Neighbors & crops
Village: La Mesa, Cundinamarca
Altitude: 1700 M.A.S.L
At 53 years of age, Don Ricardo claims to have been “a coffee farmer all his life”. 33 years ago, he and his brothers Ruben and Diositeo inherited 2 farms from their parents –also traditional coffee growers in the region. He decided he would live and work in one of them: Buenos Aires, a 2-hectare farm located in the Anatolí village only 10 minutes away from LA PALMA & EL TUCAN´s farm.
During the “Coffee Bonanza” they were able to sell all their production to Illy Cafe until the prices went down and they weren’t able to continue with the direct relationship. For a long time, Ricardo’s farm was considered an exemplary coffee farm for the region; to the extent that the FNC (National Coffee Federation) decided to build a small wet mill plant on his farm that could be used by other growers in the region to process better coffees. Unfortunately, aside from the mill, the community needed guidance on using the mill and the lack of training resulted in the abandonment of the mill’s use. Sadly, the mill ended up as a laundry room and nowadays people in the region call it the “white elephant”.
During this time Ricardo was selling his parchment coffee to the local cooperative in the nearby town of Cachipay, and in order to have another source of income, Ricardo and his brothers began breeding chickens. In 2013, when LA PALMA & EL TUCÁN started buying coffees in the region, he was interested in a better income through a quality-based product. The benefit of our project’s own cherry-picking team providing assistance greatly helped Ricardo because finding labor during harvest was one of the main issues he was facing with coffee crops.
Ricardo was one of the first growers that joined our Neighbors & Crops program since year one! He has been highly involved in our coffee cherry purchasing model, always attending all of our events and cooperating with the project. Oh, and he is also the main character in our video!
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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