West valley, Naranjo
raisin – jujube – honeydew
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Costa Rica has a diversity of climates that has led to a rich and varied coffee industry. Los Cipreses – two farms and a mill – is located in the West Valley, which is influenced by Pacific weather patterns and is consequently dryer than the Central Valley, producing a different coffee profile. Max Salazar runs the farms – San Cristobal (10ha) and La Isabella (13ha), named after his parents – alongside his two cousins and uncle Danilo. The business is named after the cypresses grown on a partnered farm that are sold as Christmas trees in December.
The way the farms are structured has resulted in a number of microclimates that require micromanagement, adapting processes for each slope and orientation. Winds are strong in the area (the region’s coffee was decimated by the 2015 hurricane Nate), so they have had to find solutions to decrease its impact on the coffee plants.
Before 2019, Max and his family used to deliver their cherries to a neighboring mill, but in 2020 they decided to process part of their harvest themselves (most of it is processed as honeys), installing a small mill and a greenhouse. Production since 2017 has been low, with the farms being hit by distinct climate challenges. Max doesn’t use herbicides and weeds are controlled with mulching.