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What you should know about DON EVELIO COSTA RICA TARRAZU COFFEE and the valley where it is located

The following article was composed from customer comments and the idea of a few to produce it. If you have any questions or comments about it, please let us know.

We hope you enjoy it and that it will help you make a smarter decision.
Are you looking for a low cost Costa Rica Tarrazu gourmet coffee? If so, beware of companies using the "too much for too little" tactic to grab customers. It might end up being more of a headache in the long run, specially for small coffee houses willing to establish themselves in the gourmet coffee niche market.
Such tactic involves creating product packages that include everything under the sun for a very low price. Strictly Hard Bean coffee, organic Estate coffee, certificate of origin, hand-picked beans, fair trade, etc, you name it. These "Tarrazu" coffees can be purchased for less than $10 and we've even seen them for as low as $3!
Well, if you find one like that, remember: "you get what you pay for".

Here's why coffee roasting companies offering such products don't last long or provide bad coffee beans and service:

Providing cheap "gourmet" Tarrazu coffee means that:

The coffee roaster will need to buy more Tarrazu specialty coffee beans. Some coffee roasters, specially the ones who widely distribute in a massive scale, demand a lot of coffee beans and resources. If the coffee roaster wants to provide an increasing amount of Tarrazu coffee bags to their markets, they will be forced to invest in more gourmet coffee beans, which are not cheap. That also means that they will need more coffee masters (which are not paid minimum wage!) to handle the increase in batches and to monitor the quality risks and load those extra bags will produce.
The coffee roaster will have to increase quality control and customer service staff if they want to guarantee replies to customer's problems within hours. Questions from customers trying to track shipments account for more than 30% of all issues at customer service support, however, they take four to five times longer to solve than other issues.
Providing other features like special roasting requirements will produce the same effect as the shipment tracking does. Special roasting requirements consumes a lot of our time, so more hours at the roaster will be needed.

Unlimited gourmet coffee origins? Coffee blends? Varieties?

There is nothing unlimited about specialty coffee. The farms at the gourmet coffee growing valley of Tarrazu don't have unlimited capacity to yield unlimited green coffee beans, and coffee mills and roasters don't have unlimited capacity. Costa Rica Tarrazu coffee production is quite limited indeed. There is really no such thing as unlimited Tarrazu specialty coffee supply.
In the coffee industry, the increase in staff and milling roasting capacity with such low profit is not enough to provide a good service. Either they won't have enough staff to reply to customer's purchase orders and inquiries fast, or the roasting equipment will be overloaded.

Case study:

a few years ago, a well known coffee roaster invested millions in advertisement offering cheap gourmet coffee for $3.00 per 1 lbs bag. They quickly grew to more customers they could handle. Today, they are almost bankrupt. Here's what some of their ex-customers told us:

Their mill and roasting equipment, with single-origin coffee beans, less than 10 people helping in the operation and no appropriate storage facilities were selling thousands of pounds of coffee. They could not afford the extra gourmet coffee beans needed to cover demand. Their roasting equipment was always way above the load average. A load above average will result in lousy coffee roasting performance. Anything higher will result in a drastic drop in quality and output performance.
Their customer service staff replied to emails 36-48 hours later. Their replies were useless, they would blame problems on the customer or reply with more questions to figure out the problem, with another reply coming in 36-48 hours later. At typical reply time is 12 hours.
These days, they are trying to survive. They increased their prices and eliminated many customers to try to improve their "gourmet" coffee offerings.
At Tarrazu Cafe, Costa Rica Tarrazu coffee bags are shipped after a careful quality control process is made. The result is a financially stable company that has enough revenue to invest in infrastructure and the right personnel.
You might find lower prices than at Tarrazu Cafe, however, is it really worth paying less?

Customer service at a coffee roasting company is something that varies greatly among roasteries. On some, their coffee is great but their personnel is poorly trained, on others, they are well trained but are sourcing from the wrong coffee dealers and in others, there just isn't either good coffee and trained personnel.
If you see a company charging too little for their services, it's probable that they have to keep costs down to be able to make a profit. As you know, the first thing that gets cut down on a company with little profits is personnel, so it's very likely there won't be enough staff, thus, your gourmet coffee won't ship on schedule and problems won't be solved fast.
Check the company's "job application" section, if they have any. If their requirements for a coffee master position is just "experience with using a coffee roaster", stay away. They will train the coffee master to fix simple problems and won't be able to handle the hard stuff. By experience, they will just pass your problem from one person to the next in the usual ping-pong manner. It will most likely take days to find someone to solve it as their high level coffee cupping support staff will probably be overworked.

