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Vertical Reserve - Hacienda Limonal

Tasting Notes: Red apple, nectarine, caramel

whole bean

Vertical Reserve - Hacienda Limonal

The Story

The Hacienda Limonal is in partnership with Sustainable Management Services Costa Rica, Atlantic Specialty, and Coffeebar

Back in February 2019 Coffeebar had the opportunity to travel down to Costa Rica with Atlantic Specialty, a partner importer of ours. Atlantic Specialty works with Sustainable Management Services (SMS), a sector of Ecom that offers agronomy and technical assistance to producers. In Costa Rica, SMS have taken previously developed hybrids and done further high-level experimentation and development of these varietals.

This includes maintaining test plots throughout Costa Rica and controlling for climate, elevation, and planting density, among other variables. Their work also includes developing fertilizers that are tailored for the hybrids and the region, a project that has seen significant results not only in improving yields and health of the plants, but also in elevating cup quality scores. All of this work by SMS then benefits not only the producers selling to SMS and Ecom, but also producers outside the network who can benefit from technical and agronomy assistance.

While the Hacienda Limonal is not a hybrid varietal (catuai is fairly common across Central America), it is grown on property managed by SMS. The lot was produced using Green Corp, these are organic grade (but the coffee is not organic) nutrients that have been formulated for each step of the production process. It includes 4 steps flowering, after flowering, growth and harvest. The idea with this maintenance pack is to give the coffee the exact nutrients it needs at the precise moment they need it. 

Additionally, the farm gives a 50% premium for the harvest of microlots, allowing a much better salary for the pickers, and they give an end of harvest bonus to all the pickers that stay for the duration as part of the SMS Specialty picking program.


The Costa Ricas we’ve had in the past (the Orosi and Finca Lucerito) were both natural-processed coffees, while this will be our first washed-process Costa Rica. Meaning the flavor profile will be rather different! The best washed Costa Ricas I’ve had tend towards a nuttier flavor profile, with an incredible sweetness, and this coffee follows that trend. There will be light fruit notes in there, in the vein of apple, plum, and stone fruit, but it won’t be a fruit bomb. There should be a honey-like sweetness, and a noticeable flavor of toasted walnut and almond. 

As a drip option, the sweetness may trend more towards almost molasses or caramel, and there’ll be a light note of stone fruit with a soft acidity and medium body. A pour over will show a lighter-body cup, and may allow a little bit more fruit and florals to appear, but with a bit more honey sweet. 

Regardless of brew method, it should be a very well balanced cup, mild and sweet with a rounded acidity. 

Greg Buchheister - Founder & CEO

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