Country: Costa Rica
Region: Turrialba Volcano
Varietal: F1 Centroamericano
Farm: Aquiares Estate
Farmer: Diego and Alfonso Robelo
Process: Red Honey
Altitude: 1300 M
Certification: Direct Trade, RFA, UTZ, Carbon Neutral
Cupping Notes: Bright Acidity, Buttery, Salted Caramel, Walnut
Description: The word “Aquiares” means “Land Between Rivers” in the Huetar indigenous language. Water is abundant and presents itself in the shape of breathtaking waterfalls – mighty columns of water surrounded by undisturbed green.
The community of Aquiares sits in the midst of the farm and is home to almost 2,000 people. The town boasts a century-old primary school, a youth sports program, a recycling committee, an early childhood nutrition center, and a church built in 1925, which is a National Architectural Historic Monument.
In the 1990s, the farm began a campaign to improve home ownership in the local community. Each worker was given a bonus for their years of service and the farm gave assistance to people applying for government loans. Today 96% of the Aquiares employees own their own houses.
The farm and the community are mutually connected. The farm provides services, land, security and jobs. In return, the coffee farm has benefited from a well-educated and committed community and relies on highly skilled professionals from its community to continue functioning. Such a level of interdependence has helped contribute to the sense of pride that Aquiareños take in both the community and the coffee.
As the largest Rainforest Certified Coffee Farm in Costa Rica, Aquiares is a pioneer in sustainable practices applied on a large agricultural scale. In the past decades the farm has planted more than 50,000 shade trees, creating natural buffers around streams and water springs.
After much work, the Aquiares team has achieved carbon neutrality on the farm! They have generated an inventory of greenhouse gas emissions which reflects the use of petroleum products, biomass combustion, fertilizer and other emissions resulting from the farm’s operation; resulting in 1,000 tons of Co2e per year. ON the other hand, a Forestry Consulting firm has helped Aquiares measure the absorption of greenhouse gases by the farm’s flora. To do this, 50 individual growing plots have been established, where tree diameter and new annual growth is measured; the total absorption has been measured at 4,000 tons of Co2e per year. The Aquiares End Balance (emitting or sequestering) is verified by a certified agent under the IPCC 14065 norm. With this knowledge, Aquiares has become the first Carbon Neutral Certified farm in the world that is using its own forests to counter its emissions. Diego from Aquiares says this gives them peace of mind as they are part of the solution to Climate Change, a very tangible problem nowadays for coffee farmers around the world.