Country: Costa Rica
Region: Lourdes de Naranjo, West Valley
Producer: Manuel Antonio Barrantes Zuñiga, Cafetalera Herbazu
Altitude: 6,000 feet
Process: White Honey
Six years ago we were fortunate to be among the first to taste the SL28 variety coffee grown by the Barrantes family. We were blown away by the coffee at that time and eagerly secured exclusive rights to the tiny lot. Every year since we have brought in this coffee and, as the trees have matured, the yields have increased and we are able to purchase larger quantities. During our last visit to the farm in July 2015, we were excited to see the healthy SL28 trees flush with green coffee cherries a good sign for the coffee we are roasting now.
We were also thrilled to personally congratulate farm owner Antonio Barrantes on his first place win in the 2015 Costa Rica Cup of Excellence competition. And if that wasn’t enough, this year he placed three coffees in the 2016 Cup of Excellence competition!
Antonio and his brothers were one of the first groups of farmers to break away from the traditional practice of selling coffee fruit to large local mills and instead established their own micro mill. This decision was a response to low coffee prices and allowed these growers to add tremendous value to their coffee crop. In the decade and a half since, scores of other Costa Rican producers have followed suit.
The celebrated SL28 variety is a Bourbon derived Arabica cultivar that emerged in the 1930s through the work of botanists at the respected agricultural research institute, Scott Laboratories. Although the name is rather unromantic, SL28 is a favorite of many coffee professionals. Widely planted in Kenya, SL28 is often credited with providing the unique combination of sweetness, refined acidity and concentrated fruit complexity that is found in the best coffees from this origin.