Colombia is such an interesting and exciting origin for us as coffee roasters. There are so many diverse cup profiles to be found across different regions, and coffee is being produced and exported at several intervals throughout the year. One of our importing partners who we work with in Colombia is Nordic Approach, who themselves have been working with a particular group of producers in Tolima for the last three years. Initially formed of 30 farmers, the group is entirely comprised of coffee producers working organically, who wanted to strengthen their brand, identity and economy. Since its inception in 2017, the association has grown to 59 members, of whom Emilse Rubio is one.
Emilse’s 4 hectare farm is located just north of the border with Huila, in Colombia’s Tolima department, near the small town of San Simón in the Alpujarrá municipality. At 1,900m she is working completely organically and is tending to a mixture of Caturra and Castillo variety coffee trees. Caturra is a dwarf mutation of the Bourbon variety which has the potential for a really good cup profile, but is unfortunately susceptible to pests and diseases. Castillo, on the other hand, is the result of around 23 years of research and development undertaken by Cenicafe in Colombia to create a resistant variety. The variety was released for sale in 2005, and unlike Caturra is resistant to coffee leaf rust. Named after Jaime Castillo Zapata, one of the lead scientists at Cenicafe, the name itself translates to ‘Castle’ which seems quite apt for a resistant variety! A myth amongst coffee buyers is that Castillo has a poor cup quality, but a combination of high altitude, good crop husbandry practices and tweaked harvesting protocols, plenty of farmers are producing Castillo outturns which cup incredibly, even alongside the older, more established varieties.
At La Vega, once coffee cherries are harvested they typically depulp and ferment the mucilage covered coffee seeds for 36 hours, a time period which they will tweak here and there depending on the weather. It is then washed in tanks during which time any floating coffee seeds can be removed, before it is put to dry in a well ventilated parabolic solar dryer called a “secadore”, until it reached below 11.0% moisture content.
We’re excited to roast Emilse’s coffee for the first time this year, and hope you enjoy the wealth of ripe, fruited notes in the cup.