Hacienda Candelaria lies about 50km in North West of San Jose, near the town of Palmares in Alajuela, West Valley. The 60 hectare estate was established in 1965 by Otto Kloeti and still today is managed as family business. The family has a high drive to produce high quality coffee at a larger scale, introducing the Honey process and trying out to new varieties, such as: Hybrid Centroamericano and Geisha. The soil in the region is enriched with volcanic ash and organic matter which promote good distribution of the root systems and soil moisture rentention. The combination of generations of coffee craftmanship and an excellent location produce excellent balanced coffees. More than 70 percent of annual production is harvested from the highlands, at altitudes between 1300-1700 m.a.s.l., with average temperatures that fluctuate between 17-23C. Sunlight is stable and rainfall is optimal, providing the ideal environment conditions. People visiting Costa Rica are often happily surprised with the abundance of nature and respect for animal life. Many farms, such as Hacienda Candelaria are committed to cultivating high quality coffee in a sustainable manner. The farm has a large presence of secundary rainforrest, large trees that provide shade and limiting the amount of direct sun hours to the coffee plants.
The Coffee Quest is happy to be working with Hacienda Candelaria for the last few year. The last decade has shown a large movement of farmers leaving the traditional way of delivering cherries to the local Cooperative, but instead process their own coffee to find export markets. Driving through the regions such as Tarrazu or West-Valley show many new micro-mills on the side of the road. Hacienda Candelaria seems to be an excellent example of succesfully reaching this point, however, a step they took some time ago. The family and estate are very involved in the local community and have sponsored a school and soccer field, among other contributions.
The washed Estate lot from Candelaria is a perfect example of the Classic segment. Balanced and stable profile, with a quality price/point that becomes harder to find in Costa Rica. Overall we see the countries production lowering, resulting in higher prices and even the specialty grades following this effect. The cherry has been pulped and fermented in pools for around 36 hours, before fully washing off the coffee pulp. The result after drying (combination of patio and drying machines) a traditional clean washed coffee, but with an interesting fruity touch to the cup profile. The lot comes from a good altitude and falls under the Strictly Hard Bean (SHB with European Prep.). Candelaria has started to produce Honey processed coffee and even small quantities of Geisha, a good sign that they keep innovating.