Finca La Planada
Antonio Barantes Zuñiga
Lourdes de Cirri, Naranjo Zarcero, West Valley, Costa Rica
Located just outside the sleepy West Valley town of Lourdes de Cirri in the Naranjo Zarcero area, Herbazu is one of Costa Rica's celebrated coffee mills, having produced multiple Cup of Excellence winners over the years. As we strolled through the fields of Finca La Planada, pulling ripe cherries off the trees and savoring the sweet ripe fruit, Tonio related stories about the coffees, the varietals available and some of the challenges of bringing quality coffee to market.
La Planada is just one of the 13 micro farms that Tonio and his four brothers and eight sisters oversee and process at Cafeteleria Herbazu. La Plaza produces mainly Villa Sarchi and SL-28 varietals, along with small test plots of gesha. The fields are well kept and well groomed, demonstrating Tonio's commitment to producing top quality coffee.
While Herbazu is typically known for their Villa Sarchi cultivar, we opted for the gusto, choosing their limited edition SL-28 varietal.
While coffee originated in Ethiopia, it has been transported and cultivated across the world. In the case of the SL-28, it was developed for the Kenyan government in the 1930s by Scott Laboratories to develop stronger, drought-resistant and high producing coffee trees, with good cup quality. Scott Laboratories developed both the SL-28 and SL-34 varieties as derivatives of the mokka and bourbon.
While the SL-28 was, and currently is, a success on many levels, it failed to be the high-yielding coffee tree that the Kenyan government desired, and is also prone to the coffee rust disease and pests that plague coffee producers worldwide. This may not make the SL-28 sound like a winner but where this varietal provides some challenges to production, a properly cultivated SL-28 can deliver extremely desirable coffee. Where it doesn't make it being a high-yield tree, it more than makes up for it in coffee quality. And when brought to a country known for high-quality production and grown by a farmer whose focus is on quality, the results are amazing.
All of La Planada's milling is done by Cafeteleria Herbazu, just a stones throw across the road. A relatively new micro mill, Herbazu handles the entire spectrum of coffee production in small batches, maintaining a fanatical attention to detail and quality. Once harvested, the coffee is brought to the mill where the outer hull is removed and then the coffee is passed through a demucilager to remove the fruity mucilage pulp from the beans before being laid out on concrete patios for drying.
Herbazu utilizes both traditional concrete drying patios and African-style raised beds, depending the processing style they are going for. From the uppermost patio by the wet mill, you can see across the West Valley. It's a stunning viewpoint and I linger to take pictures.
Without a doubt, the SL-28 is a special coffee. So much so, that we're considering this a Vintage Year for our collection. On the nose, the SL-28 is refined and delicate with an aroma that reminds me of a nice Cabernet Sauvignon (Northern California, as I'm not well-versed in Bordeaux). In the cup, the SL-28 is light and clean on the palate with sweet floral notes, medium acidity, and a delicate and airy, light body.
2015 Herbazu Finca La Planada SL-28
Producers: Antonio Barantes
Region: Lourdes de Cirri, Naranjo Zarcero, Costa Rica
Elevation: 1600 masl
Harvest: February 2015
Style: Shade grown
Processing: Wet Process and Patio Dried
2015 Herbazu Finca La Planada SL-28
Whole Bean - 10 ounces
Please Note: Our Sproastery works on a weekly roasting schedule to provide the freshest coffee possible. Currently, our roast day is on Tuesdays. Our coffees are roasted on Tuesday and shipped out by Wednesday for weekday delivery. Please place your orders by midnight Monday night so that we can accommodate your order in our production schedule. Thank you.