Senel and Allan Campos
Chirripo-Brunca, San Jeronimo
1,450 – 1,850masl
Mango, Lemonade, Cream
About the Producer
The Chirripó micro-region is emerging as a prominent player in the specialty coffee industry, with its high altitudes ranging from 1,300 - 2,000masl, nutrient-rich soil and pristine environment. It is situated between two towering mountains, Cerro de la Muerte (3,491m) and Cerro Chirripó (3,820m), which creates a unique microclimate, providing healthy coffee growth and positively influences its production and processing. In recent years, the Chirripó micro-region has been recognised in producing specialty coffee, leading to an increase in coffee cultivation and the introduction of different varietals.
In 2014, Senel Campos founded Don Senel Micromill. In his inaugural year, Senel processed 300kg of coffee from Finca La Toboba. He ingeniously adapted an old hand pulper, fitting it with a motor from a washing machine and making use of the basic infrastructure already available at the mill. His first harvests garnered high cupping scores, motivating Senel to buy and process as much coffee as possible in the following years.
Today, the farm is run by Senel and his son Allan, who cultivates their coffee on an 8 hectare farm situated on the slopes of Cerro Chirripó, the tallest peak in Costa Rica. This particular lot of coffee comes from a small corner of their farm called Monos de Piedra. The name was derived from small stone figures on the mountainside, which resemble little monkeys. While the land topography is characterised by rugged and uneven terrain, the farm benefits from the nutrient-rich soils and the unique microclimate formed between the two adjacent mountain canyons.
The coffee itself is as incredible as the farm's environment. Since its humble beginnings in 2014, the micromill has undergone significant transformations. It now features raised coffee beds and a greenhouse drying area, as well as modernised equipment. They have shifted its processing methods from traditional practices to a more scientific approach. Variables such as pH and brix degrees are meticulously measured and tracked to exert precise control over the final flavour profile of each microlot.
About the Flavour
Caturra originated as a natural mutation of Bourbon in Brazil, during the early 20th century. While it exhibited good yield potential, its adaptability to Brazilian growing conditions was limited due to its susceptibility to pests and excessive fruit production over multiple cycles. However, Caturra found its niche in Central America, where it was introduced several decades later. Here, it thrives and displays favourable cup characteristics. At higher altitudes, Caturra's quality excels but demanding careful nurturing and fertilisation. It is known for its good cup quality with a potentially more pronounced citric acidity and a lighter body compared to Bourbon.
Caturra also played a significant role in the intensification of coffee farming through higher planting densities. While it was never officially released in Brazil, it became common in Central America, particularly Guatemala in the 1940s, with widespread commercial adoption taking place several decades later. Caturra eventually made its way to Costa Rica, Honduras and Panama, becoming one of Central America's most economically important coffees.
The Catuaí, a cross varietal of both the Mundo Novo and Caturra which has good cup quality and comes in both yellow and red-fruited varietals. The name “Catuaí,” originates from the Guarani term “multo mom” meaning “very good”. This hybrid is known for its compact size which allows for high planting densities, making it more productive than the popular Bourbon. While it’s characterised by its vigour and relatively low heights, it has a very high sus¬cep¬ti¬bil¬i¬ty to cof¬fee leaf rust. It was developed in 1949 and released in Brazil in 1972, where multiple Catuaí lines exist, some known for their high productivity. It was introduced to other Central American countries, specifically Costa Rica in 1985, playing a significant role in the intensification of full-sun coffee cultivation.
This specific lot underwent a natural processing method at the Senel Micromill. The coffee cherries are picked at peak ripeness, then floated and separated to eliminate any debris or defective cherries. They are the placed on raised coffee beds for 72 hours for pre-drying. Once the sugar content of the cherries reaches 25-28 on the BRIX scale, the fruit is transferred to enclosed tanks for anaerobic fermentation. This process is monitored by daily PH readings. Once an optimal degree of fermentation has occurred, owners Senel and Allan transfer the cherries to their slow-drying greenhouse, where the cherries are meticulously dried for a period of 30 to 35 days, with constant rotation every few hours to ensure an even drying. Once it reaches a moisture content of 10%, the parchment is transferred to their warehouse, where it undergoes a resting period of about two months before the final stages before export.
All this incredible work and meticulous care during the coffee production process comes together to create a truly exceptional flavour experience that offers a sensory journey like no other in each cup. Its flavour profile is dominated by refreshing and vibrant notes of watermelon, with a delightful sweetness akin to agave nectar. As you savour this coffee, take the time to appreciate its complexity. You may detect subtle undertones of a winey champagne, contributing an elegant and effervescent quality to the taste. In the lingering aftertaste, there is a hint of grilled pineapple, adding a tropical and fruity dimension to the overall flavour profile. The intricate and harmonious blend of flavours results from the passion and expertise of those who cultivated and processed it.