Costa Rica Hacienda La Minita
Hacienda La Minita’s lovely estate is located south of San Jose, Costa Rica in the “Los Santos” coffee producing zone, in the region of Tarrazú. The flavor profile of La Minita is a bit different than other coffees from this region due to the geography and microclimate of the estate. There are 1,200 acres of land with 800 acres currently being used for production. Of the remaining acres, 200 are set aside permanently as a natural forest preserve. The estate lays on a east-west axis, bordered by the Tarrazú river to the south and the Candelaria river to the north, which meet at the western base of the mountain. The central area of the farm lies between altitudes of 3,750 and 5,000 feet. The cooling effect of the river flows bordering the farm help keep the mean temperatures consistent and with the farm facing west the coffee trees also go through a gradual warming in the morning and slow cooling in the evening. These natural factors help create a consistent development of the coffee cherries.
The farm follows specific procedures for managing the coffee trees. There are about 2,500 trees planted per acre depending on location on the farm. They use a selective pruning system to maintain the health and productivity of the trees. Individual trees are pruned every five years to encourage new growth and a year later the tree is shaped. Each year they prune about 350,000 trees with all work being done with hand tools for precision. Trees reach their exhaustion point after 15 to 20 years and are replaced with nursery trees transplanted from a small, protected area of the farm. Shade trees are planted in different degrees of density depending on light and temperature control needs for each individual section of the farm. La Minita produces one crop each year with the growing cycle beginning with the first rains of the year. Complex drainage channels throughout the planted terraces, along with a lot of man power, are used throughout the rain season to control soil erosion and maintain the important road system of the farm.
La Minita has 80 core employees and adds about 150 laborers for weed control and over 600 pickers for harvesting. Workers of the farm are actively supported in all aspects of their lives, including housing, savings plans for retirement or for large purchases, funds for sports programs like soccer teams for adults and kids, an at cost commissary for basic needs, fruit trees of the farm, medical and dental clinics and hospital care for serious illnesses.
The Kaffeeklatsch owners had an excellent visit to the farm in 1999 and were able to witness first hand the attention to detail the whole team there uses to create this wonderful coffee. If you’d like to read more about the meticulous processing of Hacienda La Minita’s coffee, check out this profile about Beneficio Rio Tarrazú, their coffee mill located just across the Tarrazú river from the farm.
Elegant, balanced, and refined. This internationally known single-estate coffee is always a good crop with its bright acidity, medium body and sweet flavors of citrus, caramelized sugar and fine chocolate. A lovely symphony of flavors, and so well balanced it’s pleasing to almost any coffee drinker!