Marvin Robles

Picks and processes coffee at a micromill in his backyard

Elevation:

1500 - 1600 masl

Partnered with Stumptown:

2010

Varieties:

Bourbon, Caturra

Processing technique:

Washed

The Producer

Marvin Robles is a smallholder coffee producer who lives and farms in Costa Rica’s renowned Tarrazú region. His farm is nestled within an idyllic area filled with family-owned farms and lush, high-altitude forest.

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The Place

Frailes, in Costa Rica’s Tarrazú Valley, has the distinction of being one of the best microclimates to grow coffee. Marvin’s farm is nestled within an idyllic coffee farming region, with family-owned farms growing alongside lush, high-altitude forest.

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The Process

Marvin does it all on his farm. He grows and nurtures coffee trees on a beautiful, verdant slope behind his house. All processing happens in his tidy garage, with a hand-cranked micromill that has a small engine attached to use when his arms get too tired.

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More Details

Marvin Robles, a smallholder coffee farmer, lives on top of a hill surrounded by his two acre farm, Juan Pablo, which he named after his son. In the new era of the Micro Mill Revolution in Costa Rica, Marvin Robles is as micro as it gets. He cultivates and harvests his coffee right outside his house. His Penagos 500 is capable of depulping less than ten bags of coffee a day. That’s nothing. It’s almost as if Marvin was yanked straight out of Pedregal de Inza de Cauca (La Piramide) or even East Africa, based on his scale of production.

In 2009, after many years of sending his coffee cherry to the local cooperative to be mixed in with hundreds of other coffees, Marvin decided to start milling coffee cherry on his own. As an artisan, he focused on care and commitment to quality. He carefully handpicks the coffee cherry, brings it to his living room to be manually depulped, fermented in plastic buckets, washed in other plastic buckets and then dried on two raised beds that cover Marvin’s entire front yard. The parchment is then stored in his guest bedroom until it is ready for exporting.

Marvin brought select neighboring producers within the community of Frailes together as part of his boutique coffee project to allow them the opportunity to receive a better price. He processed their high quality coffee at his micro mill. He shines as an example of a producer who strives to obtain the best of the best.

Recently, Marvin witnessed many other farmers in Frailes suffering from leaf rust in the lower altitudes. He had no damage; he worked hard performing early pruning to ensure healthy plants during this crisis. He also experimented with honey process for the first time a couple small lots to see what cup qualities he might discover.