The finch El Venado is part of the Cerro San Luis project in the Western Valley, near capital San Jose.
Cerro San Luis is the coffee project of husband and wife Alexander & Magali Delgado. Their micro-mill and farms are located in the small township of San Luis de Grecia, Alajuela province, Western Valley. In 2009, the couple built the micro-mill at Cerro San Luis in response to the coffee producing challenges in Costa Rica around the turn of the century. They have been milling their own coffee for a couple of years now. With every harvest, they gain more experience in the process. The Delgados knew they were on the right track after ranking in Cup of Excellence’s top 20 in the 2012/2013 season.
At Cerro San Luis, the Delgados experiment with varieties and different styles of processing. The farm has Villasarchi, Catuai and Caturra varieties. Recently, they also started with SL28 and Geisha varieties. Cerro San Luis coffees are honey processed or natural processed. They deliberately chose for these processes to reduce the amount of water needed for processing. For this style of processing, they use a Penagos machine for depulping. The machine allows different settings for mucilage removal, producing black, red, yellow and white honeys. Black honeys are closest to natural coffees with most mucilage left on during processing. White honeys on the other hand are closest to washed coffees. This approach to honey coffees is the interpretation of Alexander and Magali. Other producers worldwide may use other methods for coffees that carry the same name.
After processing, the honey coffees are dried on raised tables. Interesting to see at Cerro San Luis are the different techniques for drying the parchment. At the mill, they built different structures for gentle drying of the coffee. One of these are the bunk bed style of drying beds. Instead of having one level per drying table, these have two levels. The shaded first level of the table provides shade for the second. Because only the warm winds dry the beans, the coffee isn’t stressed during the drying process. Next to that, they have the “regular” beds for full sun-drying. Another option for drying is a sort of greenhouse. Temperatures are closely monitored here. When needed, the sides of the greenhouse can be lifted so cool air blows through.