by Justin Matheny
Our newest offering is a treasure we never expected to find. In February 2023, myself and Zach, our much-esteemed production manager, took a trip to Costa Rica to visit some longtime producing partners in Tarrazú, the premiere coffee growing region in the country, located in the province of San Jose.
We visited Santa Rosa 1900 on our first day. Located 1900 meters above sea level (particularly high for Costa Rica), the world-renowned coffee mill is run by the Naranjo family. Efrain and his sons Gelbert and Kevin have snagged multiple Cup of Excellence awards for their coffees over the past 13 years. I was a huge fan of their coffees long before our visit, so when asked by our guide which mills I'd like to visit, Santa Rosa was at the top of my list.
After an afternoon marathon cupping session, our driver and translator Davian drove us up the mountain to the mill. For nearly three hours, we traversed up and up winding roads, dressed to the nines with thousands of healthy coffee trees. The country bursts at the seams with coffee that all its inhabitants will tell you is the best, and sweetest, in the world.
It was dusk when we finally reached the top of the mountain. The mist rolled in and chilled the air by the second. We were met by the youngest son of the Naranjo family, Kevin, who led us to some beans that were drying on raised African beds, somewhat rare for this region. He pointed up to where the coffee was grown, literally on the steep side of the mountain's peak. From where I was standing, the angle looked impossible - how could anyone pick those cherries?
There, he said, he grew a very small crop (two 60kg bags, that's all) of an Ethiopian variety he was very excited about. It was an heirloom plant, Ethiopia 47, a recent addition to the Costa Rican seed bank. He led us to an adjoining drying bed to smell the lot of it that was drying. Zach and I each scooped up a handful and inhaled. It was deep, rich, and alive; reminiscent of wildflower honey and baked figs.
If we wanted to try it, he said, he would send a sample of the coffee for us to cup in the morning. I immediately agreed, probably before he even finished his sentence, and after a quick peek inside the mill, we said our goodbyes and made our way back down the mountain.
Zach and I rolled into the cupping lab the next day with much anticipation. After selecting lots for our Take Me Home and A.M. Rescue coffees (that story to come), we arrived at the Ethiopia 47. The coffee blew our over-caffeinated minds. We tasted notes of rhubarb soda, raspberry preserves, and frangipane. It tastes like no other Costa Rican I'd ever had before.
Needless to say, I've been waiting seven months to share this coffee with you and I could not be more excited to release it today. Do yourself a favor of flavor and pick up an 8-ounce box today. Like today, today, because it's super limited. Remember, he only had two 60kg bags (and that's green).