On my Costa Rican adventure I was lucky enough to visit ceca sa who develop and produce coffee for selling to clients across the globe. Based in San Jose, I started the day by meeting with dear Diego, lovely chap. He explained the office systems and the operational side to the production line of coffee. We then entered the quality control zone which had many people working on finding the finest coffees from CR. Cupping was the first experience in Ceca- I tried multiple coffees from honey coffees and micro lots to more conventional types.
My favourite micro lot was Sonora – this was grown from Diegos farm! Very unique and fruity tones – great for a specialised blend. I also liked another conventional coffee called palmichal-anarobico process. Having tried 10 different types of coffees and eyes buzzing, I met a dear old gent called Mourizio who shared his expertise in roasting using a probat roaster.
Diego took me to the ceca mill, around 2 hour scenic drive to Tarrazu mountains. This was an insane experience! The production from start to finish:
Cherries picked from farms are bought here and weighed by volume. The farmers get paid by volume in the bucket at a fair price for their lifestyle. The cherries then get pulped in the machine and put though a machine which detects any defects in the beans. This is then spun dry and put into a drum furnace to dry the beans. The alternative for micro lots is to naturally dry in the sunlight. The beans are then put through a final machine which takes off the parchment Fully to reveal the green bean!
The process of then drying again can be done in another mill. Then it’s bagged up, ready to rock and roast!
Ceca emphasise on their quality control and fair trade to their farmers and employees. 3 times quality control to be exact! This includes checking for insect bites and rot.
Finally, Diego took me to visit a coffee farm to see the au natural start to this process- the coffee plant itself! As harvest season had just passed in this region, there were no cherries however, the blossoms on the trees were setting up for the next harvest- nature at its finest!