Colombia Jairo Alban
Nariño! We love this region of Colombia for it's sweet and complex coffees. This region is quilted with smallholder producers that grow just fantastic coffee. Jairo Alban of El Mango is one of these producers. He has a 2-hectare farm in northern Nariño. Jairo's coffee has very clear notes of peach and apricot and is quite balanced. It's perfect for sipping in the morning of the warming spring days.
Farm: El Mango
Producer: Jairo Alban
Process: Washed & Parabolic-bed Dried
Elevation: 1900 meters
Variety: Caturra, Castillo, Colombia
Cup: Peach, Maple, Sweet Cream, Apricot
We sourced this beautiful micro-lot from our friend Aleco at Red Fox Coffee Merchants. Red Fox has been working in Nariño for eleven years with FUDAM (Fundacion Agraria y Ambiental). Raquel and Jeremias Lasso run FUDAM, and under their guidance, they have expanded over the nineteen years they've existed. Traditionally the coffees grown by smallholders like Jairo Alban were purchased as parchment locally for a low price for the overall quality. Raquel has been able to improve growing and processing techniques while also providing the incentive that the specialty coffee market yields to bring in more cash for farmers and farms like El Mango. Roquel is an incredibly kind and driven woman who has spearheaded the quality over quantity push in her area. There are 350 producers within the Association, and together with Pergamino and like-minded roasters, they managed to raise money for new depulpers and African raised-beds for 20% of the Association. The depulpers and raised-beds help clean up the processing of coffee. This is a substantial effort that raises the price and quality of coffee in the area. She also leads a keen focus on helping women producers in the area, which now make up 30% of the Association. Overall she's a badass, and we are totally stoked to be working with her.
WASHED PROCESSED COFFEE
Processing in coffee refers to the conversion of the raw coffee cherry into green coffee, a finished product for roasters to manipulate. Washed coffee can also be known as “wet processed.” It refers to the removal of the fruit that covers the beans (seeds) before they are laid to dry. To do this, coffee cherries are then squeezed through a screen called a pulper. The fruit/skin travels down one shoot, while the coffee beans go into a large tank. The seeds at this point still are covered in a sticky, mucilage-like substance, think the stringy fruit left on a peach pit.
From here, the coffee goes through a 12 to 24-hour fermentation. This step is a delicate time in processing where bacteria is eating and converting the mucilage and changing the flavor of the coffee. If this fermentation happens for too long and the coffee becomes vinegary, too little and you end up drying coffee with mucilage semi-intact. The coffee is finally set out to dry on parabolic beds, raised beds with mini greenhouses. This allows them to have more control over the drying environment allowing airflow and even drying among all the beans. All of these steps have to be subtly altered depending on temperature, time of the harvest, rainfall, and other factors.