Single Origin Stories - Carlos Montero
Apr 29, 2022
It's always an exciting week at River when we are launching a new coffee from Carlos Montero. Carlos always produces exceptionally high quality green produce with expressive and smooth flavour characteristics. We love receiving and roasting coffee from Carlos and we're very excited to be launching an anaerobic process this time round with punchy tropical flavour notes.
Carlos comes from a long line of farmers. His grandparents worked coffee plantations, his father managed a farm, and Carlos grew up in the fields. He saw the struggles that his father and many other families experienced doing what they did and so he set out to experience more of the world.
Speaking with Carlos today, in a barrage of languages, it’s easy to see that he is well versed in many cultures. As a young man he went to high school for a year in San Diego and even played on their soccer team as a foreign exchange student. After his studies, he backpacked through Europe and spent time in various countries. He loves to tell all his stories from his travels and cherishes the time he spent in the U.S., Europe, and India. He always knew he wanted to come back home and continue his family's’ tradition of farming, but he wanted to do it on his own terms; so he worked in restaurants in the US for a few years in order to save up and buy a farm of his own. We are sure glad that he did that because he returned to Costa Rica, bought his first farm, and settled down with his wife Lucia with whom he raised 3 children, Marianela, Jacob, and Maria Jose, that are also following in the footsteps of the generations before them.
Today Carlos is a visionary and leader in the specialty coffee movement in Tarrazu and has many other farmers looking to him for guidance on how to pursue better quality, relationships, and prices. It is also noteworthy that Carlos gives back to his community in many other ways. He constructed a gymnasium in his village where people of all ages can exercise, hold courses, and train for competitive events. He absolutely loves sports, the youth, and visitors from all walks of life. He heads the Costa Rican arm of the global “Children’s Games” and prepares kids from his area to compete in a different city every year.
Anaerobic Process from La Manzana for 2022
Carlos has always had his eye on the peak of La Pastora, but not necessarily for coffee production. His father, Eli, had his farm at the base of the mountain and taught Carlos how to care for plantations around the area. So, when an opportunity to purchase a farm near the highest point of La Pastora presented itself in 1990 - Carlos and his brothers knew they had to come together to buy it. The initial intention for the land was to produce a variety of apple called Ana. The brothers made a huge investment and dug large terraces in order to plant the trees. In a few short years the brothers were producing wonderful apples and Carlos would take his family down to the Capitol City’s farmers market where the uncommon fruit was beloved. Carlos was doing quite well for himself between the apples and the good prices he was getting for his coffee fruit at CoopeDota. Overtime, Carlos was able to buy out his other brothers and own the farm in its entirety.
Shortly after, the apple trees began to die. Carlos tried everything he could to save the farm without using chemicals, but there was a strong attack by a root eating insect that decimated the apple trees completely. Disheartened, Carlos started to think that it was time to sell the land and cut his losses. However, it proved difficult to market empty land in the middle of nowhere on top of a mountain. Carlos knew that in Tarrazu, it’s far more attractive to sell land with coffee planted on it and even though farmers thought it impossible to grow coffee in La Pastora at the time - he turned the apple farm into a coffee plantation. Soon, Carlos noticed that the catuai coffee trees did very well in this new environment and by the time they really started to produce he had already built the wet mill with his brothers. As they started processing the fantastic fruit from La Pastora local cuppers and international buyers began to take notice and Carlos found that he had to keep the farm.
After picking the cherries, Jacob passes the cherries through a floating system to clean the cherries and remove dirt, stones, sticks and any other strange material in order to get a great fermentation. The next day in the morning Jacob puts the coffee inside of sealed tanks for 144 hours of dry fermentation. Then he opens the tanks and moves the cherries to dry in direct sunlight on raised beds for 22 days. They dry it on a thick layer and the first 3 days they move it twice a day, after 3 days of drying the move it 3-4 times a day.
This was the first harvest that Don Eli was capable of hulling or peeling their parchment. The coffee was peeled off its parchment in the Don Eli warehouse and then taken to be classified in the nearby San Lorenzo Dry Mill. In San Lorenzo the coffee was sorted by density, screen size, and sorted by electronic color machine.
You can buy our Carlos Montero Anaerobic Coffee by clicking this link.