This coffee is produced by a member of the Cadefihuila Co-operative based in Huila, Colombia; Jose Edilberto Gonzales Montealegre. The co-op, founded in 1963, is over a thousand members strong and whilst a lot of the members have only a small amount of land, around 1 to 3 hectares, so won’t produce a large quantity of coffee by themselves, they have a huge potential for quality. Average scoring lots are generally bulked together to create regional cup profiles, but there is an opportunity to taste some single farmer lots that have been identified as having a unique flavour profile on cupping. Coffees that are well picked, cleanly processed and properly dried can be put to one side instead of being bulked, and these can be very distinctive and characterful small lots.
In the South of the Huila region, Jose has his 2 hectare farm, Finca Los Alpes, situated at 1,750m. Growing a mixture of Caturra and Castillo varieties, he is working hard to ensure that all stages of production are carefully undertaken; the result is a coffee with loads of sweetness, ripe acidity and deep fruit flavours which blew us away on the cupping table.
When the coffee cherries are still on the trees they may not all ripen at the same time. It is not uncommon to see some deep ruby red cherries in a cluster of fruit next to some partially ripe and some completely green cherries. A decision has to be made: you either employ your pickers to pass the trees just once, saving on labour costs but resulting in a mixture of under, semi and fully ripe fruit, or you invest in multiple passes around the trees to enable them to pick only the best cherry each time. The overall quality of production will improve drastically with the latter, and goes a small way to explaining why sweeter, more uniform coffee demand a higher price. The best lots will generally be from the second and third passes around the trees, with less mature fruit flavours coming from the first pass (think unripe blackberries or hard melon), and some overripe flavours present in lots from the final passes (boozy dates or black bananas). This lot from Jose is from this ‘fillet’ of the harvest time, when the cherry is fully mature and packed full of sugars.
Jose and his small team of pickers are only a handful of the many parties involved in taking the coffee from seed to cup. We’re happy to be part of such a long and colourful journey in bringing this exceptional coffee to you, the final stage in the life of this harvest.
La Argentina, Huila, Colombia
Very deep and layered flavours of cooked apples and ginger cake underpin a well structured cup, with a juicy mouthfeel and a long finish.