COSTA RICA, OROSI VALLEY | 1150 MASL | MARSELLESA | NATURAL PROCESS
A proud partnership between Sustainable Management Services Costa Rica, Atlantic Specialty, and Coffeebar.
We're doing something different here, and we're pretty excited about it. The varietal of this coffee, Marsellesa, is a derivative of Sarchimor, a hybrid created from Robusta and Arabica parentage and with the goal of improving the plant's resistance to disease. With climate change and fluctuations in the global coffee market, hybrid varietals with improved disease resistance and yield can provide producers with more security in their economic situation (not having to worry about crop failure or loss of yield). However, in the past that may have meant a sacrifice in quality for potential gains in resistance and yield. The industry has come a long way though, and we've recently begun to see hybrids that confer benefits not only with regards to resistance and yield, but can also attain outstanding cup scores and distinctive flavor profiles. This coffee is that rare unicorn.
Back in February 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.
Which brings us back to this coffee. The primary goal of our trip to Costa Rica was to be more engaged with developments currently happening with regards to hybrid varietals, as this work may in future benefit coffee producers globally. Let's be honest though, we also hoped to source some great coffee. This micro-lot accomplishes both those goals. Not only is it a hybrid varietal, but it stood toe to toe with other traditional varietals that we had the opportunity to taste, and indeed scored consistently higher than many of them. Additionally, it was produced by SMS on one of their test plots, Río Grande de Orosi in the Orosi Valley. Being a natural processed coffee, the Orosi is bursting with tropical fruit notes and natural sweetness.
While visiting Río Grande de Orosi, we were inspired by the bright orange Poro trees that contrasted the otherwise lush green farm landscape. Also known as “Madre de Cacao” (“Mother of Cocoa”), Poro trees are often planted on farms to protect and shade coffee and cocoa plants. This design not only pays homage to the coffee producers but also the land itself that gives our coffee life.
Photos By: Atlantic Specialty
Design By: Coffeebar