Aquiares, which means “land between rivers” in the Huetar indigenous language, is the largest farm in Costa Rica and home to 1,800 people. Although the farm was founded in 1890, Alfonso Robelo is the man responsible for its transformation a century later, following his arrival in Costa Rica in the 1980’s, seeking refuge from the civil war in Nicaragua.
Making his home on the enchanting slopes of the Turrialba volcano, a lush area of forests, rivers, fauna, and bright flora, Alfonso challenged the status quo, transforming the relationship between land owner and farm workers. He brought a visionary approach to Aquiares, a farm suffering from low prices and instability. Aquiares had more than 200 employee homes on the farm, but because none owned their home, there was great insecurity in the workforce. Alfonso saw this as an opportunity to strengthen the company by having people feel pride in the coffee they produce. He evolved the farm into a small town where workers purchased their own homes. Today, Aquiares remains a model of sustainable agriculture.
Nowadays Alfonso’s son, Diego, manages the farm. Under his lead, the farm has taken a fresh approach to specialty coffee and exploring the farm’s potential. Through excellent agricultural management, embracing new varieties, and experimenting with processing, Aquiares has become a trailblazer among specialty coffee producers in Costa Rica and all of Central America.
Aquiares focuses on carbon neutrality and measures its greenhouse gas emissions to calculate its carbon emissions against its offsets. In addition to capturing carbon, the farm’s protected biological corridors have long ensured the well-being of local animals and plants.
Aquiares also welcomes researchers from around the world to conduct agricultural and environmental studies on their land. Projects have included investigating the benefits of agroforestry on soil health and observing the diverse bird and wildlife species that thrive in an agroecological environment.
Centroamericano H1 is an F1 hybrid variety generated by crossing the Sarchimor T-5296 and a wild Rume Sudan variety. It is reproduced through a tissue culture cloning process called somatic embryogenesis. This cultivar has been distributed among coffee producers in Central America over the last decade and the first productive harvests are now available. Turrialba’s climate is well suited to growing this new variety and Aquaires is up to the challenge of meeting its complex nutritional needs. This hybrid represents the best of the farm and cupping worlds, as it is high-yielding and rust-resistant and also has a complex, elegant profile.
We’re getting notes of sticky stone fruit and bright citrus zest over the deep sweetness of dark treacle toffee.
Roasters Notes Costa Rica Aquiares Estate
Our first non-decaffeinated coffee from Costa Rica, this is a stunner! A really pronounced first crack makes this a joy to roast, leading to bright, zingy notes over a delicious sweetness.
About Costa Rica
Originating from seeds given away for free following independence in 1821, coffee is so engrained in Costa Rica’s history that the country owes much of its early infrastructure to wealth generated from export to the UK.
Whilst always enjoying a reputation for good quality, Costa Rica is now focused on traceability, resulting in an increasingly diverse and interesting crop.
Harvested from July to March, Costa Rican coffee is typically very clean and sweet.