bryan. This means that they don’t simply grow and harvest cherries, but also process their coffee down to parchment. This gives them greater control over quality and also opportunities for higher prices.
Ramiro’s coffee is not organic but is shadegrown and no chemical herbicides are use in the coffee farm.
Ramiro uses an ecopulper on his farm, a device which by mechanically removing the cherry from the seed, thereby greatly reduces the amount of water needed to process the coffee.
Ramiro’s washed coffee is handwashed, not soaked in a fermentation tank, meaning that it is closer to a White Honey process than a washed coffee!
Socafe Micro-Mill and El Aguacate Farm
Micro Mill: Socafe
Farm name: El Aguacate
Altitude: 1700-1800 masl
Subregion: San Isidro Leon Cortez
Farm Size (ha): 3 hectareas
Process: White Honey
Drying: 15-22 days, raised beds in greenhouse
Ramiro Mora runs and operates his Micro-Mill Socafe with the assistance of his two sons, Teo and Bryan. They plant, harvest, and process all three hectares themselves, processing the coffee down to parchment which they then bring for sale to the Tropiq bodega in Costa Rica.
A large portion of their energies as a team goes soil and tree management. Sadly, many of these small producers struggle mightily with coffee leaf rust meaning that it’s impossible for them to grow organically. To handle this issue, they do three fumigations during the growth and maturation cycle of the cherries, thereby keeping the disease at bay.
Throughout the year, they perform soil analysis and based on these results, perform three annual fertilizer applications adjusting the specific products and amounts to match the needs of the soil and the different varieties. They also don’t use any chemical herbicides within the coffee farm, choosing instead to remove them by hand or with machete. Simultaneously, they manage the trees through annual pruning and replanting after the harvest.
Ramiro’s Honey Process
Ramiro uses an eco pulper, which is fairly common in Costa Rica, to de-pulped his coffee. These eco-pulpers significantly lower the amount of water needed to remove the cherries from the bean than a traditional pulper. Costa Rica is known for its environmental sustainability initiatives as a nation in general, and this tends to carry all the way down to coffee producers as well.
WHAT IS HONEY PROCESS?
You might have heard of this name before, and no, it doesn’t have anything to do with honey. What it means instead is that the cherry has been removed from the bean mechanically — likely using one of these eco-pulpers — with the blades or teeth adjusted to leave the amount of mucilage they’d like to remain on the bean and then these beans can be moved to the drying beds without going through supplemental fermentation and washing. In washed coffees, the fermentation and washing ensures that all remaining bits of mucilage are removed but in honey processes, this step can be skipped.
Eco-puplpers can be very precise, allowing for different percentages of honey to remain. Drying times also change depending on the style of honey processing, but in general, white is the least amount of mucilage and black the most, with red and yellow between these.
When we received the samples for this coffee this year, they were marked as washed. However, when the coffee arrived in our warehouse, we noticed light flecks of a pinky hue on the green coffee, generally an indication of honey processing. This made so much sense to us as the coffee in sample form had possessed an amazing peach and citrus character that was really surprising.
We communicated through Tropiq to Ramiro and he explained that they call it washed because they wash it by hand after it passes through the eco-pulper as he doesn’t have a proper fermentation tank set up. As such, much of the mucilage ended up on this coffee, making it not a true honey process per se but possessing much of the same characteristics.
Tropiq is a sister company to the specialty coffee importer Nordic Approach. Though they are owned by Nordic Approach, they also work with them as any other buyer might. Tropiq operates mainly in the Tarrazu region of Costa Rica, with farmers at high altitudes who are operating their own micro-mills.
Their main goals are to develop fully traceable coffees for buyers while assisting growers with feedback during and after harvest. In addition to operating a cupping lab throughout the season, they also offer the services of an agronomic engineer to the producers for the purpose of supporting farmers with quality control.
The results are coffees that range in score from 86-90 and a corresponding price premium that is more than double the C market and/or Fair Trade minimum price, which is paid in full at the moment of the delivery of their coffee to the exporter (a practice that seems obvious, but is not always guaranteed).