Are you looking for toll free customer service support, 24/7 with highly experienced people at all times? Then don't look for that on cheap "gourmet" coffee roasteries. Here's why:

Highly trained people don't get paid the minimum wage.
The toll-free number is free for you, but not for them. Remember that the company pays the long distance expense of your call to their toll-free number.
If they want all calls to be responded to within minutes, they need an excess of staff to handle peak call periods. Thus, more staff is needed.
A phone network is not cheap. Each line can average up to $1,000 dollars to set up.
If you are promised all of that, and you will be paying less than $10 per pound of coffee, they are probably lying to you. Most often, the person answering your call is at minimum wage and is poorly trained and is just following a flowchart like those you've seen on most manuals. "Is your coffee maker connected?". "Is the light blinking?". "Are you introducing your roasted whole beans or ground coffee to the machine correctly". Then the flowchart continues based on your replies. At the end, if the flowchart won't solve it, they'll put you on hold for a long time until a higher level "coffee master" or "barista" person takes care of you.
At Tarrazu Café.com, our customer service staff must already have experience with just about everything, even coffee farming and green coffee processing at the mill. They can usually answer your questions within just minutes.

most coffee roasters take too long to reply and work on problems presented by a customer. Make sure they guarantee fast response times for all service requests.
It's quite common for coffee roasters to claim to have several coffee origins, including gourmet Tarrazu coffee, to offer. Some origins are extremely difficult to get. The fact is, some coffee roasters and coffee houses don't have them. Ask them where their so called Tarrazu coffee originates and they will tell you the beans where bought from a shady coffee broker who got it from somewhere South America.
For example, a coffee roaster warehouse can carry around 45 single-origin coffees at a given moment. Tracking and labelling every pound becomes quite a logistics nighmare is you are not prepared. Adding to that, for each origin there are certain quality grades that must have some tracking control system to avoid confusion. We at, carrying Tarrazu specialty coffee only, have to be extremely careful at classifying and providing adequate storage facilities to our green coffee. Most coffee roasters don't even have the facilities and logistics/storage capacity to handle a diverse inventory, yet they claim they have over a hundred single-origin coffees which amount to hundreds of extra hours in dealing with control processes and logistics problems. Most likely you will end up buying a "Tarrazu gourmet coffee" which came from a Brazilian green coffee bag! A coffee roaster cannot be everything to everybody. The art of gourmet coffee it is more than just roasting. It takes great care to deliver a good coffee.
If a coffee roaster offer even more than 5 single-origin coffees with their respective quality grades, it makes no difference what they tell you, they have probably a mess in their green coffee storage room. Whether they are expert coffee connoisseurs or not. They will still have to deal with this storage problem. It won't be easier.
Now, imagine the scenario where a coffee roaster or green coffee broker claim to provide multiple single-origin coffees (All should come from multiple sources and brokers, since one single-origin coffee will usually be traded by the coffee farmer representative directly.). Do you believe a coffee roaster or green coffee broker will really provide ALL the coffees they claim to carry if they have three people in charge of the operation? when they are just simply lying to you?
So, don't believe the hype. It makes no difference if a coffee roaster of green coffee broker offers you everything under the sun if they really don't have the facilities and expertise to do it.
Fact: only about 5 coffee roasting companies and green coffee brokers in the USA actually provide all single-origin coffee, and not all can be safely labelled "gourmet coffee."
Ask and beware: ask how many single-origin gourmet coffees a coffee roaster or green coffee broker actually provide out of their current inventory and facilities to make a real estimate of their service. We at, Gourmet Costa Rica Tarrazu coffee is what we are and are happy to provide. We are lucky to work with one of the best single-origin coffees and we focus only on Tarrazu Costa Rica coffee to do it right and wholly satisfy our customer.

Even if a coffee roaster have inventory availability and storage capacity at the roastery, inventory back ups are important.

Tarrazu Café does have backups 2-3 times the demand quantity. Our brands are backed by a unique coffee estate in Costa Rica: the Don Evelio Costa Rican Tarrazu Coffee Estate located at the more remote higher altitude lands up the basin. Thus, we are not like other coffee roasters who depend on slow, unreliable, questionable sources for their coffee beans. We are headquartered at the heart of Costa Rica Tarrazu coffee country: San Marcos de Tarrazu.
Ask and beware: First, most coffee roasters do not have enough green coffee backups. When they face a peak in demand they lose customers due to supply failure, it takes days to source the needed green coffee beans. Sometimes, they do have an inventory backup, but an old backup that might be 2 to 3 years old. And believe us, this has happened on even the biggest coffee roasters. Make sure they do have current coffee crop inventory backups, have the ideal storage facilities to prevent green coffee quality loss due to over exposure to climate conditions, and ask whether they use faster, more reliable sources for inventory backups.

