If you frequent high end cafes, you will most likely come across or hear the term "Micro-Mill" used more and more often. A micro-mill is a washing station called a "Beneficio" which is located on a farm. Farms which have their own beneficio's are able to have complete control over their quality. They are able to grow and harvest their coffee properly, wash & de-pulp their coffee, followed by drying their coffee before bringing it to the dry-mill which we discussed in our last blog post. Learn about growing, harvesting & wet-milling coffee.
Through working with a properly run wet-mill a roaster is able to be more selective in the coffee we choose. Choosing a single varietal coffee, a specific lot/area of the farm and if we prefer to have our coffee processed a certain way in order to give it a unique flavor is all possible through the micro-mill.
But, there are years worth of work before coffee is ever harvested. Watch this new training video which walks you through the steps, and years of work required before coffee every gets tasted.
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Direct Trade Coffee - Costa Rican Tarrazu - Rio Jorco Micro-Mill
Fratello Coffee is proud to introduce an exclusive new coffee available from the Tarrazu Valley in Costa Rica. Last month, we wrote about a Micro Mill Revolution happening in this region, this is one of those special micro-lots we wrote about.
The Rio Jorco Micro-Mill employees between 4-6 people & has 65 pickers during harvest season. Rio Jorco is situated at an altitude of 4600 feet, and like many farms in Tarrazu faces the Pacific Coast. The strong winds from the Pacific are important as they create a defined dry season. This dryness causes a stress on trees creating extra sweetness in Tarrazu coffees, and especially in the 100% Caturra lots we chose from Rio Jorco.
Rio Jorco which was once known as Hacienda Jorco, is rich in history and has played a key role in the development of excellent coffee within the Tarrazu region. The Rio Jorco Micro-Mill processes all of the coffee from their own estate. unlike in their early historyof 1910, when the coffee had to be taken from Jorco to San Jose using Oxen or on horseback. Though the distance was only 15 miles it was a long trip up winding muddy roads. This required oxen to be changed 2 or three times and a one day trip was considered fast. (more…)
Costa Rican Coffee Micro-mill Revolution
I guess I’m a slow learner because it took me 4 days of visiting 16 micro mills (and 1 mega mill), cupping 48 individual lots of coffee and traveling through the Tarrazu, West Valley and Central Valley regions with Jason to fully understand & appreciate the phenomenon in Costa Rica.
This phenomenon is being called “The Micro-mill Revolution” by Francisco Mena of Exclusive Coffees. He has personally visited all 150 micro-mills that now operate through out Costa Rica and works with many of them to increase quality through proper growing, harvesting and processing techniques.
A micro-mill is small coffee farm (typically producing 1000 bags or less, or 152,000 lbs of coffee) that also has its own wet mill and processing on its farm. What this allows a farm to do is process their own cherries to ensure the absolute best quality and taste. This also allows the farmer to separate varietals (Typica from Caturra, etc…) for micro-lots as well as introduce unique processing methods for individual coffee roasters needs (washed, honey, red-honey, naturals). What this really means is complete traceability and a totally individual identity for each lot of coffee we bring in.