So an old favourite returns in this Costa Rican Licho: it’s a coffee that we first bought from a Cup of Excellence auction many, many years ago in 2007, where it finished 4th. This year we welcome Licho back for the eighth time and I’m super proud to offer it.
Licho is a coffee that I feel shows our development as a roaster over the years. First we bought this coffee in the Cup of Excellence program (a great way to meet a grower), then we bought it from an import broker; they helped us bring in this coffee because we are a small coffee buyer. Then we bought directly from them. Then, two years ago, I went out to the farm and did the deal on the farm with the brothers. I love the fact that last year I walked onto the farm after cupping a particular lot in the exporter’s office, asked how much they wanted, and there was a short conference. They came back and told me, then we shook hands. Then we got back into the 4×4 and drove away. This year we agreed a European-exclusive deal with them for this coffee, continuing the close work we have with them.
We also agreed a price going forwards that is higher than last year’s price, and we agreed to take an amount that’s higher than ever before to prove how wedded we are to this coffee.
Grown by the Aguilera brothers in the region of Naranjo, in the volcanic Northern Cordiles corridor of the Western Valley, this coffee is cultivated at an altitude of 1500 metres above sea level. The varietal is carefully-selected Villa Sarchi with some Caturra (around 30%).
This coffee is honey processed, which is like the pulped natural method, so the fruit is removed from the seed of the coffee bush and left to dry. The main difference is that there is no water involved when the cherry is removed, so mucilage sticks to the bean. This can be dangerous, but it’s necessary in these parts of Costa Rica where water is limited: in this area of Naranjo water is a precious commodity, so this method suits the location very well.
The coffee ends up clustering whilst drying because there is so much mucilage. So the coffee either needs to be turned regularly to stop this happening, or it has to be broken up. Over-fermentation can happen at this stage and you can end up with a not-so-good cup, but the Aguilera brothers are well-versed in this method and are some of the most skilled in Costa Rica.
In the cup this coffee is delicious and has become one of our most popular staple coffees year after year. On the front-end there’s milk chocolate, then raspberry pavlova and a white sugar sweetness. Something that I’ll always love about this coffee is the massive mouthfeel it has, melted milk chocolate all the way. It’s smooth, it’s creamy, it’s fruity, it’s sweet…it’s super awesome!
- Country: Costa Rica
- Farm: Finca de Licho
- Farmer: Aguilera Family
- City: Naranjo
- Region: Alajuela
- Farm Size: 28.00 Hectares
- Coffee growing area: 9.10 Hectares
- Altitude: 1,500 m.a.s.l.
- Variety: Villa Sarchí 70% and Caturra 30%
- Processing System: Yellow Honey Coffee (Pulped Natural)