Costa Rica Las Lajas Black Honey
Farm: Cumbres de Poas
Mill: Las Lajas
Region: Alajuela, Central Valley
Altitude: 1,300 - 1,550 m.a.s.l
Process: Black Honey
Flavours of Sponge Cake, Cane Sugar & Cherry
In the heart of the Central Valley coffee growing region, the town of Sabana Rodonda, Alajuela is home to the Las Lajas mill. Owned and managed by husband and wife duo Oscar and Francisca Chacón, they are dedicated to producing only the very highest quality microlot coffees. Along with the mill, the family owns 8 farms in the surrounding area between the altitudes of 1,300 and 1,550 metres above sea level, totaling over 30 hectares of coffee. The area is heavily influenced by the near Poás Volcano and advantageously receives rains from the Atlantic-ocean.
Las Lajas was instrumental in the progression of the Costa Rican specialty and microlot movement. Back in 2008, after losing access to water after an earthquake, Oscar produced the first honey and natural coffees in Costa Rica in an attempt not to lose the harvest. Despite this concerning circumstance, the coffees turned out to be some of the best that the farm had produced. Word spread throughout Costa Rica, and today they are known for producing some of the world’s best honey and natural processed coffees. Since then, Las Lajas has been at the forefront of experimental drying techniques using temperature curves much the same way a roasting profile would look. Some different techniques include heaping to slow down drying time (after fermentation has finished), resting for a week in the middle of drying and alternate intermittent moving of the coffee.
Each year Las Lajas produces around 1,500 69 kilo bags of coffee with approximately 80% of this fit for export, a high percentage in the area. 90% of this is processed as either a honey or natural coffee, a far cry from 0% back before the earthquake in 2008. Core to the values of the company, Las Lajas re-invests to improve facilities and progression of their quality. In the past few years they have refurbished their quality room, expanded office space and purchased a new roaster.
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