When spring rolls into town, our roasting team turns their attention to the new crops of Costa Rica coffee so that we can begin offering them to customers in July. This year, as usual, we cupped several offerings from the historic coffee region of Tarrazú and its surrounding farms.
We began by cupping the Tarrazú from the Don Roberto estate, which we featured last year, with a few others from the region. The winner in terms of flavor was a coffee from a producer just outside Tarrazú proper and bordering the Palmichal rainforest: Romelia.
The coffee from Romelia performed so well that it has become our go-to Costa Rica coffee for 2016. Today, the Romelia is a popular bean at our Raleigh, NC coffee roasting facilities.
“The coffee from Don Roberto and Romelia are very similar, as to be expected, because the coffee varietals and growing conditions around Palmichal and the Santa Ana and Escazú mountains are very similar,” said Brad Kirby, Director of Coffee for Stockton Graham & Co. and Dilworth Coffee.
“As we discussed the coffee around the cupping table, we were drawn more to the Romelia beans because they produced a bit more of an interesting sweet, orange aroma and flavor,” Brad said.
“When you first brew the Romelia coffee, you notice the aroma of sweet orange zest and honey,” Brad said. “These are two delicate notes that define the coffee in terms of fragrance, flavor and aftertaste. We roast the Romelia coffee a bit lighter to preserve these delicate notes.”
Like most Costa Rica coffees, the Romelia is washed and drum dried. That’s because high humidity in Costa Rica prevents patio drying. This processing method creates a vibrant, yet well-rounded cup.
History of Romelia Coffee from Palmichal
Romelia is named after the sister of one of the first families to plant coffee in the Tarrazú region of Costa Rica. That family was the decendents of the beneficiaries of the first land concession granted to José Miguel Cascante Rojas in 1826 just after Costa Rica gained its independence from Spanish rule in 1821 and Mexican rule in 1823.
The land was granted by Costa Rica’s first elected Chief of State, Juan Mora Fernandez, who is considered the grandfather of Tarrazú coffee by giving free land grants to farmers that knew how to grow Costa Rica coffee.
Amid decades of power struggles amongst Costa Rica’s coffee elite, Don José and his son Don Manuel Rojas Arias built a formidable coffee business in the Palmichal region on the western slopes of the Escazú Mountains. In addition to the coffee farm, Don Manuel founded Beneficio Palmichal, a processing coffee processing plant that allowed him to control the quality of his coffee from seed to roast.
Many farmers observed the success Don Manuel had with coffee and followed his lead in converting their sugar plantations into coffee plantations. When Don Manuel passed away in the mid 1900s, he left his farms to his only sister, Romelia, who worked tirelessly to sustain the quality of her family’s coffee.
Doña Romelia had no children to inherit the farm and so she sold it to coffee visionary Don Roberto Montero Castro. As a result, today’s Don Roberto Tarrazú and Romelia from Palmichal are twin branches in the rich history of Costa Rica coffee.
To order our Costa Rica coffee, please call our Customer Care Associates at 800 835 5943 or email firstname.lastname@example.org