Every coffee has an interesting story. In this case, Costa Rica Helsar Reserva Direct Trade’s story involves the coming together of two different coffee producers, and how the innovative and sustainable practices of the Helsar de Zarcero micro mill, where this coffee is processed, insures coffee quality and ongoing learning for is 10 coffee producing families.
Stumptown writes, “This Helsar Reserva lot comes from two different producers: Magdalena Vega Vega and Leonardo Red Salazar. Magdalena Vega Vega inherited a 4.5 hectare farm a few years ago from her seven brothers. She currently produces about 10,000 pounds of Caturra and Catuai varietal green coffee each year. Leonardo Red Salazar acquired his farm through inheritance many years ago. He grows Caturra varietal coffee on about eight hectares, producing 18,000 pounds of green coffee each year. Both of these producers work closely with Helsar micro mill to optimize their coffee quality. Helsar is well known in the specialty coffee world for its sustainable practices. Organic fertilizer is made on site from the coffee cherry pulp combined with molasses, mined zinc, boron, and other minerals. Microorganisms are cultured from soil collected on nearby mountains and added to the natural fertilizer in order to provide disease protection for the coffee plants. Helsar micro mill is deeply rooted in the local community and has taken actions to measure and compensate for its carbon footprint by planting trees in a local biological reserve and using low impact Penagos aqua pulping machinery to process the coffee cherry.”
“…Renowned micro mill Helsar de Zarcero has been providing top quality lots to Stumptown for four years. Nine years ago, Ricardo Perez, Marvin Rodriguez and Phillip Rodriguez opened the mill in Llano Bonito de Naranjo microregion so they could provide traceability and quality processing for their own coffee crops. Neighboring farmers began approaching Helsar to have their coffees processed since they could keep their lots separated at the mill. Helsar became the center of the micro milling movement in Llano Bonito de Naranjo by enabling small producers to receive higher prices for their coffees than at the local co-op. Traditionally, the co-ops blended all the individual farms together into huge homogenous batches with no regard to quality. The mill has worked with farmers, providing education and cupping opportunities in order to improve the coffee year after year. Today, the mill processes coffee from ten families in the surrounding area.”