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La Roca

A deep toffee sweetness, enhanced by careful processing, is joined by fresh and crisp notes of mandarin and vanilla.

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La Roca

This is our fourth year purchasing from the La Roca micro-mill, located in the Tarrazu region of Costa Rica at 1900 masl. The mill is owned by by the Umaña family, and nowadays most of the work is done by three brothers, Felix, Dario and Juan Carlos. They are the fourth generation of their family to work with coffee, but the road to this point has not always been smooth. Previously, the family were selling their cherry to a large cooperative nearby, Copa de Tarrazu, for a rather low price. Like many in Costa Rica, the brothers could see that they could take much more control of their operation by building their own small coffee mill. However they simply did not have the funds to invest in the infrastructure required, like a depulper and drying beds. So two of them made a big decision. They immigrated into the United States illegally and worked for several years in order to be able afford to build a mill, investing in the future. La Roca was finally built in 2014, the same year as our first visit to Costa Rica. Since then the operation has expanded, and the Umaña brothers feel a much greater connection to their coffee; they are able to cup the final results, searching for the best varietals and processes for the terroir of their small farms, and invest in quality, allowing them to demand higher prices for the micro-lots they produce, and keep more of the profit by performing more steps in the chain themselves. The youngest of the brothers, Dario, now wants to train as a barista and open a coffee shop in order to serve their own coffees directly, completing the chain all the way from tree to cup.

This is the same lot we have purchased from La Roca several times, a white honey-processed Catuai. This is one of the more ordinary varietal and process combinations produced at La Roca, but we find it delivers on so many levels. A deep Costa Rican sweetness, from well-grown raw material enhanced by careful processing is joined by fresh and crisp notes of mandarin and vanilla.

Costa Rica

We buy coffees from a long spine of Costa Rica, running through the country’s capital San Jose. This spine is famous for high quality coffee production the world over, resulting in high prices for farmers. One of the reasons for this is plentiful high altitude, the Talamanca Sierra runs through the region, with peaks of above 3000 masl. This spine is split into 3 regions, the West Valley and Central Valley to the north of San Jose, and Tarrazu to the south. In all of these areas, but especially in Tarrazu, agriculture and coffee growing is a main employer, vital to the economy. In fact, the population of Tarrazu is multiplied by three during harvest season, when workers flock to the region for the high wages paid to skilled pickers. The entire spine is mainly of volcanic origin, helping to provide fertile soils conducive to the production of consistently high scoring coffees, which we keep going back for. 2018 marks the fourth year we have visited our Costa Rican export partners at Exclusive Coffees, and the producers they have connected us with just keep on delivering excellent and transparent coffee experiences. Read more about coffee in Costa Rica, our relationships there, and the micro-mills that create such diversity here:


About La Cabra

A focus on raw material

If we don’t feel that a coffee suits our style or what we like to present, we simply won’t buy it. Sometimes this leads to issues in green buying; we have to pay very close attention, to a level of green quality that will support this approach, and to how this will develop over the life of a coffee. We are required to focus heavily on the freshness of coffee, both green and roasted, to avoid introducing taints into our cups. We always use clean and fresh water, of an ideal mineral content to present the coffee in its best possible light. Once we have the correct roasting profile, water, and coffee age, the act of brewing is much more simple. A wide variance in brewing parameters can still produce delicious and transparent cups. It is also important to note that this is not always the most consistent approach. The coffee is laid completely bare, so any flaw with the raw material is clearly on show. We could often develop some coffees slightly more, to make them more approachable or easy to work with, but wavering from our philosophy like this would compromise our commitment to complete transparency in coffee.

Read more


Producer The Umaña Family
Farm La Roca
Region Tarrazu
Altitude 1900 masl
Varietal Catuai
Process Honey
Harvest March 2019


With the honey process a certain amount of mucilage and pulp are allowed to remain on the coffee bean during depulping. The cover will stay with the bean during fermentation and drying thereby contributing to the sugars absorbed by the bean and affecting the flavour notes of the final cup. The amount of mucilage remaining defines the type of honey process - white, yellow, red or black in ascending order of mucilage concentration. If they are processed properly, the coffees can take on quite a lot of sweetness and flavours while remaining clean.

Raised drying beds (sometimes referred to as African drying beds) are often preferable when working with honey processed coffees, because of the additional airflow they allow. The air ensures that the beans dry evenly and reduces the incidence of fungi and bacteria formation. On the other hand, some farmers are accustomed to using sun-exposed patio drying that require a regular raking of beans to avoid moulds. While total fermentation and drying time depend on such choices as well as ambient temperature and moisture levels, red honey processing easily needs two weeks from depulping until drying has completed.

La Cabra

Brew Guides

You can brew our coffees any way you want it is just a matter of the right ratios.





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