Oscar and Francisca are the owner-operators of the Beneficio Las Lajas; third-generation coffee producers, however prior to 2006 were only involved in growing coffee, not processing. Their passion for the coffee industry is evident in the care and expertise they impart in every lot of coffee they process. In 2006, Oscar and Francisca decided to start processing their own coffee and experiment with micro-lots.
Since establishing the Las Lajas micro mill, they have grown from an initial annual production of 25 bags, to an ever-expanding football field-sized drying area and an exportable volume of around 2000 bags!
The cherry or parchment is transferred directly to raised beds with 100% of the mucilage (the last fruit layer) attached to the bean. It will remain there for up to 6 hours to begin the drying process under full sun and then be transferred to covered patios.
The coffee is collected in sacks to extend the drying process while keeping the internal temperature low. The objective being to impart an intense, bright cup profile. It is a longer and more labor-intense drying process
The Las Lajas mill is well known for its unique and exotic honey and natural process coffees. In 2008 an earthquake hit during harvest; left without electricity or water for a week whilst pickers were delivering coffee, they took the risk to process the coffee in the natural style. The first reaction from local cuppers was negative, however, the international coffee community loved the profile and so it was decided to continue processing naturals.
Their process has changed and adapted over the years, and also prompted a trend in natural process micro-lots in Costa Rica.
What is Honey process?
Yellow Honey: 100% mucilage left on, coffee turned hourly on the bed
Red Honey: 100% mucilage left on, coffee several times a day on the bed (less frequently than Yellow Honey)
Black Honey: 100% mucilage left on, coffee turned only once per day
Perla Negra: Natural process, coffee is turned normally on raised beds
Alma Negra: Natural process, coffee turned only a few times a day on raised beds.