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Costa Rica began the formation of coffee cooperatives in the mid-20th century, and today it stands as one of the most well-developed systems in the world. When cooperatives are working as intended, they strengthen individual farms through education, infrastructural support and access to buyers, so that eventually the farmers can leave the co-op and operate independently and competitively. La Candelilla is a perfect example of this trajectory.
Named for its abundance of fireflies, La Candelilla is a third generation farm that we’ve been working with since 2012. It is a collection of nine smaller farms that are owned and operated by nine siblings. They all work together in every aspect of production and combine their individual harvests for processing at the micro-mill they built in 2000, giving them greater control over quality, efficiency and cost. As a micro-mill they produce 15-30 containers of coffee per season. (In comparison, our Salvadoran producers at Guadalupe and El Molino wind up with around 150 containers per season.) The coffees here are fermented in water—as opposed to the dry fermenting you typically find in Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala—and they like to leave a little mucilage on the washed seeds to make a more full-bodied coffee.
It’s quite unusual to see a farm where each member of the family is directly involved in everything from picking cherry to turning coffee on the drying patios to cleaning the mill, and on his last visit to La Candelilla our Green Coffee Buyer, Dan Streetman, was invited to pick alongside them. He was pleasantly surprised to discover that the farm—positioned on the eastern slope of a mountain—receives ample shade in the afternoon hours, but this relief was short-lived as he entered a losing battle with territorial ant colonies. By the end he had picked $2 worth of coffee cherry, ⅓ the typical bounty of an expert picker.
On a happier note, he got to sample some of their Geisha and SL-28 varieties with one of the brothers, Esteban, who is the resident “mad scientist” of coffee. Esteban managed the mill for years but he has since shifted responsibilities to his brother-in-law, Hugo, and niece, Marcia, so that he can experiment with new varieties and processing techniques to discover windows of innovation, with the perpetual goal of improving cup quality. Dan reported that the Geisha tasted like Jasmine tea, while the SL-28 revealed notes of fresh peaches.
The coffee we’re presenting to you—our exclusive Costa Rican offering for 2015—is a blend of Caturra and Catuai from all nine farms and you can expect a delicate sweetness with floral notes, a dynamic flavor range encompassing strawberries & cream on toast with dark chocolate, or perhaps a refreshing frozen beverage of grapefruit and sage. That’s probably why the Irving Farm team has chosen “Candypants” as its affectionate nickname. La Candelilla is a generously complex, good-time coffee.
NOTES FROM OUR CUPPING LAB:
Every Tuesday we gather the team at the Irving Farm Loft in Manhattan to cup our new arrivals. La Candelilla elicited the following descriptors—
Chocolate Toffee Crunch, Wowzers, Candypants
Add your own impressions below...
this was everything it was promised to be.
Available for limited times in small quantities, our carefully curated micro-lots are single origin coffees at their purest. Not only are the beans sourced from one farm, they're sourced from one micro-lot of land on that farm, ensuring a highly consistent flavor and experience. This is a wonderful way to sample the true, amazing potential of coffee. We've selected these lots despite their small quantity because we see something in them that's truly special--and we think you will, too.
True to their name, single origin coffees consist of beans sourced from a farm or community in one, specific region. Seasonal selections from around the world, our line of single origin coffees focuses on the highest quality product from coffee producers who take their work as seriously as we do.
Handcrafted from exceptional single origin coffees, our signature blends are carefully developed in our Hudson Valley roastery to please drinkers day after day, year round.
Offering exceptional flavor to coffee lovers who prefer to go without the caffeine, our Decaf selections stay true to taste with carefully blended, naturally water-processed decaffeinated coffees.
Select this option to receive whole bean coffee that can be ground to your preference just before brewing.
Select this option to receive coffee ground for metal screen brewing devices (e.g., French press).
Select this option to receive coffee ground for percolator or other similar brewing devices.
Select this option to receive coffee ground for flat-bottom filters, such as those used on automatic coffee makers or Kalita Wave brewers.
Select this option to receive coffee ground for cone-shaped brewers such as Melitta, Chemex, or any common pour-over cone brewing device.
Select this option to receive coffee ground for espresso brewing (e.g. espresso machine or stove-top Moka pot).
12oz per week (About enough coffee to brew 10 cups each week.)
12oz every two weeks (About enough coffee to brew 5 cups each week.)
12oz each month (About enough coffee to brew 2 to 3 cups each week.)