A Gamboa Family Tradition

Located in the Tarrazu region of Costa Rica, this area of San Jose is scattered with mountains, vibrant, and green. At 1560 - 2000 meters above sea level, some of the Gamboa’s plantings are among the highest coffee farms in the country.

This is a genuine family farming tradition; coffee farming for the Gamboa family dates back to the 18th century. Family patriarch, Tutto Gamboa, has been in the coffee business since he was 15. A few years back, he passed handed over the reins of daily operations to his son and daughter-in-law, Emilio and Laura. Together, they own five farms and process their coffee at their micro-mill, Montes De Oro. Tutto remains active, however, as coffee runs deep through his veins.

The Montes de Oro beneficio was constructed at the end of 2006 and Emilio & Laura are agronomists by education and training. They have chosen to continue the family’s tradition of producing coffee for several reasons including a passion for agriculture, for coffee as an agricultural product, for the lifestyle of being a coffee producer, and to continue the excellent legacy the previous generations in the family have worked hard to develop. Many children of coffee producers choose not to pursue coffee production: this is a current and widespread concern across coffee origins in both Colombia & Central America, so it was not a given that Emilio & Laura would want to continue producing coffee. 

In fact, Laura is not solely a coffee producer: her family has a tradition and legacy of being potato producers and on her mother’s side, there has been a shoe store in the family for two generations. Laura divides her days between potato and coffee production and also runs the shoe store. 

When it comes to Montes de Oro, Emilio generally oversees management in the field, while Laura works more with the overall business administration at the beneficio and farms.

The farm is planted with Caturra, Catuai, Bourbon, Villa Sarchi, and Geisha varieties. Coffee at Montes de Oro is washed processed at the quaint mill on-site. Depending on weather conditions, the parchment is first dried on raised beds and then placed on patios or in rotating mechanical dryers to finish the process.

Emilio and Tutto were one of the first farms building their own micro mill back in 2007 and Robert, then buying for KAFFA, was one of his first customers. For many years following, almost the entire production of Emilio’s coffee was sold to Stumptown. However, as Emilio’s production increased, we were able to return to buying from this producer.  In the end, we somewhat swapped roles with Stumptown, as we became their largest buyer. We are so proud to continue working with Emilio and Laura and were excited to return to purchasing their high-quality, clean coffee.

It would be remiss not to mention that earlier this year, the CEO of our sister roastery KAFFA Oslo traveled with Robert to Costa Rica to distribute funds raised through the Rema 1000 Fund. The Rema 1000 Fund is a joint initiative between KAFFA and Rema 1000, a supermarket chain in Norway. This opportunity is rare within specialty coffee and it was with great pleasure that we were able to bring their coffee into mainstream grocery stores in Norway all the while supporting a great cause. Read more about this initiative here.

Every visit to the Montes de Oro micro-mill gives us a glimpse at this family’s commitment and dedication to producing incredible coffee. Moreover, it is reflected in the taste of their coffee itself. We’re all too aware that the quality of the coffee we source is a collaborative effort of the producers, millers and individuals who commercialize it. However , to be great and successful, it is imperative to do what you love, which for us is the coffee business.


Interested in trying some of the Gamboa family products? Join us in Berlin, June 6th-8th!

Click here to reserve your spot. 

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