Updated on December 06, 2023 - 2 min read

Our relationship with Costa Rican coffee producers, Oscar and Francisca Chacon, is really special to us. Since our introduction to Las Lajas in 2015, we have eagerly awaited the beginning of every crop year to source Oscar and Francisca’s coffee, and share it with you all.

The Alma Negra coffee exemplifies the Chacon’s commitment to producing amazing coffees. Along with the Las Lajas mill, the family owns 8 farms in the Central Valley coffee growing region. The area is heavily influenced by the nearby Poás Volcano, with high elevations, volcanic soil and ideal rainfall levels.

The husband and wife duo, Oscar and Francisca, were instrumental in the progression of the Costa Rican specialty coffee movement. Necessity bred more innovation for the family when an earthquake in 2008 wiped out electricity and water to their area during the harvest.

Unable to run the depulpers or to wash the mucilage off to produce washed lots, Francisca took inspiration from her knowledge of African coffee production and quickly built raised beds on the property. The attempt produced some of the best coffee that the farm had produced.

Word of their success spread throughout the country, and today they are known for producing some of the world’s best honey and naturally processed coffees. Since them, Las Lajas have been at the forefront of experimental processing and drying techniques - including heaping to slow down drying time, resting the coffee for a week in the middle of drying, or alternate intermittent moving of the coffee.

Alma Negra is a process developed by Oscar and Francisca Chacón at Las Lajas. This is a Natural process where the coffee dries inside of a greenhouse for 2-3 days while being moved constantly. It is then transferred to raised beds during the daytime to dry in the sun and returned to the greenhouse at night and piled up to slow down the curing and drying process. This is repeated over 20-30 days before resting for 60 days prior to export.

We were fortunate enough to visit Finca Las Lajas during a trip to Costa Rica in 2019. See below for what our Head of Coffee, Fay, had to say about her trip: 

With every new release of a coffee from Las Lajas, I get to travel back in time - back to March 2019, when I was fortunate enough to visit Costa Rica and meet the lovely Chacon family. It was an amazing day spent at Las Lajas getting to know Francisca and Oscar over coffee and cake. We listened to stories about their family’s legacy, cupped fresh lots, and toured their incredible facilities. 

Oscar, Francisca, and their children shared their time and space so generously and it was a day that I will never forget. Although I haven’t had the opportunity to return to Las Lajas since, we are extremely excited to support and connect with the Chacon family by showcasing this very special coffee.

As you might expect, this coffee is superb! The Alma Negra process has resulted in a rich and complex cup with notes of rose, passionfruit, pineapple and cherry. We hope you enjoy it just as much as we do.

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We pay our respect to Elders past, present and future, and extend that respect to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples.