Farm: Finca San Pedro
Varietal: 100% Yellow Catuaí
Processing: Fully washed, dried on African beds
Altitude: 1,750 metres above sea level
Owner: Jorge Gutiérrez
Town / City: San Pedro de Tarrazú
Overall: Apple, chocolate & stone fruit.
Finca San Pedro (Tarrazú) – 100% Yellow Catuaí - Costa Rica
Jorge Gutiérrez’s family has been involved in coffee production in Costa Rica since the 1950s. When Jorge inherited Finca San Pedro from his maternal grandmother, he knew he had some big shoes to fill. In 2009, noting the successes other Costa Rican farmers were having with the speciality coffee market, it became apparent to Jorge that in order to make the most of his 1 hectare farm, he had to differentiate his product, giving it special attention from the moment of planting through to the harvest. Jorge – along with his wife and three daughters – began selecting the very best beans to replant in their nursery every year and taking great care with ever step along the way. Their efforts paid off! The family’s coffee placed very highly in the prestigious Cup of Excellence competition in both 2011 and 2012. Since then, there has been no looking back!
The farm’s full name is actually ‘Bajos del Rio, San Pedro’ (Below the River, San Pedro) and is named more or less after its location. Despite the somewhat literal name, the family’s approach to coffee is romantic. They have expressed that they are “very aware of the privilege that is to be dedicating our enthusiasm and effort to the coffee legacy, which has been a patrimony for our country and has allow us to grow through the heritage of families like ours all along Costa Rica’s history.” For them, coffee is truly a passion; it is one, however, that they know requires a great deal of time and effort in order to maintain and improve.
The harvest normally begins towards the end of November and the mil reaches full production in January, right at the peak of the harvest. March and April are usually reserved for pruning back the trees in order to maximise production in the coming year. May, August and September are when plague and disease hit the hardest, and these months are when the family must watch carefully for any sign of rust or other attack to the vulnerable plants. Finally, May, June and August are reserved for applying fertilisers (always according to very specific preparations) to ensure growth and cherry development for the new harvest. Most of this work is done lovingly and with stringent attention by the immediate family.
All coffee is milled at the Bajo del Rio Mill some 25 minutes from the farm, where it is delivered on the same day as it is harvested. The coffee is floated to remove all damaged and underweight coffee, is pulped and is then washed through mechanical demucilager. After this stage, the coffee is delivered to dry on patios or African beds (as this lot is dried) to slowly dry in the sun. Year round, two people manage the mill and two additional workers are brought in for the harvest months.
Jorge and his family are always thinking of ways to improve the farm. In the short term, they plan to install greenhouses for drying the coffee and to plant new varieties. Furthermore, social welfare of workers is very important to the family and they have plans to improve the workers’ seasonal housing and to build new paths through the farm to make it easier to move about.