Hacienda Sonora has been producing coffee for five generations in Carillo, Alajuela, Costa Rica. Producer Diego Guardia, today at the helm of the farm’s operations, is able to combine the wisdom of his family’s history as coffee producers with a forward-thinking mindset. It is for this reason, the combination of tradition and innovation, that Ally Coffee counts Hacienda Sonora among its producing partners in Costa Rica.
In addition to running his family’s farm, Diego also works for CECA, one of the Costa Rica’s main specialty coffee exporters. This gives him insights into both the workings of a family estate with its own mill and the workings of the larger Palmichal mill, which also has a newer micromill within it for processing microlots from the community’s surrounding farmers.
Diego Guardia at Hacienda Sonora, scenes from around the farm
On Hacienda Sonora, Diego approaches coffee production from a methodical, organized perspective. The farm’s 100 hectares are split between a sprawling forest preserve, several hectares of sugarcane, and more than half in shade grown coffee. Because he knows the farm inside and out, as a result of growing up surrounded by coffee production, he and the farm’s team plant, prune, harvest, and manage the farm plot by plot, keeping detailed records of the agronomic and processing stages of all coffee as it is ready to be sampled to buyers.
This is where Bram de Hoog, Ally Coffee’s Central America buyer, comes in. His office in San Jose is just down the street from Diego’s office and the two are constantly in communication. Bram cups with Diego at his office and on the farm and follows the harvest and post harvest production processes closely. Through this ongoing dialogue Bram is able to select Hacienda Sonora’s ideal lots.
Unloading, measuring, and receiving cherries at the mill, bags of coffee in the warehouse
The farm has been focusing on Natural processing in recent years to reduce the use of water on the farm and to develop dynamic flavor profiles in the final cup. The farm grows both Catuai and Obata varieties and Bram cups through many lots to carefully select those to offer to Ally Coffee’s clients. Diego and the Sonora farm team maintain the full logs of each lot’s journey from the field to the mill and all the way to being sewn into sacks for shipment.
Each bag of coffee from Hacienda Sonora contains more than 150 years of history, but perhaps more important than the respect it contains for the past is the consideration the production process makes for the future, with the farm’s generation of renewable energy, preservation of natural resources, and minimal impact on the surrounding natural environment.