Flavour description: The coffee has a crisp aroma of tropical yellow fruits. It is a sweet and crisp tasteprofile with flavour notes of mature mango, raspberry and a caramel-like sweetness, with a zesty zing that reminds us of tropical fruit juice.
Producer and owner: Carlos Ureña Ceciliano with daughter Ana Ureña Ceciliano
Farm: Finca La Pira
City: Santa María de Dota
Farm size: 7 hectares
Elevation: 1650 meters above sea level
Harvest: March 2023
Price transparency: The FOB price paid for this coffee is 8,05 US$/lb.
Don Carlos Ureña Ceciliano, who owns the La Pira farm in Dota, Terrazu, Costa Rica, is a unique producer. On his 7 hectares of land, he remains hyper-aware of what nature has provided him with and how he may use it to the fullest. For example, he creates his own micro-organisms for fertiliser and reuses byproducts from the processing station and dry mill to heat his home and fuel his depulper machine. His knack for science and doing things his own way make him one of the most talented producers we know, and the reason La Pira appeared in the Cup of Excellence.
La Pira is naturally processed, meaning the coffee beans are slowly dried inside their cherry on raised beds. During this time, the beans are covered or shaded to slow their drying even further and are regularly rotated according to a strict method and schedule. As a result of the longer drying time, which can take over a full month, the beans have a less fermentation-forward taste profile. But you still get a little acidic funk in there - think tropical fruit juice!
About Finca La Pira
On his farm, Carlos relies on fascinating mixture of science and biodynamic agriculture. Every morning he listens carefully to where the birds are singing, to gain insight into what's happening with his coffee trees. The location and behaviour of the birds can give him an indication of ripeness, flowering and even potential challenges in the plants.
Visiting La Pira and walking the farm, you never want to leave. While there it's easy to spend hours learning about Carlos's unique harvesting methods and also ruminating on his many special theories. Carlos’ daughter, Ana Ureña Ceciliano, is a great support and helps keep the family business on track. It's no surprise that these grandchildren also enjoy spending time at the La Pira farm.
After inheriting the family farm, Carlos worked for many years as a certified organic coffee producer. However, he eventually realised doing so was not feasible for his farm. Organic coffee is good, but it is simply not possible for everyone. Because his yield was severely affected by leaf rust a few years back, Carlos was forced to look for alternative methods of protecting his crops that still satisfied the organic and biodynamic principles he holds so close to his heart.
So now, instead of using chemicals to control the weeds, he relies on sheep to roam freely among the coffee plants and eat weeds (surprisingly they leave the coffee plants alone!). They also work as automatic and mobile 'fertilisation units' (nature’s a wonderful thing), which has eliminated the need for herbicides. This is yet another example of the clever thinking Carlos has about coffee.
Salary for coffee pickers are generally good in Costa Rica, but many farmers employ workers from neighbouring countries, who often accept lower salaries and work longer hours during the harvest. Carlos only hires local workers and pays them more than the government-established wages.
As part of our transparency initiative, we share FOB prices for all our coffees. This Natural Catuaí from La Piras coffee cost us 8,05 USD per pound.