AQUIARES ESTATE - COSTA RICA
Processing: Red Honey
Altitude: 1200 m
Cup: Stone fruit, Mulberry, Toffee
The name Aquiares means “land between rivers” in the Huetar indigenous language, and Aquiares Estate is commonly referred to as “Aquiares Coffee and Community.” It is the largest farm in Costa Rica and home to 1,800 people.
Milenio(which was an F1 hybrid) is a cross between Sarchimor T5296 and a Rume Sudan. It is lauded for being rust resistant and almost 30% more productive than Caturra or Catuai but with all their prized flavor notes, attributes first observed by Costa Rican researchers who tested the early clones of F1 plants on ICAFE’s experimental plots. ICAFE recommended this varietal for the terroir of Turrialba, where Aquiares Coffee has seen great success growing Centroamericano as part of its shaded coffee agroforestry system.
But let’s back up. Sarchimor is one of the “developed” varieties used to develop the pool of F1s. Sarchimor itself is a cross between Villa Sarchi and the Timor Hybrid.
Villa Sarchi is a naturally occurring mutation of Bourbon that was found in Sarchi de Alajuela, Costa Rica in the 1950’s or 60’s. (Similar to the case of Caturra, also a spontaneous mutation of Bourbon found in Brazil, the mutation resulted in a smaller, more compact plant that is easier to manage and harvest.)
The Timor Hybrid is a natural cross between Arabica and Robusta that appeared spontaneously on the island of East Timor in 1920’s5.
All wrapped up inside the genes of Centroamericano, then, are a Timor Arabica, a Timor Robusta, a mutated Costa Rican Bourbon, and a wild Rume Sudan. That is why F1 hybrids must be cloned: to keep all these genetic pieces intact so that each gene delivers its desired attribute — rust resistance from the Timor Hybrid, compact stature from the Villa Sarchi, cup flavor and shade affinity from the Rume Sudan, and high production levels from the particular arrangement of the above generated by hybridization.
Red Honey Process
The Red Honey process is when the coffee pulp is removed with the mucilage still intact on the outside of the bean. The mucilage changes colour as it dries and after a certain amount of time it turns a red colour, hence the name 'Red Honey'. It’s at this point the mucilage is removed by milling then left to dry on raised beds for 18-24 days. During the process, sugars from the drying mucilage are absorbed into the bean which gives the coffee its unique flavour profile.