La Plata, a history-rich town in Huila, acts as an economic hub for the region. Roads crawl up the steep surrounding slopes from the town center into the coffee growing hills that encircle it. The farms here range from a few thousand trees, to ~15,000 trees over 2-3 acres, almost all owned by individual families. Pergamino, an exporter that will be familiar to those familiar with our coffees, oversees the collection of these lots so they can be washed, fermented, and dried at the regional processing station.
Lots from 3-4 day's worth of harvesting are fermented together, washed, and allowed to dry on raised beds under tarps down to target moisture targets. The extra fermentation time allows for more complexity and sweetness to develop, which comes through as a nice medium bodied, chocolatey-rich, pleasantly acidic roasted coffee.
: Caturra & Colombia
Altitude: 1,900 - 2,100 masl
Process: Fully Washed & dried on parabolic and raised beds
Region: La Plata, Hulia
Tasting Notes: Honeycrisp Apple, Milk Chocolate, Caramel
B R E W G U I D E
Best Used: 7-21 days post roast
Yield: 32g (double shot)
Extraction Time: 28-32secs
Brew Temperature: 94°C
Milk Weight: 135-140g
Whilst Huila is naturally blessed with optimal coffee growing geography, the key to great quality coffees from the La Plata region (such as this lot) are the growers themselves. Coffee farming within the region is overwhelmingly small-scale. Indeed, approximately 80% of producers from the region farm coffee on less than 3 hectares of land. These small farms are tended by individual families with labour only very rarely being contracted out, which leads to more thorough and intensive management practices and great pride in the final product – which is, itself, an extension of the family.
In early 2014, members of the large cooperative to which the producers who contributed to this lot belonged realized that their location and passion for coffee farming gave them a special edge when it came to producing high quality coffee. Seeing some of the quality initiatives and micro-lot separation that forward-thinking cooperatives around Colombia were exploring, a small group of about 20 producers broke off from the larger regional cooperative to establish their own organization – named Aprocoagrosh (quite a mouthful).
As of March 2015, the organization has grown to around 30 growers (that’s 50% growth in just over a year!) and has established relationships with Mercanta’s exporting partner, Pergamino, who have worked with other cooperatives in Colombia who seek to harness quality coffee as a means to improving quality of life for their members.