The family coffee business behind the Don Oscar farm and wet mill, now managed by brothers Horacio and Alejandro Solís, is in its fifth generation. Their father, Oscar Solís, a lifelong coffee farmer and community pilar, was instrumental in the building of the family’s own processing site, in 2013. Since Don Oscar passed away, the brothers have remained stewards of the family coffee legacy, albeit in brand new directions. With a management team entirely of extended family and a staff of 75 to manage the 60-hectare estate, the Solís brothers are now in charge of a large portfolio of coffees designed entirely by themselves and guided by generations of experience.
Costa Rica has been well-known for many years for having large, stable, supportive cooperatives and an environmentally-friendly agricultural sector. Despite the benefits of cooperative farming, a “micro-mill revolution” began in Costa Rica in the early 2000s, as small-scale centralized processing sites began emerging on family estates. This local entrepreneurship and access to select farms created a brand new market for Costa Rica. Individual farms became new brands, competition increased, higher prices ensued, and a range of cup profiles that Central America hadn’t seen before suddenly renewed the roasting world’s appreciation for Costa Rica’s potential. Exclusive Coffees is an exporter focused solely on quality assurance, marketing, and logistics for so-called “micro-mills”, and has deep relationships throughout Tarrazú as well as the West and Central Valleys, and Chirripó.
Coffee is a year-round effort for the entire family and one that requires rigid consistency according to their standards. The Don Oscar farm is planted entirely in coffee and receives soil analyses annually, as well as foliar feedings to maintain plant stability. The family has employed the same pickers, a group of indigenous families from Panamá who come to Costa Rica for work, for over 10 years in a row, and whose experience they value greatly. Processing equipment is regularly calibrated by local experts, and drying is managed using a system of patios, raised beds, and mechanical dryers, for the purpose of keeping drying times slow and consistent regardless of local weather patterns. The overall goal, according to the Solís family, is for each coffee that will be sold to be perfectly controlled from seed all the way to final moisture, so as to guarantee that the “life of the bean”, as they put it, will be as long as possible for their buyers.
The Solís brothers are planting gesha, pacamara and java varieties of coffee for future micro-lot projects. All of which we can expect to be perfectly executed, no doubt.