||Colombia Finca La Chorrera Washed Caturra SC Decaf 2017
This is our fifth year of working with this amazing farm, but the first year's lot was so tiny that it never made it onto the website and was sold as an exclusive to one of our lucky wholesale partners. Luckily, ever since then we've been able to focus a little bit more on the farm: we cupped a lot more pickings and found a little more coffee.
Finca La Chorrera is located near to the city of Pitalito, in the south of the Huila department. It's in the valley of the Rio Grande de la Magdalena, known as 'The Valley of Laboyos', which is 180 km away from Nieva, the capital of Huila. Pitalito is also the second largest city of the department of Huila, at approximately 125,000 inhabitants, and is considered one of the largest areas of coffee production in Colombia.
This farm is located on top of a mountain at 1,735 metres above sea level. It contains 70% Caturra (25,000 plants; this lot comes from them), 20% Colombia F6 (7,000 plants) and 10% Castillo (2,000 plants). The farm consists of eight hectares, six of which are planted with coffee. The other two hectares house the mill and inaccessible mountainous areas. The family house, which is also used for drying, is at the bottom of the hill at around 1,400 metres above sea level.
I took some amazing pictures on my trip in 2013, so take a look here, and I took some more on my trip in 2014 – find them here!
The farm is owned and run by the Claros family: Pedro, his wife Nelcy and their six children (Alberio, Edilson, Sandra, Hermes, Diana and Monica). It's a real family business with everyone pitching into the farm to make it work.
The farm's drying patio is one of the most amazing things I’ve seen. It's a greenhouse built on top of the house so that the coffee can be turned regularly, but also to make sure no one steals it. The latter was not so much of a problem last year with market prices being low, but it was a real problem over the previous three years. Of course, Pedro doesn't have to worry about market prices; he always gets a premium because he consistently gives quality, but black market coffee goes to the highest market bidder.
This coffee has been decaffeinated by the sugar cane (SC) method as per our other Colombian decafs of recent years. It’s a method from Colombia and the decaffeination is, as with our other Colombian decafs, done at a plant in Colombia where they use a sugar cane byproduct for the process. More details can be found here.
Over the last couple of years, we’ve bought a couple of large lots from co-operatives in Colombia for decaffeinating. The minimum run size for the process is 4,200 kg of green coffee (which would be about 3,400 kg after roasting). We’ve been really impressed by the quality of flavour you get from this process in comparison to the Swiss Water and CO2 methods. By taking control of the lots we want processed, we’ve been able to choose coffees that tasted good to begin with rather than being stuck with someone else’s selection. The downside is that we’ve not been building on relationships with farmers, because we had to look for big lots.
Last year we decided to begin doing something different. We have a long-standing relationship with Pedro and, as I said earlier, have been buying from him for many years; every year we cup each lot of pickings from the farm and feed that information back to him as a score. The better the picked coffee tastes, the higher the premium he gets for it. La Chorrera reached a point last year where it was producing a good volume and the consistency was super good – enough so that they were able to build up the 4,200 kg we would need for a decaffeination run.
This has a downside: we’ve only been able to keep a small amount of the farm’s production aside as caffeinated. But we think it’s worth it to be able to offer a decaf that has provenance and quality, and which we can keep building on in years to come.
In the cup expect brown sugar mixed in with raspberry jam, with a delicate apple acidity that finishes super sweet and well balanced.
Nearest town: Pitalito
Farm: Finca La Chorrera
Owners: Claros family
Altitude: 1,735 m.a.s.l.
Farm size: 8 hectares
Coffee growing area: 6 hectares
Medium dark – just on the edge of second crack, a few pops but no more.
"Quick Look" Guide
Brown sugar, raspberry jam, apple, sweet, balanced.
Note: Cupping Scores for Mouthfeel, Flavour, Balance & Overall are actually 6.5 each, not as above (software limitation, allows whole numbers only)
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