We wanted to grow our purchasing from Southern Huila for two reasons: first, the best coffees of the south of Huila have a fruity and exotic profile that we love and seek. Second, the region has a harvest schedule that is opposite to the west of Huila. The south has its main harvest around December, while the west has its main harvest in June. Both regions have their small harvest (called “mitaca”) while the other is having its main harvest. This allows us to have coffee from Colombia all year round.
Sebastian discovered Martha’s coffee in 2014 through our origin partner in Colombia, Caravela. Through the years, Sebastian has become great friends with the QC analyst and manager of the Pitalito buying warehouse, William. William, knowing that Sebastian was trying to find some great coffees in the region, came across Martha’s coffee and saved two samples to cup with Sebastian during his visit in 2014. Prior to that harvest, Martha was selling her coffee at the local co-op, where she was being paid the market rate and her quality wasn’t being singled out.
Sebastian and William blind-cupped a table of 10 coffees, and two were spectacular. It turned out that both of those coffees were Martha’s.
Since then, we have committed to buy her entire harvest and have launched several quality initiatives. Some of these include improvements to the picking and cherry sorting, introducing new varieties at the farm, using technology to help with the drying process and creating more infrastructure to allow full shade drying. Interestingly enough immediately after our first purchases from Martha in 2014, she pruned nearly 20,000 caturra trees from her farm, which represented 70% of her caturra trees. We’re eagerly anticipating the first coffees from these pruned trees, which will debut in May of 2017, as we firmly expect a marked quality improvement from these freshly pruned trees.
In a high-risk, high-reward move, we decided to freeze the coffee from this past harvest in Colombia and ship it to Calgary in a frozen container. To the best of our knowledge this is the first time anyone has done this with coffee. Once the coffee arrived in Calgary, we off-loaded the container in our frozen warehouse, where it is stored until the time of roasting. We are seeing game-changing results with our freezing strategy as the coffee preserves all of its lovely attributes over a long period of time.
REGION: Bruselas, Huila
VARIETY: Caturra and Colombia
PROCESSING: Washed by fermentation
HARVEST DATE: August, 2016
STORAGE: Green coffee frozen to preserve freshness