Founded in 1890, Aquiares Estate is one of Costa Rica’s largest coffee producers, but it’s more of a community than a farm. Nestled within the farm is the small town of Aquiares, home to almost 2,000 people. In an effort to promote home ownership in the community, the farm gave bonuses to all workers and offered assistance applying for loans. As a result, over 96% of the farm workers are homeowners.
Aquiares is also a leader in sustainable coffee farming. Their approach to farming is wholistic, applying ecological principles and seeking to build soil and plant health. They’ve planted over 50,000 shade trees, 20% of the farm is dedicated exclusively to conservation, and they’re certified Carbon-Neutral! They also conduct research on the farm to push the industry forward, and they’ve even created new hybrid varieties. This Centroamericano variety is a hybrid of the Ethiopian Rume Sudan and the Central American Sarchimor. We bought all three processes (washed, red honey, and natural) of the Centroamericano to test out the effect of processing methods on flavour. With this washed process, we tried to draw out the sweet apricot notes and citric acidity.