union de cafetaleros
In 2006, nine coffee producers in San Isidro de León Cortez decided they would start their own Micro-mill and founded, Union de Cafetaleros (Undecaf). The Mill and connected farms are located high up in the famous growing region of Tarrazú, correctly pronounced “Tar-rah-zoo”. The Tarrazú coffee region of Costa Rica is also known locally as “Los Santos” because of its cantons (similar to towns) that are named after various saints. About a two-hour drive from San Jose, Tarrazú is filled with roads and coffee plantations that fill the mountainsides. The climate of Tarrazú is split into two well-defined seasons, rainy and dry season. The rainy period lasts for seven months (May to November) during which time the coffee plants are growing. Harvest time is the five month period from November to March that coincides nicely with the dry season. This well-defined climate pattern is ideal for growing coffee and results in high-quality coffee cherries that are uniform in ripeness.
Undecaf strives to produce some of the best coffees in the region, but also takes great pride in optimizing the renewable resources available in the area and minimize the environmental impact of coffee production. The Mill, recently underwent a clean-energy initiative. They installed 60 solar panels providing electricity to the facilities, as well as a small wind turbine to generate energy.
collaboration & quality
In 2017, we received several samples from Undecaf on suggestion from our exporter. These beautiful Tarrazú lots are initially dried in raised beds outside and afterwards moved to the controlled environment of their greenhouse. In 2019 we had the chance to see the processing first-hand, even at the end of the season we were able to see a clean installation working perfectly to pulp the cherries. The Undecaf farmers were happy to show us the process! Their Mill is located quite high in the mountains creating a relative cool micro-climate. You immediately sense the hard winds passing through the mountain side. The greenhouse structure is made more rigid and is able to let in the correct amount of airflow, however, each year they have to spend time in repairs to make sure the everything is kept in good condition.
These high altitude lots have a lot of sweetness paired with a delicate complexity, therefore forming a great addition in The Coffee Quest’s Costa Rica assorment. The profiles fit in between the traditional Classic and super fruity Micro-mill lots. The Washed and Honey lots from Undecaf provide the clean Costa Rica that people know, with a more accessible acitidy. Each year we have the pleasure to receive several Undecaf single farmer lots processed together at the Micro mill and always encourage customers to try them out together with us. Special mention to Christian Mora which lot we have had in the assortment for two years in a row.