GERARDO ARIAS, Anaerobic Natural
This is the first lot we have purchased from Gerardo and it’s a beauty! This stunning natural has loads of berry and plum notes with a rich raisin-like sweetness and a little boozy character.
CULTIVAR: Red Catuai
PREPARATION: Anaerobic Natural
LOCATION: Casa de Piedra, Tarrazú
ALTITUDE: 1,500 masl
The Arias family own and operate Finca Casa de Piedra and Café Directo micro-mill. The name Casa de Piedra means “stone house” and comes from the cave-like rock formations near the farm’s river where the first settlers in the region once lived. Gerardo Arias, a fourth generation coffee producer, manages the farm and wet mill whilst his wife Marlene is responsible for their roasting business and their daughter Jennifer helps with the administration of the wet mill and commercial operations.
In 1985, at the age of 15, Gerardo established his first coffee plantations in the town of Llano Bonito de León Cortés on a plot of land that he had inherited from his father. Five years later he purchased all 400 hectares of his father’s land, converting some of the meadows to coffee farms. Today, 70 of the 400 hectares are in production, while the remaining land is protected forest area. Gerardo estimates that 60–70% of their production is red Catuai, with the remaining 30–40% on renovated plots which are planted with new varieties.
Café Directo specialises in high quality micro-lots, all overseen by Gerardo who is a Q Grader and has also certified in coffee processing through SCA Costa Rica. This lot of Catuai coffee underwent an anaerobic natural process which Gerardo has been experimenting with since 2015, finally settling on a process in 2019 that he has used ever since. He chose to use Catuai for this process due to the quality of the results he produced with the variety. Cherries are harvested at 23 degrees Brix to ensure that the sugars are developed enough for the fermentation. Freshly harvested cherries are floated and washed with fresh water before being placed into sealed plastic tanks fitted with one-way valves. This valve lets oxygen escape as it is pushed out by heavier CO2 produced during fermentation, creating the anaerobic environment. The cherries are fermented for 62 hours before being rinsed one last time and moved to raised beds on the drying patio where they are dried for approximately 20 days depending on the environmental conditions