The Las Lajas micromill is located in the Sabanilla de Alajuela region of Costa Rica. Francisca and Oscar Chacon greet you in the driveway with huge smiles and a willingness to show you their stunning farms. These third-generation producers focus on preserving the environment while maintaining the highest quality coffee. Going into the 2020 harvest, they completed a renovation of their mill, complete with a corkscrew conveyor belt that transports depulped coffee to a custom trailer, which transports it to their drying facility. Strict size and density separation happen at the mills, even the naturals are passed through the mill to separate the less ripe and small size cherries after selective harvesting. They have become so precise in their processing that they have been able to produce several offerings under various monikers; this particular coffee is their Perla Negra, a natural-process coffee by which whole cherries are turned hourly on raised beds.
Natural coffees are beautiful when done properly. Natural processing, or dry processing, refers to the act of drying and fermenting coffee inside the cherry. Long before the age of portafilter tattoos and dual-boiler home espresso machines, coffee was picked and dried this way out of convenience. It is, to this day, still the most convenient and economically friendly way to process coffee cherries. (It’s estimated that dry-processing can use up to 90% less water than the washing process.)
About this coffee
Cupping score: 88.00
Farm: Las Lajas
Producer: Chacón family
Region: Central Valley
Altitude: 1450 – 1500 MASL
SL28 was identified on a single tree in Tanzania and soon became ubiquitous thanks to its drought-resistance, high yield, and desirable cup profile. Since then, it has spread to other coffee-growing origins, including Uganda and Central America.
Natural sundried, also called “natural process” or “dry process,” means drying coffee cherries whole without the intervention of water or machines to remove any of the fruit. Prior to drying, the cherries are picked, floated in water, and sorted to remove any under-ripe or overripe fruit.