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Few names share quite the celebrity status that Rodrigo Sanchez Valencia, the producer of this coffee, has achieved. It's not just that he is a successful coffee farmer in his own right, nor that he comes from a long heritage of coffee farmers. What really sets Rodrigo Sanchez apart his his willingness to experiment, whether that be in the varieties he cultivates or the processing methods he employs.
He is probably best known (at least here in South Africa) for his lots grown on Monteblanco farm. Some of these lots have been amongst the most memorable coffees we've tasted over the last few years, thanks to our friends at Origin Coffee Roasting. This lot comes from another farm within the group: La Loma, also in the Huila region.
This particular lot has undergone a cultured fermentation, where the coffee has been fermented in combination with the nectar of local red fruits for 150 hours. This type of co-fermentation is very much the cutting edge of coffee processing. Given that it was executed by one of the pioneers and innovators in the coffee processing space, we are incredibly excited to have the opportunity to taste it.
This lot of Caturra Bourbon Nectar Red Fruits is harvested and produced at Finca La Loma. Finca La Loma is located in Vereda Agua Negra in Pitalito, Huila, a 12-hectare farm, owned by Rodrigo Sanchez Valencia and his wife, Claudia Samboni, who have been cultivating coffee on La Loma since 2011. Varieties planted on the farm includes Caturra, Variedad Colombia, Pink Bourbon, Pacamara, Laurina, and Gesha. The mill located on the farm includes a de-pulper and tanks for dry fermentation.
In 2017, Rodrigo and his team at Aromas del Sur—the parent company for La Loma, El Progreso, and Monteblanco farms and the Aromas del Sur dry mill (El Puente)—built a cupping lab on La Loma to facilitate sample roasting, crop evaluation, and sourcing at the origin. La Loma carries out the entire experimental program of Rodrigo’s other farms, thus diversifying their coffees.
- Flavour: Raspberry, nice earthiness, dry finish (caju)
- Body: Velvety
- Roast: Light-medium
- Acidity: Crisp, pink lady
- Brewing method: Versatile
Coffee details from Origin
For this process, the Caturra and Bourbon varieties were chosen, thanks to its versatility in the preparation of any process and the great sweetness, which allows the micro-organisms such as lactobacillus and saccharomyces cerevisiae to have optimal fuel to work. These micro-organisms are initially cultivated separately before incorporating them into the coffee, giving way to a large scale where a significant volume of starter culture is produced.
For this specific process, a total of 80 litres of starter culture is extracted from a 200-litre drum which had been mixed with the nectar of locally sourced red fruits. This allows the Brix degrees of the initial mix to be equal to that of the coffee cherries. The starter culture takes 8 days to reach its optimal state, exactly 190 hours of fermentation until the culture mixes together with the infusion reaching the adequate pH and Brix degrees to mix with the coffee.
Besides the nectar of red fruits, Rodrigo feeds the yeasts with some energizing ingredients, such as molasses or brown sugar until the desired level of fermentation with an excellent load of microorganisms is achieved.
Subsequently, after collection, and sorting, the coffee gets pulped and deposited inside a fully sealed 200-litre plastic can along with the 80 litres of the fermented nectar solution that had been previously prepared.
The coffee ferments for 150 hours, and the team constantly measures the Brix to ensure it doesn’t not drop below 6 degrees, as well as the pH levels which are not allowed to drop below 4: this is the balance point for the coffee in order to highlight the notes of the chosen red fruits.
- Farm: Rodrigo Sanchez & Claudia Samboni
- Country: Colombia
- Region: Pitalito, Huila
- Altitude: 1,650 masl
- Variety: Caturra, Bourbon
- Processing: Washed, culturing fermentation, sun-dried