Farm: Las Lajas Organic Farm
Varietal: Caturra, Catuaí
Processing: Fully washed
Altitude: 1,300 to 1,500 metres above sea level
Owner: Chacón Solano Family
Town / City: Los Angeles, Sabanillas de Alajuela
Region: Central Valley
Finca Las Lajas – Organic - Costa Rica
The Chacón Solano Family has been growing coffee at Las Lajas for over 80 years and for three generations. The current generation, headed by Oscar and Francisca Chacón, began farming organically around 30 years ago and in 2000 became one of only a handful of farms in Costa Rica to be officially certified organic. The family strives not only to farm in an environmentally and socially responsible way, but also to produce coffee of the highest quality. They are innovative with regards to processing and were one of the early innovators in Costa Rica with regards to perfecting different honey and natural methods of processing.
Las Lajas is located at 1,300 to 1,500m in the foothills of the Poás volcano, in prime specialty coffee country in the Sabanilla de Alajuela region of Costa Rica’s Central Valley. This lush, fertile area is characterised by heavy and regular rainfall of around 3,000mm for 150 days of the year.
The farm produces 100% Arabica coffee, primarily Caturra and Catuaí varietals, which is grown in the shade of native trees. Organic composts are produced on site using vermiculture (worm composting), and the production process is entirely free of chemicals and agro-toxins.
The harvest starts in December and runs until February. The cherries are selectively handpicked, to ensure that only fully ripe and good quality cherries are collected. These are then processed at the farm’s state-of-the-art micromill, where the cherries are pulped using an ecological ‘dry’ pulper, saving thousands of litres of water in the process. The bean is then processed according to the fully washed method (see below). All of the left-over coffee pulp is recycled and used as fertiliser on the farm.
This coffee has been processed according to the fully washed method at the Chacón Solano Family’s Las Lajas micromill, which in addition to processing all of the Las Lajas coffees also processes coffees from the surrounding region. In fact, in 2008, the mill contributed to Francisca Cubillo Salas’ Cup of Excellence win!
The beans are fully washed, sun dried on African beds (raised screens) or patios for about 10 days and then transferred to dry in a polytunnel until the coffee reaches 11.5% humidity. The beans are rested in parchment before being dry-milled and graded using a gravitational sorter. All of the left-over coffee pulp is recycled and used as fertiliser on the farm.