Farm: El Bueyerito
Processing: Fully washed & sun dried on African beds & patios
Altitude: 1,200 to 1,300 metres above sea level
Owner: Roberto Jimenez Muñoz
Town / City: San Rafael, Arancibia
Region: Zona Norte (Miramar)
Overall: Cherries, maple syrup, grapefruit juice
Finca El Bueyerito, Puntarenas - Costa Rica
El Bueyerito is quite new as both an idea and as a coffee business. The current owner, Roberto Jimenez Muñoz hatched the idea to begin processing and exporting green coffee way back in 2008. However, the process of learning all about coffee cultivation, coffee processing and the coffee trade, generally, took nearly three years to come to fruition. El Bueyerito was formally established in 2009, but it wasn’t until the end of 2011 that all the machinery for processing and milling was installed. Finally, in 2012 the company began marketing their product, working to achieve the very highest standards for quality, and in 2017 the family achieved the benchmark of their first ever direct export.
Like so many Costa Rican families, the Jimenez family has always relied upon the help of the noble ox (buey) to help them in their agricultural work. In Costa Rica, oxen are highly valued not only as beasts of burden, so important to the sowing and harvesting of many crops, but also as symbolic, ceremonial animals. There are even parades for them (featuring them!) in Costa Rican tradition and colourful ox carts from long ago grace many an old farmhouse garden. ‘El Bueyerito’ is a person who likes work and who commonly walks the oxen as they go to work. It is for this reason that the farm bears this honourable name.
Although the farm and processing facilities are young, the tradition of coffee is heritage here. At each point in the cultivation season, great care is taken to follow best practices. Agricultural technicians who specialise in the local ecosystem are regularly consulted, as well. Fertilisation is carried out four times a year, and this, combined with regular pruning and renovation work, ensures that the farm’s Caturra and Obata trees are kept in optimal health.
During the harvest season, around 25 people are needed in addition to the five members of staff who are permanently employed. Coffee is selectively hand harvested and delivered on the same day as picking to the wet mill. The coffee is pulped and then fermented for between 9 and 12 hours, and it is then washed fully to remove all traces of mucilage. The resulting parchment coffee will then be delivered to dry on raised beds or patios under the sun until optimal humidity is reached.
Roberto has big plans for the future, as well. He aims to increase planting by 2 hectares every year and to continue renovating by replacing old trees with new trees as needed. He has begun planning Catigua MG2 and Geisha, as well, and is open to trying other new varieties. In sum, he wants El Bueyerito to be the best farm in Miramar and to gain a reputation for the best specialty coffee from the region.