They say necessity is the mother of invention. For the Chacón family, necessity was certainly the driving force in 2006 when Oscar and Francisca Chacón decided to build Las Lajas, one of the first modern micro-mills in Costa Rica. Located in the Central Valley region (encompassing the provinces of San José, Heredia and Alajuela), today Las Lajas is at the forefront of micro-mill processing trend in Costa Rica
Prior to building Las Lajas, Oscar and Francisca relied on large multinationals to purchase and process their coffee cherries. But the price for harvested cherry was not covering the Chacón’s rising costs of organic farm management and labor to harvest the cherry. The Chacón family needed the micro-mill to try and find a way to make ends meet.
Necessity struck again in 2008, when an earthquake cut off the Chacón’s access to electricity and water during the harvest. With no other way to process coffee and employees relying on Oscar and Francisca for income in a time of crisis, they did the only thing they could, dried the coffee in cherry.
Over the last ten years, the Chacón family has focused on balancing environmental impact with expressive cup profiles. The family farms have remained certified organic while processing cherry is always in a state of reinvention. Frequently a source of coffee in barista competitions and the Cup of Excellence, Las Lajas is renowned for its natural and honey processing methods, which are processes that greatly reduce water consumption but also require precisely executed drying protocols.