RIPE BERRIES, RAW CACAO, WHITE ALMOND, BROWN SUGAR
Farm : La Loma
Owner : Hector Bonilla
Varieties : Red Catuai
Process : White Honey
Region : San Francisco de Leon Cortes, Tarrazú
Altitude (masl) : 1850
Harvest Method : Handpicking
The father and son team of Hector and Pablo Bonilla are the owners of the La Loma farm as well as the well-known and widely recognised Don Mayo micro-mill. La Loma farm sits at 1800 meters above sea level in the Tarrazu region, famous for it’s high quality specialty coffees and breathtakingly beautiful scenery.
The Bonillas have been producing some of the finest coffees in Costa Rica for several years. They also process coffee cherries from several neighbouring farms on their mill and were behind the producing of the CoE winning lot of 2009.
Hector Bonilla founded the Don Mayo Coffee Mill in 1994. Before this Mr Bonilla was the general manager of Cooperativa de Caficultores de Llano Bonito R.L. While working for the co-op he, amongst other things, incorporated the “Fair Trade” market and the beginning of direct sales of the cooperative’s coffee to European and North American clients.
The family is very much involved in all the aspects of their business and caring of the coffee trees. They oversee every aspect of plantation management. Including pruning, fertilising and cleaning of the plantations and also participate in the milling process, in order to assure a quality product.
The Bonillas use agricultural practices taken from research-based evidence; interventions that include best practice of soil treatments, shade organisation and coffee varieties. These practices are based primarily on the use of varieties of coffee that have been proven to best match the agroecology of the farms, soil maintenance without the use of agrochemicals and the use of the controlled shade to incorporate organic matter into soil.
Tarrazú region has two well-defined seasons – rainy and dry, which is ideal for growing coffee. Because of distinctive seasons the coffee cherries grow surprisingly uniform in ripeness. The rainy season lasts for seven months starting in May and continuing all the way to November. During this time the coffee plants are growing. Harvest time runs from November to March and therefore coincides nicely with the dry season. In addition the characteristic sedimentary soil composition of the land results in coffees that have distinctively acidic qualities.