The Aguilera Brothers have established themselves as a coffee growing dynasty in the West Valley region of Costa Rica. The 12 siblings have been growing coffee in the region for over 60 years, with a focus on specialty for the last two decades. Across all their family farms, they produce more than 35 different varieties, in various processing methods, all processed at the family’s own micro-mill. The Aguilera’s are dedicated to producing the highest quality coffees possible, and consistently place in the Costa Rica Cup of Excellence competition.
(The Aguilera Brothers)
The Aguilera Brothers pivot into the world of specialty coffee at the start of the 21st century was no accident. It was perfectly timed with the micro mill revolution happening in Costa Rica at the same time.
The old model, where producers would delivery fresh cherry to larger co-ops and mills for processing, drying, and milling, resulted in two unfortunate realities; most transparency was lost – many producers delivering their coffee to the mill would have their coffees blended and sold as a regional lot – and they were completely dependent on the commodity market for prices.
The micro mill revolution in Costa Rica was born of a confluence of historically low commodity pricing and the development of technology allowing producers to process their own coffees themselves. As the specialty coffee sector continued to expand in the early 2000s, producers who embraced the micro mill revolution positioned themselves to supply the growing demand for high quality, traceable coffees. From the first micro mill in 2001, there are now hundreds scattered throughout the coffee growing regions of Costa Rica.
Finca Licho is one of the Aguilera Brothers' more well-known farms. It was a Honey processed Villa Sarchi from Finca Licho that earned the brother’s 4th place in 2007, at the inaugural Costa Rica Cup of Excellence competition. Since then, the Aguilera Brothers have consistently been amongst the top finishes in the competition each year.
Dylan Aguilera was born into the coffee industry. Another generation of Aguilera’s. Another branch on the family tree. Inheriting his passion for coffee from his parents, Dylan studied global logistics and trade, and is now helping to bring his families coffee to the world, establishing Aguilera Coffee Traders, an export company focusing on connecting roasting companies like Proud Mary with his family’s coffee.
In 2023, Dylan participated in his first Cup Tasters competition and took 1st place in the Costa Rican Nationals, going on to represent his country at the world competition in Athens, Greece.
(Dylan at the World Coffee Championships, in Athen, Greece)
Now, his passion and knowledge in the coffee industry has led to him taking over the daily operations at one of the family farms; Finca Matilde. Together with his father, Dylan has turned Matilde into an experimental farm, focusing on exotic varieties and processing methods.
From Dylan, “Our mission is to keep producing specialty coffee and trying [to] have new varieties that can develop good quality and can be resilient against climate change.”