About The Coffee 575-02
This coffee, 575-02, is from the initial tree stock planted at the farm back in 2011. CR95 is a Catimor hybrid, selected for its yield and disease resistance, but generally not for its cup quality. The only way to increase the cup quality here is through careful fermentation, adding character to this rather ordinary varietal. The cherries are fermented in open tanks for 72 hours before being dried on raised beds in a natural process. The length of this fermentation has been researched and refined over time, and adds juicy character to the heavy dryness Catimor hybrids are known for. We feel that tasting the 575 lots together can provide an insight into modern coffee production and the methods that can be used to bring more producers into the specialty coffee market. Many will not have the same learning and travel opportunities that Herbert has had, but the lessons are still relevant. The advantages of careful fermentation and cultivar separation to create differentiated micro-lots are illustrated here; prospering in unfavorable terroir.
Story Behind 575 And Lareb
Though we have worked with the lareb collective for many years now and visited Herbert Peñaloza’s farm several times over our visits to Colombia, we have only once purchased coffee from El Edén, located just outside the town of Palocabildo in Northern Tolima. There are several reasons for this; Herbert admits freely that the terroir here isn’t particularly suited to producing high-quality coffee. The farm was initially conceived as a commodity coffee project. They planted very densely with high-yielding hybrid cultivars, that produce well at the low altitude of only 1350 masl, and are resistant to some of the flooding that happens near the bottom of the farm. In 2015, the team at 575 decided to cut down all the trees and have been since regenerating the farm, learning and iterating. At the same time, they started planting a new project, El Bocadillo, at a higher altitude about a 30-minute drive away. The coffees we are releasing this month showcase 575’s learning over the past few years. As first-generation producers, Herbert and his team have had to seek out knowledge themselves, working harvests in East Timor, hosting fellow coffee professionals from other countries at El Edén, and distilling the experience of working with producers across Colombia into their own coffees.
The natural, or dry process, is the traditional process, going back generations. When accomplished in a controlled and careful manner, dry-processed coffees can produce flavour experiences not found in wet-processed coffees, deep fruits, and florals, normally with heavier mouthfeel and lower acidity. The cherries are first sorted and then laid out in thin layers (2-6 cm) on raised drying beds. These are almost always used for high-quality naturals, as they aid airflow around the coffee as it dries, enabling more even drying. Coffees must be sorted very carefully early on in the drying process, as all of the cherries quickly turn dark brown, making it impossible to separate under and overripe cherries. The cherries are turned frequently to avoid mold formation or over-fermentation until they reach a moisture content of below 20%, and the outer cherry layer shrinks and blackens. This process takes between 2 and 4 weeks, depending on weather conditions