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1400 - 1600 MASL
Heinz Hoffmann, Finca La Margarita
Don Heinz is a coffee farmer in his 80s with an incredible story. Emigrating from his native Germany to Cuba in the late 50s, he was an engineering professor who taught under Fidel Castro’s regime. Spending the 60s living and teaching across Central America through regime changes and revolution, he settled down in Costa Rica in 1974. He set up Finca La Margarita in the Central Valley as an experimental farm whilst running an agricultural import business partnered with Bayer. Don Heinz runs the 10 H.A farm (of which 5-6 are dedicated to coffee) with 2 permanent staff, and will typically hire 4-5 pickers during the harvest season.
Remaining incredibly active in both community events and research, Don Heinz has worked closely with ICAFE, Instituto del Cafe de Costa Rica – the governmental body tasked with developing and supporting coffee production. As a result, the neat and tidy plots of Finca La Margarita, well managed with precise agrochemical inputs (using Don Heinz’s experience from working with Bayer) are used as by ICAFE as a model farm, teaching other farmers how to achieve similar results.
The quality standards at Finca La Margarita are exacting, and to take more control over his production Don Heinz has not only built his own wet mill for experiments in washed coffees, but he built his own dry mill for the hulling of naturals and parchment coffee, something very unusual for a farm of this size. Through this continued practice of quality, experiment, and drive, Heinz has placed twice in the Costa Rican Cup of Excellence.
This coffee’s story doesn’t stop there. Thanks to his relationship with ICAFE, Don Heinz was given early access to the Centroamericano F1 hybrid. The Centroamericano variety was developed in Costa Rica through a consortium of research institutes and is a cross between Rume Sudan and T5296 Sarchimor. By crossing two genetically distinct parent plants, the offspring receives a trait known as hybrid vigor – faster growth, increased yield, and increased disease and climactic resilience. The downside is that this trait is not retained through any future breeding. The F2 generation onwards may show any mixture of features from the original parents, which means that plants must be distributed from a nursery and cannot be grown from seed.
We’ve featured F1 hybrids as part of our offer , with our belief that they represent a small but significant part of the future of coffee. To cope with climate change and economic injustice, we at Caravan are committed to sustainable buying practices, supporting organic, biodynamic and ecologically sustainable agriculture, and providing a market incentive for the continued development of coffee varieties that are climate change and disease resilient with improved yields.
While Centroamericano is typically distributed and directed towards medium-elevation farms that feature hotter temperatures and more disease pressure, Finca La Margarita is located at the relatively high (for Costa Rica) elevation of 1600 meters above sea level. The combination of Don Heinz’ skilled husbandry with the higher elevation lets the potential of the Centroamericano plants truly shine. The ripest cherries are picked and left to dry on raised beds for 20 days, with continual sorting to remove any underripe or damaged fruit. The coffee was milled at Finca La Margarita before undergoing a final optical colour sorting at Tesoros de Café prior to export.
Caravan Coffee Roasters are proud members of 1% for the Planet. For more information please visit https://www.onepercentfortheplanet.org
For filter coffee, we always start with a ratio of 60 grams of coffee per litre of fresh, filter water. For best results with Heinz's coffee, try dropping the brew water temperature slightly to 92c and pouring slower for a longer contact time to really highlight the silky texture of this coffee.