Early January 2008, I visited Zamorana Estate in Costa Rica.
I bought a second hand camera for £50, a rock sac, a copy of the Lonely Planet and a flight.
I had been working for myself then for already 5 years and the feeling of finally being able to experience and learn at origin was so exciting, there is nothing like delivering a course back in the UK with your own pictures, films and most of all sharing your experiences with others.
After a 2 week tour around the country which has so much to offer in terms of vegetation, wild life and culture, I was on my way to meet Flori Marin from Mercanta and Jose Zamora on Zamora finca for my first plantation visit.
The farm is set 1350 metres above sea level, 2km from San Isidro de Alajuela.
The Zamora family has been growing coffee at the Cafatalera Zamorana estate for over 100 years and four generations. Jorge Zamora is now in charge of the family business, which he runs with the help of his five sons.
The estate is made up of some ten small farms dotted around the foot of Costa Rica’s central volcanic mountain range.
The farm produces an outstanding coffee with a laser sharp acidity which is balanced with notes of lemons, grapefruit and milk chocolate.
The fertile, volcanic soils and mild mountain climate provide ideal conditions for the production of specialty coffee.
I visited the estate on the last week of harvesting season, then the pickers remove not only the red cherries, but also the yellow and green to clear the bush. This will prevent the trees from diseases.
Only the red cherries are exported as speciality coffee.
At the end of the day the pickers are gathering their harvest which will be deposited and recorded.
A token will be given 1 – 1/2 – 1/4 representing the basket content, exchanged back at the estate with money.
The wet parchment is then dried in the sun on patios until it reaches optimum humidity.