We thoroughly enjoyed the coffee we bought from Artemio Morales last year. It was a crazy journey from being an incredibly focussed, clean and delicate cup at first, before developing into a wild, sugary fruit bomb in just a few short months, reminding us towards the end of honey processed coffee from Costa Rica. After visiting his farm this year and seeing just how his coffee is grown and processed this all started to make more sense.
Artemio uses horses, both for fertiliser and to transport coffee down from his farm, which sits at the top of the mountain. Paying his pickers a premium, not just to be selective in the cherries they pick, but to climb to his farm and brave the crazy, steep, crumbly slopes upon which he has planted his Caturra and Pache Colis (a squat mutation of Bourbon and Pache Rojo). Numerous shade trees (mainly Chalum and Gravilea) help protect the coffee plants from too much sun, and he adds plenty of dry matter to the ground to keep in moisture. To say we struggled to manoeuvre around the treacherous farm with nothing in our hands, the fact his workers pick the level they do is almost miraculous!
Helping lessen the load being carried down the mountain, Artemio has a portable disc pulper powered by a small diesel engine, and once the cherry is picked it is first weighed at the top of the farm before pulping then and there. The sticky, mucilage covered parchment coffee is loaded into sacks and taken by horseback to his house in San Antonio, two hours away. We are adamant this stage of bundling the pulped coffee into sacks increases the rate of fermentation. His cherries were measuring around 25 brix the day we visited before he’d even began to start picking, and so the combination of very sugary water in the fruit and this transportation stage may explain the intense sweetness in his coffee, and it’s tendency to become more wild and intense as it ages.
Once at his house he ferments without water in tanks for up to 42 hours, before flooding to enable the skimming off of any floating beans. It is then scrubbed and washed to remove the sugary layers before undergoing a final soak in clean water for 24 hours.
We’re delighted to have Artemio’s coffee back in the range; we hope you enjoy it as much as we do!
Lovely flavours of peach and fresh strawberry juice make for a refreshing cup. An intense sweetness of agave syrup leads to a finish like honey cake.