Costa Rica produces my favourite coffee. There, I’ve said it.
It’s not just about the way it tastes, it’s more about the flexibility that having a bag of this coffee brings. I drink my coffee black, and I like it naturally sweet with plenty of smooth, sparkly acidity. With no espresso machine at home, (there’s an award winning shop just down the road) I just have a french press and a V60.
If I’m drinking alone – it’s the v60, if I’ve got company – it’s the french press. These two brew methods bring completely different results to the cup, so I always look for a coffee with plenty of character, complexity, bold flavours and elegance.
Which brings me neatly back on topic, as this coffee has it all. La Pastora coffee is produced in Los Santos, a small part of the well-known Tarrazu coffee region of central Costa Rica.
The people that grow and process this coffee live around the city of San Marcos in the mountainous Tarrazú canton in the San José province. The Pirris river nearby provides water to the highland region, making it perfect for coffee production. The mountains are part of the Talamanca Sierra, which runs through Costa Rica and Panama.
La Pastora coffee is grown between 1300 and 1800 meters and the varieties grown in the region are Caturra and Catuai. The coffee is selected and screened following the European preparation standard which means that no major defects are allowed in the coffee for export.
Grown by the CoopeTarrazu in the Los Santos de Tarrazu region, the cooperative was created in 1970 by 228 smallholder farmers who worked together to face the challenges of coffee production and find better markets for their coffees. After more than 40 years, the cooperative has grown to be the largest in the region. Now, they provide structure for more than 3000 smallholders.
Through the Fairtrade premium, Coopetarrazu has been able to put sustainability at the heart of everything they do, with great environmental practices, working hard to continuously improve the quality of their product and ultimately, quality of life for their members. In 2006, the cooperative established the Coffee Culture Quality of Life Sustainability Plan. Through this plan, the coop tracks their environmental impact, implements better working practices and promotes a culture of environmental awareness through initiatives such as their soil sampling scheme and the use of organic fertilizer across their membership. As part of their strategy to increase productivity, Coopetarrazu offers a wide range of training programs for its members too
In collaboration with the Coffee Institute, Coopetarrazu is testing new varieties that offer higher productivity, disease resistance, and in particular, quality cup scores which is great for our future relationship with them!
So what does it taste like I hear you ask? Well, the first thing to hit you is the balanced sweetness and a wonderful sparkly acidity which brings the cup to life. It’s a fully washed and sun dried coffee, so there’s bags of clarity in the cup too. Sweet oranges, milk chocolate and jasmin are the predominant flavours to look out for. If you love your coffee milky, brew this one with a french press to enhance the body.
You can get great results with the french press and V60 quite simply, but my favourite way to brew this particular coffee is with an Aeropress. Use 19 grams of coffee, ground like fine salt.