||Bolivia El Fuerte Coco Natural Longberry 2021
||#SSSSS Limited Editions 2021
For #SSSSS this month we're heading south from Costa Rica all the way down to the Santa Cruz department of Bolivia - it's a real privilege to share amazing and (we think) uniquely delicious coffees with you from Bolivia as they really bring a certain something to the cup that you just don't find in coffees from elsewhere.
We shared a coffee with you from this very same farm back in July and if you've got a good memory we definitely hope you're able to compare and contrast the flavours in your mind. Just in case you need a little refresher, the tasting notes for that coffee (a Naturally processed Caturra) were honey, lemon, green banana and tangerine.
We spent a little time talking about the history of the farm last time (click here to have a peek) so won't dwell too much on that, but would like to tell you a little more about the processing method involved with this coffee as it's an interesting story and we all know you're here to be interested!
Processing coffee in the Natural style isn’t all that common in Bolivia and it presents a number of challenges in their environment. However, the Rodriguez family (who manage El Fuerte and a number of other farms we buy from in Bolivia) saw the value that Natural (and Honey) processed coffees could bring in terms of diversifying the range of flavours you get, so they decided to invest both money and effort into creating a way of doing these processes which would work in Bolivia.
When we asked them about this new method of processing their coffee, they called it “Coco”. As we know you're a keen and interested bunch, here's a breakdown of the whole Coco Natural process...
Cherries selected - As I’ll explain in a moment, they can only do small batches of Naturals at a time, so a lot of attention is paid to only choosing the ripest cherries from the beginning. Ripeness is checked both visually, by colour, and also by measuring of the sugar content of the fruit
Sun drying on raised beds - having checked the weather reports so they know to expect a period without rain, the selected cherries are laid out on raised beds in the sun. During this period, the cherries are moved around every 30 minutes to make sure the drying is even and any slightly under or over ripe cherries are picked out. They will stay outside for between 1 and 3 days, depending on the weather. To finish this stage, they may be moved to inside greenhouses with material to block out UV and keep the heat in
Drying out in stationary driers - The cherries then need to be dried out to a stable moisture level, where more fermentation won’t occur. To do this, they have built large boxes with hot air vented in through the bottom. These “Stationary Driers” keep the temperature below 40C for the 40 to 50 hours it takes to finish drying the cherries. During this stage, the coffee is moved every hour (again, to keep the process even across all the cherries)
As well as this coffee being interesting for the processing method used, it's also a really interesting varietal. We call it Longberry as it's believed the origin of the varietal comes from the name "Ethiopian Longberry". It was originally from Ethiopia and visually, the beans are longer than most other coffees - simple! You'll sometimes see this coffee labeled as a "Java" as it was introduced to the island of Java from Ethiopia by the Dutch back in the 19th century.
The plants are not particularly high-yielding but have a good resistance to diseases like leaf rust as well as offering very high cup quality - it's a bit like Geisha if it decided to start having Weetabix for breakfast!
We more often than not see most of our Longberry coffees come from Nicaragua, 'JavaNic' was somewhat famously bought by Erwin Mierisch (of Finca Limoncillo fame) on the side of the road from a worker of a recently closed down UNICAFE experiment station - they'd been paid for their final days of work in seeds and shovels and were looking to turn them into cold hard cash. Erwin purchased a 20kg bag of seeds labelled JAVA (and a selection of used shovels) and now, fast forward a number of years and Nicaraguan Longberry coffees are regular favourites on our website!
It's really exciting and interesting to get to try the same varietal grown in different soil so keep your eyes on our site for the 'JavaNic' over the coming months, but we think this Bolivian is a really delicious example of what the varietal can offer. Add the Coco Natural processing into the mix and here we are, something we felt was perfect for #SSSSS.
This coffee is oozing with sweet and sticky fruits - we're getting heaps of stewed plums and bruised peaches before sweet green apple takes over. Towards the end of each sip there's some posh Cola too, not the rather popular one you can buy in every shop across the land but the likes of Fentimans, Karma or Fritz with a complex, dark sweetness and spice.
Department: Santa Cruz
Farm: El Fuerte
Owners: Fincas Rodriguez
Altitude: 1,550–1,700 m.a.s.l.
Process: Coco Natural
And if you're interested in a way to brew, we're going to recommend a Kalita Wave (or Hario V60/April brewer if you have those instead), 15g of coffee and 250ml of water pouring 50g x 5 once every 30 seconds. After you do the first pour, give your brewer a small but delicate swirl to make sure all the coffee is wet. The water should just be approaching the top of the coffee bed as you go to do each pour and your total brew time should be somewhere around 3:00. We would recommend letting this coffee rest for at least 7 days before brewing. You may need to grind this coffee ever so slightly finer than normal due to the unusual shape and density of the bean, but just a touch. These are all just recommendations and by no means concrete rules, please brew however you like! We hope you really enjoy this coffee.
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