Carlos Pira. Costa Rica
Producer: Carlos Pira
Farm: La Pira de Dota Farm & Micromill
Region: Santa María de Dota, Tarrazú
Altitude: 1650 masl
Carlos Pira is the owner of La Pira de Dota Micromill, one of the first micromills in the region of Santa Maria de Dota, near Tarrazú. "I call him the scientist or the engineer of coffee," says Café Imports green-coffee buyer Luis Arocha. "He is always thinking of some ways to improve his mill, and his techniques are different from what we see typically in Costa Rica."
After harvesting the coffee, he puts the cherry in a tank with water, and leaves it overnight: The water is constantly cooled and circulated in order to maintain the cherry at a lower temperature. According to Luis, Don Carlos has a philosophy about the cold temperature making a sweeter fruit, using mango as an example: "If you grab a mango and you eat it at the ambient temperature," Luis explains, "your hands will get sticky and dirty with the juice. But if you put that same mango in the fridge, you can peel it the next day and it stays as it is, your hands stay clean." Don Carlos believes that the cold allows the fruit to maintain structure and lock in the sugar, and he wants to capture that to retain the sweetness in the beans.
Don Carlos has a dry mill at the farm as well, so he is able to do all of the production, from the farm level all the way to the green coffee.