The pioneering Ureña Rojas family of Café Rivense del Chirripó, led by Régulo Ureña and Isabel Rojas, broke away from the country's commercially driven mega-mill processing model in the early 2000s when they built the first micro-mill in the Upper Buenavista Catchment in the Brunca region of southern Costa Rica.
The move was a definite game-changer that gave them control over quality and the capacity to be creative to experiment and maximize the flavor potential of the coffees grown on their farm and their neighbors’.
Brunca is one of the eight coffee-growing regions identified by the country’s national coffee institute, ICAFE. It is dubbed the last frontier in the ICAFE publication Cafe de Costa Rica: Spirit of a Nation because it is the most remote of all the eight. Within it, the Chirripó micro-region has been gaining renown as a specialty coffee origin due to its terroir.
Located between the country’s two highest mountains, Cerro de la Muerte (3.491m.) and Cerro Chirripó (3.820m.), coffee farms in this area sit at high altitudes from 1300 to 2000 masl and benefit from the rich soils and biodiverse natural environment. All of these contribute to the unique microclimates that allow coffee trees to grow well and produce healthy cherries that capture the myriad flavors of the land.
The remarkable quality of Chirripó coffee had been recognized at the Cup of Excellence, when a honey-processed Caturra produced by Café Rivense ranked 5th in the 2019 competition. This recognition encouraged an increase in land planted with coffee and the cultivation of different varieties in the Chirripó micro-region, which is projected to continue for years ahead.