Coffee is a Gamboa-Chacon family tradition. In the late 1800’s, Antolin Gamboa, Carlos Chacon and Lidia Valverde began farming coffee. Tuto was born three generations later. At age 15, Tuto learned the coffee trade while working with his brothers. In 1977, Carlos Chacon, Tuto’s father-in-law, gave Tuto and his wife, Lidy Chacon, three acres of land (a piece of Finca Carrizal) which enabled them to start their own coffee farm. Tuto put into practice what he had learned and slowly enlarged the farm by acquiring land from the Chacón family. He gradually formed an estate of about eight hectares. In 1990, he purchased Finca Rosario (where the wet mill is now located), and in 1997 Finca La Trinidad. With the high premiums paid for their exquisite coffee over the past few years Tuto and his son Emilio were able to purchase Finca Teresita in 2010 and Finca el Yasal in 2012.
Emilio has developed great skills as a farm and mill manager. He pays his pickers almost twice the going rate for their work and in return expects an increased focus on picking perfectly ripe cherries. The pickers who work with Emilio call him Sangre del Toro, or ‘Blood of the Bull’, which refers to the color the cherry should resemble when picked.
Located in the mountains of San Pablo de Leon Cortes, Tarrazu, Montes de Oro was started in 2004 by the Gamboa-Chacon family: Melvin (a.k.a. Tuto), Emilio and Laura Gamboa. Through continued communication, education, support and the pursuit of quality, the coffee has improved each year. In turn, they have earned higher prices with each harvest.
At Finca Teresita, Emilio decided to systematically renovate the coffee trees. So far, about half the farm has been renovated, replacing the old trees with Red Catuai and Villa Sarchi.
Finca el Yasal is a mixture of forest and crop land which sits at 2050 meters above sea level, making it one of the highest coffee farms in Tarrazu. Emilio decided to test new coffee varieties in the face of effects from global warming. They started with 3.5 hectares of Red Catuai, Villa Sarchi and Bourbon all of which are doing really well after their first year. In addition to purchasing Finca el Yasal, Emilio recently incorporated a regimented nutrition and fertilization program to prevent Roya on all of their farms.
In order to better understand the coffee’s performance in relation to the harvest, the Gamboas spend time tasting and comparing coffees from each harvest day. Emilio and Laura chose an environmentally sustainable path by using minimal amounts of water when their micro mill started processing in 2006. They float their cherry to separate out the top quality, mechanically demucilage it, float it again for a second density separation, soak in tanks and finally dry it on raised beds in the sun. For Tuto, the mill is a dream. He works as hard as he did when he was 15, with no intention of retiring. Montes de Oro reflects this history: the prize is attained over time, after much effort and sacrifice.