In My Mug

Episode 557: Costa Rica ARBAR Finca Manantial Red Honey

July 13, 2019
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When we found this farm for the very first time all the way back in 2013 we knew very little about it, so little in fact that the coffee didn't even have an official name! Back then all we knew was that the coffee was grown by a gentleman called Carlos Arrieta and it was really, really delicious! However, since then I've been lucky enough to visit Carlos on my trips to Costa Rica and, over the past few years, have found out lots more.

The farm is located in the Western Valley region near to the town of Lourdes de Naranjo. It's located at 1,600 meters above sea level and contains mostly Caturra, Catuai + a tiny bit of Villa Sarchi, there are also plans to plant some small micro lots too in the future. El Manantial is actually one of Carlos's four farms...

  • La Casa - mostly planted with Geisha and Kenya!
  • La Isla - not in production yet
  • El Oasis - slightly smaller than El Manantial and produces around 6,000kg of fresh cherries each year
  • El Manantial - around 3 hectares in size and produces around 8,500kg of fresh cherries each year (amounts to just over 1,000kg of green coffee when processed)

Carlos runs the farm with his wife and children, Maria Isabel, Yessica, Karen, Esteban and Jose Ignacio. He has owned this farm for almost twenty years but only started processing the coffee himself in 2014 (while still paying someone else to pulp it for him). He hadn't been able to present his coffee to a single buyer previously, so he would send it to the exporter we use in Costa Rica and, thankfully, that's how we found him!

The mill name "ARBAR" comes from the combined family names - Carlos ARietta and Maria BARboza - ARBAR. Their children are Yessica, Karen, Esteban & Jose Ignacio.

Carlos is very active in the local community and they have close relationships with their neighbours - which includes CoE winning mills like Herbazu, Vista Al Valle and Sumava. They operate mostly Organic processes, but aren’t Organic certified. They believe in the value of biodiversity on the farms and plants like fruit trees are positioned amid the coffee plants for shade and to help the soil - as well as providing food for the family. They have 1 full-time employee who lives on the farm.

Their latest project is La Isla. This small plot of land belongs to Maria’s niece. Carlos and Maria have agreed an arrangement with her where they will plant and farm the plot and share the profits with her, but this is still very early in it’s production life.

Activity from the Poás volcano at the start of 2019 has impacted the Western Valley region, really quite badly in some areas. Although ARBAR appears to have been lucky with this, we won’t know the final impact until next years crop.

In the cup this is super sweet but clean - think orange squash with some extra white sugar. There's a shoulder of peach too, before it changes into mango on the finish.

  • Country: Costa Rica
  • Region: Western Valley
  • Town: Lourdes de Naranjo
  • Farm: Finca El Manantial
  • Farmer: Carlos Arrieta
  • Micro mill: ARBAR
  • Altitude: 1,600 m.a.s.l.
  • Varietals: Caturra & Catuai
  • Processing system: Red Honey


Orange squash, white sugar, peach

Clean Cup: (1-8): 6.5
Sweetness: (1-8): 6.5
Acidity: (1-8): 6.5
Mouthfeel: (1-8): 6
Flavour: (1-8): 7
Aftertaste: (1-8): 6
Balance: (1-8): 6.5
Overall: (1-8): 6.5
Correction:(+36): +36

Total (max 100): 87.5

Roast Information
Medium - all the way through first, drop it right at the end of the gap.