These days, we're all about cold brew coffee. Hot and humid or cloudy and cool, the fact is it's summertime and we're drinking the cold stuff by the bucket. But let's remind ourselves to take stock of our pour over menu and remember all the greatness that single origin coffees bring to the table: a nuanced flavor exploration, an invitation to slow down for a second and savor. Contemplation isn't just for bleak winter days; the clear, cerulean skies of summer can provide just as good a backdrop for deep thoughts.
We've just gotten a coffee in from Stumptown that is an ideal summer Chemex sipper: Costa Rica Montes De Oro. The apple, chocolate and honey flavors this bean carries are super pure and clean, but in a mellow kind of way. Coffee with this kind of clarity can only be achieved through deeply meticulous farming methods and commitment to craft.
The producer of this fine coffee is the Gamboa family: father Tuto and his children Laura and Emilio (for an in depth history of the family's history with coffee, see here). The family currently owns four farms and a micro-mill, Montes De Oro, high up in the mountains of Costa Rica's Tarrazú Valley. For the entirety of their operation since 2006, they've been partnered with Stumptown. Emilio, who manages the daily operations of the company, is really particular when it comes to coffee production. His nickname is "Sangre del Toro" (Blood of the Bull), because of the bright red color of his farm's coffee cherries. Emilio also leaves a tiny bit of the mucilage (the sticky substance surrounding each of the two seeds in a coffee cherry) on the beans during process, which lends an extra shot of sweetness to the coffee.
At Montes De Oro, the Gamboa pushes for excellence in lots of ways: they pay their farm workers twice the going rate, roast and brew their coffees on a regular basis (a rare practice among growers), and take environmentally responsible precautions, such as reducing water usage at their mill. Much coffee grown in Costa Rica is known for being sub-par, with growers prizing quantity over quality. The Gamboa family and their beautiful coffees prove that so much more is possible with true dedication and care.
Want to taste the fruit of their labor and passion? Try a pour over of Montes De Oro, and find it in every honey sweet, apple crisp sip. Need a soundtrack to go along with your cup? Enjoy chill summer afternoon vibes from this awesome Costa Rican reggae band, Un Rojo: