Neighbors & crops
ALIRIO DIAZ & GIOVANNA MENDEZ
Altitude: 1500 M.A.S.L
Alirio is 47 years old and has grown coffee for the last 16 years. He was born and raised in Tolima by a family of coffee growers; for him, coffee is a tradition.
At the age of 18, Don Alirio moved to the department of Cundinamarca; young and ready to work, he was approached by Giovanna Mendez to help her out on the farm El Paraiso, located in the village of Cayunda. For the last 17 years, Don Alirio has been in charge of all coffee-related matters on the 2-hectare piece of land.
Around the 2000s, after some trouble with their crops Giovanna sent Alirio to receive special training at Cenicafe (the National Center of Coffee Research) and they came to the conclusion that renewing their coffee plantation was necessary. They re-planted the farm with 8000 coffee trees of the Castillo variety while maintaining Caturra and Colombia trees that were already present.
What Alirio finds most difficult in coffee cultivation is the drying process. Although he knows how to do it, the infrastructure he has at the farm is the biggest limitation for him. Especially considering the high humidity levels in the area. For the last 6 years, he has been selling wet parchment to the local cooperative, losing money for a good product because there is no compensation based on quality standards.
Two years ago Alirio made the decision to join our Neighbors & Crops program. He was incentivized by the opportunity of receiving a better income, one that is based on quality. On top of that he receives additional monetary and non-monetary benefits from the help of our trained cherry-picking team to the extra time he can spend on other projects and with his family because he no longer is in charge of processing his coffee. Overall a win-win for everyone!
This kind of fermentation is classified as ‘Anaerobic’ as oxygen has minimal interaction with the cherry. Once the cherries arrive at the mill, they are hand sorted and placed in sealed tanks. With no oxygen involved, bacteria feed on carbohydrates present in the mucilage favoring a higher concentration of Lactic Acid, creating a unique profile of the resulting cup.
The Honey Process begins with a pre-fermentation stage of 45 hours at the wet mill. From here the cherries will start the de-pulping stage, passing through three stages of quality control before removing a percentage of the skin. While the drying stage, coffee will be placed in African-style raised beds for over 15 days. Due to the levels of sugar and moisture, the first days will be crucial to avoid microbial activity prolongation. Finally parchment coffee will pass through the mechanical drying machines to end up the drying process.
This method involves a combination of stages found in lactic and acetic processing methods. First, all hand-sorted cherries will go through a short pre-fermentation step. Similar to lactic processing, the cherries are placed in airtight fermentation tanks with limited oxygen. Once removed from the tanks, we pass them through three levels of quality control before having the skin removed by a pulper machine. From there, we leave the beans resting in the fermentation tanks to undergo an acetic fermentation, agitating them from time to time. Once the process is completed, the beans are transferred to African-style raised beds to begin the drying phase.
Our Mixed Fermentation Processing produces a very balanced cup profile with medium to heavy body.
Through the Bioinnovation process, La Palma & El Tucán honors the main principles of organic farming. They first capture and reproduce microorganisms found in their farm’s beautiful forests, to create their own fermentation substrate. Then, they mix this substrate with perfectly ripen geisha cherries, in a clay pot for 100 hours. This combination allows them to create a sustainable closed cycle. After the fermentation, they remove the leftovers and reuse them as compost.
If you wish to request additional information about the processing of your microlot, such as fermentation time or type of drying, please let us know by filling this form.
We will get back to you soon with detailed information.
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