It’s been a couple years since we’ve had this wonderful crop on our shelves. Coffees from the Herbazu Mill in the West Valley in Costa Rica are rich in history and flavor. “Herbazu” stands for Hermanos Barrantes Zuniga, which consists of four brothers and their sister (plus one brother-in-law). The siblings are third generation coffee farmers and together created the Herbazu micro mill in 2001. Their mission is to create the best coffee possible and to take the risks necessary to do so.
The owner of the micro mill, Antonio “Toño” Barrantes, has dedicated his life to the farms and is known as a pioneer of micro mills in Costa Rica. His grandfather, Don Leoncio took the first risk and made the decision to change his land from livestock to coffee growing. Since then, the family has been cultivating and creating some of the best coffee in the world. Manuel, Toño’s father, gave him the choice at the age of fourteen to continue schooling or take up farming. He entered the family business and was given his first plot to look after and hasn’t looked back since.
Coffee in Costa Rica began in the late 1700s and by 1829, the revenue surpassed tobacco, sugar, and cacao. The money from exporting coffee contributed to the modernization of the country. It helped build a railroad to the country’s Atlantic coast and construct the National Theatre in San José. It’s praised worldwide and sought after by many, including coffee giants like Starbucks.
By processing their own coffee they are able to retain more control of the quality and add value to their product. It also allows the production to focus on their product and avoid timing issues. The mill comprises processing machinery, drying patios, raised beds and covered beds alike, allowing the family to try different experiments.
Living by the mission of taking risks, Toño's influential experiment was importing 75 SL-28 seedlings from Kenya. SL-28, one of the most well-known and well-regarded varietals of Africa, produces some of the highest quality cups of coffee in the world. It was a prophetic move to import a different varietal with different tasting notes to the region. Costa Rica, like many countries, have expectations in the way their coffees taste. The risk and work have been paying off and in 2016 he was a Cup of Excellence winner. He has often come in top ten throughout recent years in the CoE, adding great value and prestige to the coffee.
Costa Rican’s are best known for their unique expression of design on traditional oxcarts which they have decorated with bright colors and geometric designs throughout the years. We’ve used this as inspiration on our labels as an ode to the beautiful country the coffee is sources from. Next time you’re shopping for a fresh bag of beans, we hope this eye-catching design will remind you of the rich culture Costa Rica offer and entices you to give Herbazu a shot.
Our price for this exclusive coffee reflect the limited quantity of the crop yield (around 50-60 bags) and high quality of the coffee. We were able to purchase one bag of green beans this year which means it will have limited availability that will be roasted by order.