Coffee Origin: San Jose Province, Central America
Coffee Certification: Certified B Corporation
Farm: Santa Rosa
Farmer: Union de Cafetelaros
MASL: 1400 – 1600
Varieties: Caturra & Catuai
Benchmark Coffee Traders has partnered with Village Coffee Imports in offering top-of-the-line Peruvian and Costa Rican green coffee beans. Village Coffee is a subsidiary of Shared-X, an impact farming company based in Peru. Shared-X owns and manages farms in Peru and also works with Co-Ops. In addition, they maintain direct relationships with several farms and Co-Ops in Costa Rica.
As a Certified B Corporation, Village Coffee helps facilitate access to knowledge and the markets for smallholder farmers, creating a value chain of transparency and innovation while caring for people, processes, and the environment.
Village Coffee Imports shares our passion for sourcing socially responsible Peru and Costa Rica green coffee beans, and every day, they put their passion in action. Farmers and producers who work with Village Coffee are empowered with the following resources:
- Increased Access to Technology and Innovation
- Ongoing technical training in central and northern Peru
- Organize diploma programs in association with the Instituto de Educación Superior Tecnológico Público La Merced en Chanchamayo
- Ongoing best practices education at the farm level
- Increased Environmental Impact
- Rainforest Alliance & Global Cap Certifications available
- Water recycling program
Due to having access to these resources, Peruvian and Costa Rican green coffee bean farmers receive an average of 50% above the market price for cherry and an increased yield in their farms. Some farmers have seen 85% more yield than neighboring farms!
The primary coffee variety grown in Costa Rica are Caturra and Catuai. Caturra is a natural mutation of Bourbon that has good cup quality potential and good yields but is susceptible to leaf rust. Catuai was created from the cross of Mundo Novo and Caturra varieties. Villa Sarchi and Villa Lobos are not as prevalent, but are indigenous to Costa Rica. Villa Sarchi is descendent of the Bourbon variety and Villa Lobos is a descendent of the Typica Variety.
Environmentalism and Legislation
Between 1950 and 2000, Costa Rica’s forest cover had decreased by more than half, primarily because of clear cutting for agricultural and pasture land. As a result, soil erosion and quality degradation became prevalent. Concurrently, coffee plantations were heavily reliant on fertilizers and releasing their wastewater into the countries water ways. The county’s ecosystems were heavily damaged, and the government responded by passing two landmark environmental regulations: The General Environmental Law and The Biodiversity Act. These laws created the Ministry of Environment and Energy, National Environmental Council, and a specialized environmental court. The Biodiversity Law also created the National System of Conservation Area and approximately 30% of Costa Rica’s land is protected as parks, reserves, or refuges. Costa Rica depends heavily on these protected lands for Eco-tourism, which accounts for more than double the GDP of coffee production.
The environmental laws created strict standards for water treatment to protect the countries water ways. The waste-water from coffee mills must be filtered which can be expensive when large amounts of water are consumed. This encouraged producers to stray from the traditional washed processing style which would consume 3,000 liters of water to produce 1 Fanega of coffee. Mills switched to eco-pulpers and mechanical demucilagers that require considerably less water. These machines can use as little as 200l of water per fanega of cherry.
Cooperatives and Micromills
Cooperatives became officially recognized by the constitution in 1949 and initially expanded, but fluctuating prices and organizational problems caused many to close by the 1980s. Today, Coop Dota, Coop Tarrazu, and Coop Naranjo are among the largest producers in Costa Rica collectively representing over 8,000 members. Over 700 cooperatives across all agricultural sectors exist in Costa Rica, and 1 in 5 Costa Ricans belong to a cooperative of some kind. Approximately 40% of Costa Rican coffee is produced through a cooperative.
Beginning with La Candelilla in 2000, there has been a growing number of farmers or small collectives opening their own micro-mills. Since then, over 150 have opened. By processing coffee themselves, they attempt to retain more of the value that the coffee is sold for. Increased demand for “direct trade” and traceability has drawn specialty coffee consumers to buy from these mills across the country. The mills are pioneering new and experimental processing styles which elevate the quality of traditionally mild coffee.
Coupled with the water restrictions, micro-mills are heavily investing in natural, honey, and anaerobic processing styles. Naturally dried coffees are those that are dried with the entire cherry intact. Honey processed coffees are pulped and dried over varying periods of time with varying degrees of mucilage remaining. Anaerobic coffees are fermented in sealed tanks for several days before being dried in the sun. This may be whole cherry or pulped cherry. These tend to produce more fruit forward coffees that are desired in North America and Europe. Costa Rican micro-mills are creating successful brands based on the consistency and clarity of their unwashed coffees, and that allows them to have sustainable long term partnerships with buyers around the world.