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A Costa Rican Rarity: Las Duenas Coffee Finca

Owners: Ana, Dina & IsabelBy Gary Garrett

One thing for certain about Costa Rica’s coffee industry is that it is dominated by men. So what would cause three Portuguese women to move to Costa Rica, buy a remote coffee farm, and run it independently from the many cooperatives in the country?

“As young girls, we grew up on a coffee farm in Angola. When Angola became dangerous during their civil war, we moved with our parents to their birthplace of Portugal. We always had this dream of returning to our roots and owning our own coffee farm. When thinking about moving to Costa Rica we researched the possibilities for many months before finding a non-working finca at the optimum altitude and with the right volcanic soil and climate for sale” remarked Ana Gomes Da Silva, one of the 3 owners of Finca Las Duenas (Duenas is Spanish for female owner). They knew it would take a tremendous amount of work to even get to the point of producing coffee trees but it became their passion.

Looking at one of her “babies” (a healthy coffee tree), Ana, the company finquera, said the goal of producing high altitude, export quality coffee was a dream at first that has now become a reality.

Many brands found locally do not own their own farms and are basically dependent on their beneficio (coffee processor) and roaster to package the right level of quality they desire from other farms. In other words, they do not have total control of the entire process as Las Duenas does.

“ The three of us work many long hard hours to make sure our coffee is the best tasting coffee available to our customers here and abroad” she said.

Ana, her sister Dina, and their aunt Isabel live on the finca full-time and divide up the responsibilities from the actual growing of the plants to selling the finished product to stores, restaurants, and hotels in the southern zone.

Picking the ripe coffee beans , "cherries"The coffee trees produce “cherries” that when ripe are a bright red color. Inside the cherry are the seeds (which we call beans) of the coffee fruit. The larger the bean the better the quality of the finished coffee. The beans only turn brown during the roasting process.

Choosing the right beneficio (to clean and process the coffee cherries) and the roaster are very important according to Isabel who manages those relationships.

“ We want our strategic partners to have as much passion for producing the finest coffee possible as we do and to adhere to our commitment of environmental sustainability and making a positive impact on the local population” said Isabel.

Their Panamanian indigenous workers are treated with the utmost respect, given very livable living quarters and paid above the area standard.

“ We hired one of our workers’ own people full-time to act as foreman of the finca to insure we understand their culture and needs as a people” said Ana.

I recently visited the finca located at over 4,000 feet elevation on the slopes of the beautiful Talamanca Mountains and observe the entire process from picking the cherries (all done by hand) to the packaging.  No one could leave without being impressed by the commitment of the “Duenas” to their mission of producing and selling the highest quality Costa Rican coffee to both the locals and tourists. Tours are available year-round complete with guest accommodations.

Las Duenas coffee can be found in many local restaurants, hotels, and stores. If you would like to know more about where to find this gourmet Costa Rican coffee or would like to offer it to your customers call 506-8411-6168 or email [email protected]. You can visit their website for more information at www.lasduenas.com.

3 Responses to “A Costa Rican Rarity: Las Duenas Coffee Finca”

  1. Ana Gomes da Silva said:

    Thank you Gary for telling our story in such a true and beautiful way…

  2. Mark Gukich said:

    Where are you located. Can people come and purchase coffee
    and tour the plantion. Thanks. Mark

  3. admin said:

    You can find the location, directions & contact info on their website http://www.lasduenas.com.