Costa Rica Hacienda Sonora El Churro Honey-Natural Microlot

Our Hacienda Sonora El Churro Honey-Natural Microlot is a blend of 50-50 natural processed and black-honey processed coffee from Hacienda Sonora in Costa Rica’s Central Valley. Named for the universally loved churro doughnut stick, this unique blended process microlot has been created to maximize cup potential with results that can be reproduced time and again each season.

Father and son owners, Alberto and Diego Guardia have taken full advantage of the 20+ arabica varieties that they produce, selecting a broad ensemble, with which to create the new El Churro. All told, this year’s ensemble consists of Centro Americano, Caturra, Red Catuai, Yellow Caturra, Sarchimor, Obata, Villalobos and Villa Sarchi varieties. The resulting cup is exceptional. Beginning with a wonderful, strong and fruity aroma, the cup is sprinkled with notes of sweet nectarines, raspberry, blueberry and peaches with a slight hint of earth. There is a good mouth feel and a natural balance between body and acidity.

Each El Churro coffee variety is dried and processed separately and treated as a separate component. Once dried and sorted the percentage of each blend is tested in a lab sample before making the final mix in the mill. For the natural component, coffee cherries are hand-picked, floaters separated and then dried on a black tarp for 12 days, using different layers depending on the drying stage, and always covered at night. The coffee then rests for 3 days in the warehouse (at 14% humidity) before getting the final dry on a mechanical dryer (for superior uniformity). This stage is carefully monitored so temperatures never exceed 95°F. Once the coffee reaches a humidity of 10.5% it rests for 2 months before being hauled out of the dry husk and then going through weight, screen, density and color sorting. As for the black honey component, coffee cherries are likewise hand picked, floater separated and pulped in Penagos that retain 100% mucilage. Next they are patio dried for 9 days, rested for 3 days at the warehouse at 14% humidity, before being mechanically dried also at temperatures at or below 95°F. At 10.5% humidity it too rests in parchment for 2 months before going through weight, screen, density, and color sorting. In the final stage, both components are equally blended and packaged in Grainpro bags for export.

Going back to its roots over a century ago, Hacienda Sonora has remained connected to the specialty scene as a leader in innovative processing and mixed planting of coffee varieties. The current owners, Alberto and Diego Guardia have been in charge since the 70’s together managing all of Sonora’s 197 acres, keeping each variety strictly separated as individualized growing plots. For father and son, it’s common practice to keep everything portioned and easily identifiable until the moment of its export in Grainpro parcels. Sonora is made up of 20% trees and forest, 5% roads, and 75% coffee trees. Incredibly, nearly 50 acres of Sonora is entirely forest reserve! They generate their own energy, and are able to provide their own irrigation using a river that flows through the property as their water source.

When Alberto took over farming operations in the 70’s, he decided that coffee would be its majority agricultural crop, and shortly thereafter it became the family’s main source of income. In 1999, finding coffee prices at a historical low, Alberto invested in a private mill to maximize his quality. In doing so he became a pioneer in the niche, alternate processing methods of Honeys and Naturals. Back then Alberto was pushing the processing envelope, while simultaneously planting an assortment of arabica varieties. Thanks to his insight and strict adherence to planting independence, his living legacy is enshrined as testimonial proof to the varying levels of complexity that different varieties can create in the cup. Today Alberto and Diego work side-by-side, continuing to focus and improve on these practices, ensuring that Hacienda Sonora remains strong and independent for many future generations to come.

Cupping Notes: Strong, fruity aroma. Notes of sweet nectarines, raspberry, blueberry and peaches with a slight hint of earth. Good mouth feel. Balanced body and acidity.
Producer: Alberto and Diego Guardia
Region: Central Valley
Variety: Ensemble (Centro Americano, Caturra, Red Catuai, Yellow Caturra, Sarchimor, Obata, Villalobos & Villa Sarchi)
Processing: Natural & Black Honey Process
Altitude: 4,265 ft (1300m)
Coffee Grading: Microlot
Classifications: SHB, Microlot
Harvest: Dec - Feb