A coffee roasting equipment's performance is just the beginning. Besides green coffee inventory and production, the ability to ship fresh roasted, premium, 100% pure certified tarrazu specialty coffee is one of the main elements to be analyzed when choosing a coffee roaster.

Myth and hype: Many coffee roasters claim that their "Tarrazu coffees" are indeed Tarrazu because they are certified. Don't be fooled by this. There is still no organization capable of certifying Tarrazu coffee, although we Tarrazu coffee farmers in the valley are working hard to create the Tarrazu Specialty Coffee Association which eventually will fill the vacuum, much like the Kona Coffee Council does in Hawaii.
Even if their coffees are great, a 1 lbs, $3 Tarrazu coffee bag is more likely to be a counterfeit Tarrazu coffee. As for the coffee industry, it might be a great coffee, but as for being truly Tarrazu coffee, it is way too cheap, its is of low quality when compared to the real beans, and it behaves differently when roasted. The good thing is, sooner or later there will be an entity that would help the Tarrazu coffee farmers certify their coffee as Tarrazu. Farmers like ourselves are getting more presence in the coffee scene and the coffee connoisseur are getting to know us better. We are in a unique position, since our coffee farming and roasting operation is located right at the heart of the Costa Rica Tarrazu Coffee Valley. We are THE Tarrazu farmers, roasting our own crop and exporting to our clients worldwide. Operating from the origin and our truth in labelling is what is making the gourmet coffee connoisseur buying from us.

The truth: Buying from the Costa Rica Tarrazu Coffee farmers directly is the only way to 100% guarantee you are getting the real Tarrazu coffee beans. Origin and Quality certification by a third party will eventually come. As of Today, however, no one, other than the Tarrazu coffee farmers in the valley themselves, can certify coffees as 100% Tarrazu.
Serving the highly competitive specialty coffee market is a task that consumes a lot of energy and resources. Authenticity and truth in labelling is key to survive these days.

Ask and beware: Always ask a coffee roaster what kind of coffees they are serving. Make sure to ask them details of the coffee farmers, their farms, their coffee appellation name, their country. Ask them all these questions for two reasons: Truth in labelling: the fact that to have coffee appellations such as Tarrazu in their offerings, the coffee roasters must know all the details of the land and country that supply the coffees. Beware of coffee roasters that spend too much money on coffee appellations they really don't know in detail. Also, some coffee roasters with less powerful marketing muscle will claim they source from an unknown coffee broker who they trust. Don't listen to that! The true Tarrazu gourmet coffee suppliers who will deliver the real Tarrazu gourmet coffee to your home or business are the Tarrazu farmers themselves. is the best avenue you can take to source from the gourmet coffee farms in the Tarrazu valley directly.

It is important that your coffee roaster has a clear and detailed Service Level Agreement. First, because you need to protect your investment, specially if you are a reseller. You don't want to find out that the coffee roastery has been shutdown because they did something they shouldn't have done. Even worse you are made responsible for something you are really not responsible for.
TarrazuCafe has one of the most detailed and comprehensive Service Level Agreement in the Gourmet Coffee industry. It was written by professionals and perfected over the years. With us, you can be sure of what you can do as a reseller and what we can do as the source of Tarrazu gourmet coffee.
Stay away from a coffee roaster that has poor Service Level Agreement. We've seen some just say "don't do anything wrong". Now, who or what defines what is wrong in the gourmet coffee industry?

There are a number of phrases and things that coffee roasters use in their advertisement and web sites that you should know what they really mean in order to avoid. Some of them are:

Price freeze guarantees: some coffee roasters promise that their coffee prices will never change. The problem is, there is no way to predict future changes in the Specialty coffee industry, changes in economy and inflation or changes in legislation. Perhaps in 5 years a huge tax will be imposed on coffee roasting operations, forcing coffee roasters to increase prices, or inflation will go up exponentially. Avoid any such guarantees as they are just to convince you to something that is impossible to maintain.

Multiple coffee origins: some coffee roasters promise multiple number of single-origin coffees to convince you they are the top roast masters in the market. The truth is, 5 or more single-origin coffees could slow down a coffee roasting operation. It all depends on the markets being served. Also, a low power coffee roasting machine could handle 100 small batches, but a highly powerful one could handle 1,000. Number of batches per hour really makes no difference, as it all depends on the size of the roasting equipment and the load of coffee beans they can take. What really does matter is that a coffee roaster doesn't roast more single-origin coffees than it can handle, does have the ideal equipment capacity to handle our single origin Costa Rican Tarrazu coffee. Things don't get complicated at
"#1 in service!": there is no association or body that officially rates Coffee roasting companies, at least not here in Costa Rica.

