Carlos Barrantes's family has owned and operated the Herbazu micromill since the early 2000s, and in the early 2010s, Don Carlos decided to go off and work independently, with a laser focus on the kinds of coffees he wants to produce. He and his wife, Diana, own five small farms and La Perla Del Cafe Micromill—"micro" being the key word here. Not only do the Barrantes only produce about 300 bags a year, their dedication to quality and incredibly high mean they focus on quality over quantity in all ways. They even work with the exact same group of pickers every year, a group of 45 indigenous people from Panama who travel to the farms for work every season, and with whom the Barrantes keep in touch, like family, the rest of the year.
These close relationships and exact practices allow them to work meticulously: Pickers focus on the cherry that's the color of sangre de toro, or "bull's blood," and Don Carlos and Doña Diana trust the pickers so much they don't even have float tanks at the mill. Workers and visitors alike are made to cover or remove their shoes before stepping into the drying area to avoid trailing dust and dirt, and the receiving and depulping stations at the mill are sparkling clean, as though they were brand new.
The Barrantes' obsession with details translates in the cup year after year. Why do they pay such close attention? "We are not just selling a product," says Diana. "We are selling a beverage that someone is drinking." The couple appreciates the experience that a very fine coffee can offer a consumer, and they want to ensure that every coffee that leaves the mill is memorable and remarkable in its flavor.
The mill produces mostly honey and natural coffees, and Carlos likes to experiment with different varieties: He currently grows Gesha, Villa Lobos, Typica, Villa Sarchi, and SL-28. (He was the first producer in Costa Rica to be given SL-28, and rather than hoard the special variety for himself, he has distributed seeds to friends and neighbors for the past few years.) Don Carlos believes that growing nontraditional varieties, in addition to focusing on honey and natural processing, will be what allows him to differentiate La Perla's coffee from others in the region.
Perla del Cafe is one of the most well-known coffee farms in Costa Rica for the top-notch coffee producing and unique processing technic. Although the processing is just called 'Yellow Honey', they do with their own special technic and methods which unlock new sensational flavour characteristics of the coffee.
How this coffee is roasted
To express those special characteristics, this coffee is light roasted but enough developed. This is to highlight its unique flavours but enhancing its sweetness and body so that achieving a great balance and rounded texture.
- Origin: Costa Rica
- Region: Huila
- Farm: Finca Flo del Cafe
- Altitude: 1,448
- Variety: Villa Sarchi
- Process: Yellow Honey
- Best Ageing Window: 14-21 days
- Best as: Pourover Filter, Espresso
How to brew this coffee
- Espresso: 20g dose, 42g beverage yield, 28s extraction time
- Flavour Profile: Dark chocolate, strawberry, roasted almond
- Milk: 23g dose, 44g beverage yield, 32s extraction time, 150g milk
- Flavour Profile: Chocolate, nutty, caramel
- Pourover Filter: 15g dose, 45g water + 30s blooming, 2m 00s extraction time, total 225g water
- Brewing Method: Chanho-Tornado (Click here to see details of the brewing method)
- Flavour Profile: Chocolate, stewed strawberry, macadamia, almond