Cordillera de Fuego S.A. is a coffee producer, exporter and roaster, located in Alajuela, San Ramón, Piedades Sur – Costa Rica. Before being registered with ICAFE, this highly modern business did not fully operate. They started their mill from the 2015-2016 harvest, reaching 13.570 bushels during 2019-2020.
Today, Cordillera de Fuego is a private company run by José Francisco Fernández Arias and Luis Eduardo Campos Varela, two coffee experts with more than 30 years in the coffee sector. From coffee production to processing and export, to the managing of other business activities such as livestock, agriculture and commerce, they both boast extensive knowledge of innovative coffee processes.
The goal of Cordillera de Fuego is to strengthen its position in the specialty coffee sector. The coffee is sold to customers in Costa Rica, England, Belgium, Bulgaria, Japan, Korea, Italy, Germany, Taiwan, the United States, and the United Arab Emirates.
Cordillera de Fuego has currently an installed capacity to process 32 bushels per hour, which means they can produce approximately 13,500 bushels per harvest.
They aim to innovate the specialty coffee process, so this means that to do that, they need coffees of different profiles.
The process of anaerobic fermentation starts with the selection of handpicked, mature super riped coffee cherries that have a Brix degree (a measurement of sugar content) near 26. The coffee is de-pulped and put in stainless steel tanks with limited oxygen. As the fermentation begins, the levels of O2 diminish and the CO2 increases, creating pressure in the fermentation tank. The coffee develops in a unique series of acids such as lactic and malic which will translate to a very complex flavour. Once ready, the coffee is 100% sun-dried.
The drying area has a modern automated oven using 95% of the biomass capacity by using 180 heat exchangers which will combust 100% of the husk of the coffee. This oven not only consumes less electricity and biomass but also has a double combustion chamber which will minimize air contamination.
Cordillera de Fuego has also a fully equipped laboratory for quality control and research&development of new coffees and processes.
Cordillera de Fuego is a highly innovative business, which could not leave environmental sustainability out of its agenda. About 100% of the energy consumption of the plant is indeed produced by solar panels and many other sustainable agricultural practices are implemented, such as reducing GHG emissions and keeping control of water use.
What’s more? 50-year-old trees are used as an organic fertilizer, providing shade for the coffee plants and lowering the average temperature at the plantation. In this way, they can optimize the use of fertilizers. Moreover, all coffee pulp is re-used to fertilize the soil.
The modern oven used to dry cherries gets 90% of its fuel from cascara, and its modernity lies primarily in the heat systems which reduces the GHG emission.
“All we are doing is not, for now, it is for the future, for the environment, for our sons, for the continuity of the mill. This is very important for the community here” – Don Luis.
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