Costa Rica Don Alfonso

Costa Rica Don Alfonso

Regular price €20,00
Tax included.

single origin | whole beans | 250g

department turrialba

city aquiares

producer don alfonso robelo (family)

altitude 1.200 - 1.400 m.a.s.l.

blend of two specialty micro-lots from the same producer

1. variety: esperanza / process: natural

2. variety: marsellesa, obatá / process: red honey

suggested for espresso

tasting notes hazelnut cream, honey, applesauce


Additional Farm Info

Aquiares, one of Costa Rica’s largest and most historic coffee farms, sits high on the fertile slopes of Turrialba Volcano. Producing coffee continuously for over a century, the farm has developed an enduring model for growing high-quality Arabica coffee, protecting a stunning natural setting, and supporting a thriving local community of 1,800 people. Established by British farmers in 1890, Aquiares was one of the first estates to produce and export Costa Rican coffee. In 1971, the farm was purchased by its current owners - three families who have worked together with the farm´s staff and community to implement a modern model of sustainable agriculture. Today, the estate is the largest continuous coffee farm in Costa Rica, covering 924 hectares, 80% of which is planted under shade-grown Arabica.

Don Alfonso took over farm management in 1992, and at the time he was fairly new to coffee. Although he has been involved in many industries over his lifetime, he has always held a strong commitment to social justice. From the beginning, Don Alfonso made the social welfare of farm workers and the wider community one of his main priorities. His dedication has transformed the farm and the region.


The coffee in our Costa Rica single origin is a mix of three varieties from two separate micro-lots produced at the estate. From the first lot, the Marellesa is a variety obtained from the hybridization of Sarchimor and Caturra. It is sought after for its superior cup quality and its resistance to leaf rust. Obatá is a Sarchimor: a cross between Timor Hybrid 832/2 and Villa Sarchi CIFC 971/10. Experiments made by Aquiares have shown the two varieties to have similar cup profiles, which is why they have been mixed in processing. The varieties are versatile, lending themselves equally to washed processing as to honey and natural processing. 

From the second lot, the Esperanza variety is a hybrid of Caturra and the Ethiopia 531 variety, developed by various Central American coffee research institutes. Esperanza marries high cup quality with high resistance to disease – particularly the ojo de gallo fungus. Aquiares has found the variety very well-suited to the farm’s high elevation (grown above 1,200 meters in most cases) and as consistently yielding a quality cup. The variety’s fruity profile lends itself well to honey and natural processing, which is why the Robelos decided on processing this small lot using the natural method.

Harvest & Processing

All Aquiares coffee is picked by hand to ensure consistent high quality. Micro-lots are picked by a special team of skilled harvesters who are paid well above the daily rate for their exceptional skill in picking the ripest cherries at each pass. Each tree is visited up to seven times during the harvest to ensure that only fully red ripe cherries are picked.

As coffee cherries come from the field the same day that they are picked, they move into Aquiares’ wet mill. The farm produces fully washed coffees, honey processed coffees and naturals. This Red honey lot was produced by leaving approximately 80-90% of the mucilage attached after pulping. This is done by first washing and floating the cherries to remove the low-density beans, before de-pulping using a traditional “chancador” method. After this, the coffee is delivered to the mill’s covered greenhouses to pre-dry on ceramic patios for 2 days before being moved to the mill’s raised beds to dry for an additional 10 days. Here, temperature control is very important to allow for even drying; therefore the raised beds are maintained between 28°C and 45°C. Finally, the almost dried honey’d coffee is placed in a mechanical dryer or ‘Guardiola’, for 1 day to complete the process.

Environmental Stewardship

Aquiares is strongly committed to, and has become an international leader in, environmental sustainability. The farm has long seen the connection between agricultural, environmental and social health. By planting more than 50,000 shade trees, creating natural buffers around streams and water springs, preserving the river valleys as forest, planting along the contour, implementing integrated pest management systems and many other steps, Aquiares has demonstrated how to make ecological ideals a reality.


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