Most coffee houses, over 90% of them, are actually resellers of another coffee house or roasting company. They don't own the farms, coffee mill or roasting equipment. Make sure a coffee roaster owns the roasting equipment, coffee farms and expertise you will be depending on. is not a reseller of another company.

The usual stolen ideas, graphics or brand, appellation names: as you browse around dozens and dozens of coffee roasters web sites, you'll find that some steal some graphics and text from others or simply put the "Tarrazu" label to enhanced their lousy coffee. In fact, we've had our copyrighting and coffee pictures show up in a few other sites. One of our "Competitors" if you can name them so, blatantly stole one of our coffee farm pictures and put it in their website. Now they are selling coffee from Puntarenas, a port in the Pacific coast of Costa Rica. Wonder they are getting their "Tarrazu coffee" from. Perhaps from China! Also, as mentioned before, a Costa Rica coffee roaster cannot be everything to everybody nor are able to sell the gourmet coffee export reserve in the local market. Just ask yourselves why the export reserve which supposedly is the top 1% of the Costa Rica coffee crop is widely sold in the country, even in small convenience stores. Again, either you are a gourmet coffee supplier or you are not. Stay away from them if you see such behavior, as it is unprofessional, plus, it can show that the company has no dedication or resources to even take the bus to the Tarrazu Valley and have some pictures of gourmet coffee farms taken, or their business have grown so fast that they have lost focus on their mission and what they originally intended to be in the first place. Also, don't let pictures of Tarrazu coffee farms convince you. It's quite common for coffee roasters to use pictures of the Tarrazu or Costa Rica brand names or extremely credible statements of situations which they are not actually being part of. It is specially funny when a Tarrazu-only coffee roaster puts pictures of Kona farms or Guatemala coffee hills in their marketing sites or leaflets.

Don't let them fool you! Over time, our customers have told us of these tactics and they let us know. It makes them feel tricked or fooled. Have these marketing tactics in mind everytime you evaluate a gourmet coffee, specially if they claim they sell gourmet Tarrazu coffee.
Do you know of something we should add? Let know.

Here's a few more things that you should take a look at before choosing a coffee roaster:

Test their customer service responsiveness. Email their customer service department instead of the sales department. They'll forward your email to their sales department, but if it takes too long to forward, it means they don't respond fast.
Take a look around their website for information on their gourmet coffees. If they hide information or are too general (like saying Tarrazu Coffee is harvested somewhere in South America), stay away from them. If they have good specialty coffee beans from single origins, there's really no reason to hide the fact. Right?
Look for a Our Coffee Farms" or coffee source page. They should make information on their recent gourmet coffee purchases, roasting equipment upgrades, problems, etc, available to the public. You can find a link to "Our Farms" section in main page.
Take a look at how much dedication they put on their website. Do they have plenty of FAQs? Information pages? Why? Because a *smart* coffee farmer/roaster puts answers to the most asked questions on the website to reduce customer service workload and improve credibility. And that's a sign of dedication!. :)

And that's it. Don Evelio Coffee farmers thank you for your patience in reading this article. We hope all this information helps you make a smarter decision when choosing a coffee roaster for your gourmet or specialty coffee needs. Let us know if you have any questions or suggestions on what to add here.

Video Clip from CNBC about Don Evelio Coffee Farm Click here to see CNBC Coffee Story -by Karin Isdahl - about DON EVELIO COFFEE FARM, filmed in mid May 2006.

For Faster viewing, click here
Buy Now our Specialty Coffee. Click here!

Media Highlights

"Jorge Luis Umana, the owner of coffee grower Beneficio Don Evelio,...has set up a company site, So far he's the only grower to do so.." ADAM PIORE, LAUREN WOLLKOFF Newsweek Magazine Journalists, January 29, 2001 issue.

"Tarrazu coffee growers, who produce some of the world's finest, high-elevation promote their high-quality crop on the Internet at" CHRISTINE PRATT, The Tico Times,Aug 18th, 2000

Interview to one of our Costa Rica coffee farmers at Specialty Coffee Retailer Magazine

Coffee University: what you need to know about coffee - Wen Lee takes you to San Marcos de Tarrazu, Click here to see the videos:
don evelio

Harvest pics

Don Evelio Gourmet coffee, visit our other site

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