Alejo Castro Kahle is a descendant of coffee pioneers in Costa Rica. He is committed to honoring the legacy of his ancestors through the continued pursuit of their aim — producing excellent coffees and making the family's name known for it worldwide.
To ensure consistent quality and make way for improvement every year, he is involved in every step of production, from the establishment of the coffee plants, cherry harvest, fermentation and drying, until dry milling and loading the greens into containers for export.
With 200 years of heritage knowledge in coffee, Alejo is vocal about soil health as the cornerstone of cultivating coffee trees that yield cherries with well-developed beans having the potential for complex flavors. He implements only processing innovations that preserve the integrity of variety while highlighting its most desirable attributes and reflecting its provenance.
Volcan Azul is the flagship estate of the Castro Kahle family. It spans 300 hectares on the slopes of the Poas Volcano, of which 60 hectares are planted, and 200 hectares are dedicated to conservation. There are 40+ varieties grown on the farm, of which Geisha, Typica, SL 28, Caturra, and San Isidro have won at the COE.
The H1 variety is a cultivar of Rume Sudan and Sarchimor, the product of a collaboration among the Coffee Institute of Costa Rica, World Coffee Research and CIRAD France. Rume Sudan was selected for its good cup quality and Sarchimor for its resistance to coffee leaf rust disease. H1 hybrids have been cultivated in Volcan Azul since 2011.
In the natural process, the properly ripe cherries, as determined by Brix measurement, are selectively hand-picked and then pre-cleaned and sorted through flotation. The floaters are set aside and the remainder placed in tanks without depulping. They are left to ferment for 24 hours, and then laid out on the drying patio.
Daily for 12 to 15 days, the cherries are stirred from 8am to 2pm to ensure even drying. Depending on the actual drying conditions throughout this period, the cherries may also be layered more thickly or spread out more thinly. At 2pm, the coffee is sheathed with plastic to keep the temperature and humidity at the needed levels.
As a result of traditional natural processing, this H1 lot exhibits a dark and rich sweetness with hints of tropical fruit.