Costa Ricans end nearly every conversation with the phrase, “pura vida”. The phrase translates to “pure life” or “simple life”. After landing in San José smack dab in the middle of coffee harvest season, we could see why.
We traveled to Costa Rica in February 2023 to check in with the Solis brothers, our long-time partners and owners of the Don Oscar Micromill in the Tarrazú region. These veteran coffee producers are the hard-working hands behind our Take Me Home and A.M. Rescue offerings. We’ve been working with Alejandro and Horacio for the past seven years, and after a few years of not visiting, it was due time for a reunion.
We spent the morning cupping over 40 coffees at Exclusive Coffees in San Jose. Then, in our caffeine-addled state, we made our way up the mountain to the Don Oscar Micromill. We knew we’d arrived once we crossed a shallow point in the Pirris River, the outermost border of the Solis family farm.
Soon we were surrounded by rows and rows of coffee plants with bright green leaves and the ripest cherries, everything just bursting with life. The floral aroma and deep, palpable sweetness of sun-dried honey processed coffees beckoned as we neared the drying beds.
The Solis brothers are some of the nicest people you could ever meet. They’re passionate about the coffees they grow and the relationships they nurture through the process. The micromill is named after their father Don Oscar, who was a pillar in the local coffee growing community. He encouraged his sons to build their own micromill, which was completed shortly before Don Oscar passed away in 2013. Everything there is a tribute to him; the love Alejandro and Horacio have for their father is deeply realized in the land.
The farm spans from 1600 to 2100 meters above sea level. We rode together in the back of the brothers’ pickup truck, stopping to eat ripe cherries off the plants as they gave us the grand tour. Each plot of land was dedicated to a certain variety, and the flavors varied from hectare to hectare. Banana trees filled the spaces between coffee trees, providing shade for the plants and snacks for the farm workers.
Although it was peak harvest season (pickers were hard at work as we drove around), the Solis brothers spent hours showing us around. Their passion, dedication and unfettered joy quickly reminded us why we continue to work with the Solis family year after year. As we cupped their freshest red honey processed lot, we felt immense gratitude for all the hands and hearts involved in the process of specialty coffee. We’re proud to call ourselves partners, and we’re looking forward to many more exceptional harvests to come. Pura vida!
The Pirris River at the edge of the Solis farm
Our head roaster Justin and the Solis brothers with red honey processed coffee
Ripe coffee cherries
Pickers collecting coffee cherries
The view from the farm... Just wow!