A recent movement in the last 15 years in coffee has been investment by smallholder farmers in a micro-mill processing plant. These micro-mills are ecologically friendly (using much less water for processing coffee), and they are designed for a group of smallholder farmers to make a moderate investment allowing them to process their own coffee in close proximity to their own farms. The micro-mill movement has allowed farmers to take control of a key step in the process, the processing of the fruit (highly perishable) to a green bean (stable and ready for market). Micro-milling raises the quality of the cup, and the value of the coffee. Thrive Farmers partners with micro-mills to bring new markets to reap the reward of the micro-mill investment.
Don Mayo is a micro-mill in San Marcos in the Tarrazu region of Costa Rica. The Bonilla Family are the coffee producers who are on the cutting edge of new processing technologies at origin including THRIVE Farmer’s recent introduction of a new drying technique called SloDry.
Inspired by the Colombian drying process in which the coffee is placed on tiered parabolic drying beds, the SloDry innovative system utilizes airflow and natural temperature fluctuations for control during a three-tier drying process. Instead of stopping the process like with conventional drying, the sugars are allowed to develop, which impacts the final experience in the cup.
Through micro-mills like Don Mayo, coffee innovation and new quality techniques are being developed at origin level which is transferable and shared into the THRIVE Farmers network in order to provide tools for the producer to achieve a high-quality product.