The Cantillo family are responsible for producing some of the most delicious and unique coffees coming out of Divino Niño, near Suaza in Colombia. This extremely limited lot of Gesha from Jose and his partner Kerly is no exception.
Jose Manuel Cantillo Jacobo, as well as his partner Kerly Aranzazu Munoz, tend to their coffee on Filo del Oso in the small mountain village of Divino Niño, near the town of Suaza in Colombia’s Huila department. Jose is one of four brothers, alongside Jaime, Eugenio & Diomedes (whose name might be familiar to those who tasted the Cantillo variety coffee we bought previously from Diomedes), who are all growing coffee in the region. Their father, Isaías has a very established coffee farm, Finca La Esperanza, and each son was gifted a parcel of land to continue the family tradition of cultivating coffee. Filo del Oso is a 4-hectare farm, with 2.9 hectares planted out with coffee.
Having grown up around coffee from a young age, after graduating from high school Jose began to establish his own farm, Filo del Oso in 2003, which is planted out with Caturra & Castillo as well as ‘exotic’ varieties like Pink Bourbon & Gesha. Because of the strong family ties in the area and with his father and brothers also involved in producing specialty coffee, a lot of the jobs are shared amongst them, each of them helping each other out to improve quality standards and work towards a collective goal of receiving fair payments for their efforts.
Jose, like his father, is a trained coffee cupper which enables a more direct feedback loop into amending and improving procedures at the farm. Cupping can be both informative as well as motivating when it comes to adjusting processing or post-harvest protocols in pursuit of ever-increasing quality in the cup.
As well as receiving agronomical advice from Caravela’s PECA program, Jose is a member of the Villa Esperanza association and holds a Rainforest Alliance certificate.
We have always been somewhat hesitant about buying Gesha variety coffee. Initially identified back in the 1930s the Ethiopian variety travelled to Central and South America via Tanzania and Panama. In the mid 2000s the coffee world exploded when a Panamanian Gesha sold for a record high price of over $20/lb, which has subsequently frequently been topped again and again by Gesha coffees selling upwards of several thousand dollars per pound. The hype and craze around Gesha has caused healthy plants to be uprooted and replaced, counterfeit seeds, plantlets and sacks of coffee to have been sold as Gesha, and skewed expectation, both in terms of price a producer hopes to receive as well as what a customer is asked to pay for a bag of beans or cup of coffee. There are instances though when we find a compelling reason to pursue a lot, rather than the more opportunistic approach of intentionally seeking out a Gesha and simply seeing what turns up.
Having bought a unique variety, Cantillo, from Diomedes Cantillo previously we were exploring other lots from the Cantillo family members this year, and the flavours in the sample of Gesha from Jose Manuel were too delicious for us to pass up on the chance to secure the small volume available of this lot.
Divino Niño, Suaza, Huila, Colombia
Expressive & lively, we’re tasting fragrant tropical fruits like guava & physalis. A sherbet-like acidity complements aromas of rose & hibiscus, with a sweet vanilla finish.