When I got back to Xandari last year in June, I posted a couple photos of the Caturra plot, the Borbón plot, and the bagged seedlings. Since then, all the plants have grown quite a bit, and we’ve gotten a strong yield of cherries–and therefore coffee beans–even though the plants were only a year old in the ground. In fact, many of the plants of both varietals are experiencing a second round of flowers despite the dry season: climate change is putting the plants’ phenology out of whack, and so some shrubs even have cherries and flowers growing at the same time, which normally would never happen. The bees are certainly happy though!
With the fresh crop of coffee beans, we’ve been starting our new operation of shucking, drying, roasting, and grinding our own, 100% Xandari coffee to serve at breakfast. In both images above, you’ll notice the phrase “honey-processed.” This means that the sweet mucillage, or honey, that covers coffee beans within their red skin is left on during the drying stage, instead of washed off prior. This is an old practice that small-scale farmers use since it involves less labor (and water) and also gives the final product a certain sweetness or notes of fruitiness that coffee drinkers often find appealing. It is also the way that José Luis, the head gardener, grew up following when processing coffee on a family basis.
In a post next week, I’ll share more photos of the robust (but not robusta, since all coffee in Costa Rica is arabica) shrubs that we have growing in our “west farm” area, as well as an update on the brick oven we’re building here to roast our own beans on site, rather than at a neighbor’s house: