There are certain times of the year in specialty coffee when we have a bit of a dip in the origins available to us. Around Christmas we can often rely on coffee from Brazil to fill a gap and while we await excitedly for Ethiopian and Kenyan coffees to arrive, we’re now relying on Colombia as an origin to see us through.
Colombia has such diversity when it comes to coffee. There are around 12 distinct coffee growing regions in the country each with their own microclimate. When you factor in unique processing methods, the variety of coffee available from this one origin is mind blowing. Finca El Cedro might only be a 2 hectare farm but I think this coffee definitely punches above its weight.
After travelling an hour by a mule track from the town of San Antonio, crossing several boggy and grassy paddocks, one reaches the Cuchimba family home, with a smoky chimney and a couple of beautiful roosters in the front garden. The roosters hold their heads high, as if they were guardians of a great treasure.
Dona Marcelina, the matriarch of the family, often sits on the small terrace, manually shaking and sorting the coffee to separate the good beans from the defective ones. The family’s efforts to ensure the best quality coffee are substantial and every person plays a part.
In the world of specialty coffees, the individual farmer is typically highlighted. It is important to remember, however, that for smallholder farmers, growing coffee is almost always a family effort. This principle is exemplified in this small, speciality lot. Traditionally, this lot has been named after, Fransico Cuchimba, father to the family and Finca El Cedro’s owner. Although Fransico’s son had already taken over management of the farm, Don Francisco sadly passed away in 2021 leaving El Cedro to his family. Truly, the credit belongs not only to Francisco but also to his entire family, who have been growing coffee in their small farm, El Cedro, in Inzá, Cauca for over 40 years.
Although this is a fully washed coffee the pulped cherries have actually been fermented in water for 36 hours before being washed and then dried on parabolic beds. Parabolic beds are raised trays, housed in a greenhouse, a technique often used in these regions, where the climate prevents drying outside.
This is one of those coffees which truly reveals itself as it cools. By all means take some sips whilst it’s hot, but don’t rush it. Take some time to enjoy this coffee as it cools and the sweetness will start to reveal itself. This coffee has become a firm team favourite and we’ve been brewing it as a filter coffee. We could taste sweet flavours of orange marmalade, juicy plum and pecan.
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