I en pose er det 250 g hele bønner. Vi velger kun spesialkaffe av den absolutt beste kvaliteten fra øverste hylle, som vi brenner med det vi mener er en optimal profil.
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Carlos and his wife Pato believe in responsible, environmentally friendly, sustainable agriculture practices and are strict in the protection of the natural forest reserve that makes up part of El Recuerdo. Carlos has high hopes for the future of his family’s coffee. Besides continuing to produce high-quality coffee; he dreams of exporting his lots to many countries around the world.
This coffee has been purchased through Azahar.
Azahar works with farmers across Colombia, they travel year-round to some of the smallest farms to identify potential and deal directly with producers, cooperatives, and farmers’ associations to ensure their relationships are as transparent as they can be.
They are highly committed to paying fair process to the farmers of these exceptional coffees, recognising the effort and dedication of those who contribute to every lot. But they also take action to find a market for these coffees within the country. As the Azahar team states, Colombia deserves to drink its best coffee, too.
In Colombia, we seek to develop ongoing relationships with private producer groups, cooperatives and exporters, and build quality programs into our buying. We often refer to these programs as “projects” or “concepts”.
As most producers in Colombia are smallholders managing their farms and processing their own coffee, our concepts focus on both micro-lots and larger blends. The purpose of the blends is to give smaller volume producers access to the specialty market by creating bigger volume lots that match in profile, region or mission. These coffees are sourced from Huila, Tolima, and Nariño.
Additionally, we work with a single producer in Antioquia, Juan Saldarriaga. Juan is a pioneer in specialty in Antioquia, and a leader in his community of coffee growers, sharing knowledge and providing resources to bring more producers into the specialty market.
Picking & selection
In Colombia, coffees are picked in three to four passes, meaning the producers and pickers pick the ripe cherries in one block, then wait until there the remaining cherries begin ripening before doing another pass. It can be hard to incentivise your workers to only pick the ripe cherries as their payments are usually based on volume, and the work is harder. Even when you’re paying them extra for the effort, it can be hard to change entrenched mindsets. If a producer wants exceptional qualities they often have to follow up very closely, or hand sort the cherries after picking before they begin processing. Generally, the first and last passes produce lower quality, and the second and third will be considered as the best, with more ripe cherries and uniform quality. When we can, we try to buy parchment harvested in these the second and third passes.
This is the most common and widely used method. The farmer will have a small beneficio, a small manual or electric pulper and a fermentation tank. They pulp the cherries in the afternoon and send the beans directly from the pulper to the fermentation tank. The coffee can sit there from one to two days, depending on the temperature. Higher temperatures will speed up the fermentation process, and lower temperature will slow it down. Some producers do intermediate rinsing with water, which can also help them control the process.
Some producers use the wet fermentation method, meaning they add water to the tank after pulping. Some of the best coffees we have tasted in Colombia have been fermented this way. They often change the water numerous times, which will both slow down the fermentation time and provide a bigger window between properly fermented and over fermented. It also helps uniformity as producers can skim off the floaters during the rinse and get a better selection.
Methods for washing and grading vary widely. Some producers have channels, some don’t. The channels are often short, and they don’t require huge amount of water. Producers normally stir the coffee in the channels before they remove floaters. Producers without channels commonly wash the coffees in the fermentation tank and skim off the floaters before sending the coffee to the drying table.
Smallholders in regions like Huila, Tolima, Nariño usually sun-dry their coffees on roof tops or in parabolic dryers that almost work as green houses. There are many different variations and construction types, but generally they are all systems that protect the coffee from rain. In many places it can either be too hot, or too rainy and humid, often both in one day. We generally see consistently great coffees from producers who have drying systems with good ventilation that allow them to reduce the humidity of the coffee to less than 11% between 10 to 18 days.
In Antioquia it is common to use mechanical dryers. We generally don’t buy coffees dried mechanically as we so far don’t have very good experience with the flavor and shelf life related to that process.