The Chirripó-Brunca region snuggles down in the south end of Costa Rica, cradled between two mountain ranges–one of which is the highest in the nation–where it shares borders with Panama. The region is tropical, with ocean winds coming from both the east and the west. It is named after the Brunca (Borunca) people whose ancient ancestors ruled most of the Pacific coast of what is now Costa Rica. Like those ancestors, they are craftsmen and artists and are famous for their weavings and painted wooden masks. This relatively unknown region has seen an upswing of micro mills, focused on high-end specialty coffee, over the last 5-6 years, as it has gained notoriety from the top cup of excellence placings.
Finca El Salitre is the first producing farm belonging to the Alvarado Fonseca Family, which they acquired in 2005. With modest growth over the years and a desire for better quality control on the farm, they sought to develop their own wet mill. They achieved this goal in 2015 with a new micro-mill they named Corazón de Jesús. This year they achieved another momentous goal, and they were able to build their own dry mill, which is a great achievement for them because now they can mill and sort the coffees at the farm, giving them another level of quality control.
Finca El Salitre is in Buena Vista, Rivas, and measures around 19 hectares of which 16 are planted for coffee and the other 3 are in reserve for the different species of flora and fauna of this property. The average annual production of this farm is approximately 500 bags since some of the crops are still growing. This farm has about 9 varieties including Catuaí, Caturra, Bourbon, Típica, Mibirizi, SL 28, Java, Geisha, Java, Milenio, and Ethiopia. It has unusual high alititude for Costa Rica which ranges from 1700 meters above sea level to 2000 meters above sea level.
Jhonny, one of the Alvarado Fonseca family’s sons has a special talent for coffee processing and experimentation. At 21 years old, he participated in the Cup of Excellence with his Anaerobic Catuaí, in which he placed 5th. Last year, he had two more coffees in the Cup of Excellence placing both 3rd and 17th. This is a testament to his talent and dedication to producing world-class coffee, the importance of quality infrastructure at the farm, and the potential of this region of Costa Rica.
The family goes out and collects the cherries in the field ensuring optimal cherry selection with their harvesters. The fruit is brought to their mill and dumped into a receiving tank which shaded from the sun. The coffee is left in this tank for 3 or 4 days where a temperature controlled fermentation occurs. Then, the cherries are passed through a recycled water floating system before being put out to dry on raised beds. The mounds are moved only once or twice a day for the first few days and then as the coffee gets drier the family spreads out the cherries and starts moving them more frequently. The total dry time is 25-30 days.
The result is a coffee with high levels of sweetness, aromatics, and a creamy mouthfeel while keeping a vibrant and complex flavor profile.
Producer: Jhonny Alvarado
Region: Chirripó, Brunca
Country: Costa Rica
Aromatics: Cherry, strawberry, raisin, pineapple, fudge
Taste: Red cherry, cranberry, strawberry, pineapple, sweet cream, raisin, cocao nib
Recommended Brewing Methods:
Fellow Stagg [X]
22g in, 350g out
2:25 – 2:45 minutes
205 f temperature
50 gram pour, pick up brewer and spin 3 times
Pour from 50 grams to 200 grams, starting at 30 seconds and ending your pour at 50 seconds (7.5 gram per second, pour rate)
Let fully drain should be between 1:15-1:30
1:15 – 1:30
Pour from 200 grams to 350 grams, starting at 1:15-1:30 and ending your pour at 1:35-1:50 (7.5 gram per second, pour rate)
Let drain completely
Drain should end between 2:25 – 2:45 minutes or brew to taste
Recommended Espresso Recipe:
Classic 9 bar recipe
20g in, 65g out (22 gram basket)
200 f temperature