“Our Workers Are Crucial”

Father and Son Honey

Spend a few minutes in Costa Rica’s central valley, looking up at Poás Volcano and watching a few horses graze in the shade of both indigenous and coffee trees. Welcome to Hacienda Sonora, the source of the May Coffee of the Month.

Honey process coffee

In natural honey processing, fresh coffee cherries are de-pulped but allowed to dry without washing. Letting the fruit pulp dry on the bean means that it will be physically removed during milling rather than first washed off.

Hacienda Sonora’s honey process coffee beans have been through a lot before Nicole Sauce sees them. After hand-picking, they’re float-separated. With the sticky pulp still attached, floaters are pulped and spread on patios to dry. Nine days later, they rest under cover for three days in an environment of controlled humidity, and then go to the dryer. Finally, the beans are run through the coffee mill.

By contrast, most coffee cherries are washed immediately after harvest and pulped before drying. Honey processing uses less water and retains some of the sweetness of the cherry: two factors that set it apart.

Hacienda Sonora

This batch of honey process coffee beans come from the western part of central Costa Rica, at the base of Poás Volcano.

It’s strictly high grown (SHG) on a family farm, headed by Alberto (father) and Diego (son) Guardia. With nearly 250 acres, Hacienda Sonora is larger than some recent coffees of the month, but it’s still far from a large farm. Nearly half the land is heavily shaded, making much of the coffee both high- and shade-grown.

Coffee trees share the land with exotic trees and other vegetation, and all plants have the advantage of the rich volcanic soil. The diverse ecosystem also is home to many different species of wild birds and animals, along with some domestic grazers.

Hacienda Sonora has a rich farming heritage. The micro coffee mill is built inside an intact traditional 150 year-old sugar cane mill and run with energy generated on the farm. In fact, the farm’s Pelton Wheel and natural stream make more electricity than the business needs, which is provided without cost to people who live and work there. The Guardias recognize the importance of the dedicated workers of Hacienda Sonora, also providing free housing within farm boundaries to all workers and their families that includies water, trash collection, some electricity, and health insurance.

If all this sounds good to you, join Coffee of the Month Club soon. There’s only a month’s worth of these beans in stock. We’re sure you’ll love the sweet, brown sugar, buttered toast, caramel, and raspberry jam of the resulting brew, no matter how you make that morning cup.