Honour is a word that gets thrown around like a tennis ball these days. It’s often attributed to those exceptional occasions which produce a sense of satisfaction and privilege. I felt this sense of honour whilst in Sydney, when I had the rare opportunity of speaking to a coffee producer -via the telephone, while sipping on his award winning lot. It’s moments like these which embodies everything I love about coffee: “Connection”. For years now, Simon from ‘Reformatory’ has nurtured relationships with the highly esteemed farmers he sources coffee from. Through him, I was fortunate enough to speak with Francisco Alejandro Mena Vilchez- a highly regarded Costa Rican farmer from the Lourdes de Naranjo region, who recently received the highest score ever presented for a Cup of Excellence Costa Rican coffee. Apart from his fluent English, I taken aback by this charming man’s passion, and sheer delight that his coffee reaches so many people around the globe.
Francisco’s coffee speaks volumes for his dedication to producing the best coffee in Costa Rica. You may have tried his coffee in the past, from his other lots known as La Punta, Gillio, and El Tanque.
The Costa Rican La Ladera which saw him win the 2016 Cup of Excellence, is a H3 varietal. The H3 is a cross between an Ethiopian Heirloom and Caturra varieties. This particular coffee was scored over 90 points by all the judges at the Costa Rican event. As an ‘espresso’, this coffee justly shines. Being naturally processed, it’s inherently sweet, with flavours of citrus blossom, berries, and clean florals.
How serendipitous, that I should find myself in Sydney sipping on a coffee, while talking to the farmer who was standing in the West Valley Region of Costa Rica, tending to his crops. If ever there was a moment of pure honour, this was it.