Location: Colombia > Huila > Various
Origin type: Cooperation
Variety: Caturra, Castillo, Colombia
Processing: Fully washed
Cupping score: 87
Origin: El Divino Nino
El Divino Niño is our name for the crafted microblends we have from the departement of Huila.
The farmers in Huila are small, and the deliveries of coffees can be tiny from each individual producer. In the case where there is enough volume to make a microlot of 5 bags or more, we keep them separated as single producer lot and sell them by the name of the producers. When the deliveries are smaller, we normally mix coffees from producers and flavor profiles that match up, and call the lots El Divino Niño, divided by different lot numbers.
Whether it’s an El Divino Niño coffee or a single producer lot by the name of the farmer, we are paying the same premium and have the full traceability of deliveries.
The harvest in Huila is very spread out. Some have the main harvest in May – July, and others from October – December. This means we will buy coffees 3-4 times a year from the project.There will be a mix of micro lots and medium sized lots based on cupping scores, profiles and lot sizes. The premiums are paid based on a scoring system, and the entire premium goes back to the growers.
Coffees are picked in 3-4 passes. Meaning the producers/workers pick the more or less ripe cherries in one block. Then they might wait a few weeks until it’s again a descent amount of ripe cherries to pick in that same place. Generally the first and last pass is of lower quality, and the second and third will be considered as the best, with more ripe cherries and uniform quality. When we can, we try to buy parchment harvested in these two passes.
The coffee from Huila is generally fully washed, meaning pulped and fermented the traditional way. There is a few exceptions where farmers are using eco-pulpers with mechanical removal of mucilage, and/or are doing honeys, but it’s still not to common.
This is the most common and widely used method. The farmer will have a small beneficio, a small manual or electric pulper and a fermentation tank. They pulp the cherries in the afternoon. The coffees are going straight from the pulper in to the fermentation tank. It can sit there from one to two days, depending on the temperature. Higher temperature will speed up the fermentation process, and lower temperature will slow it down. Some producers do intermediate rinsing with water, that can also help them control the process.
Washing and grading
They normally stir the coffees in tanks or small channels before they remove the floaters. For the ones without channels it’s common to wash the coffees in the fermentation tank and skim off the floaters before it goes to the drying.
For the smallholders in regions like Huila the coffees are commonly sun dried in parabolic dryers that almost works as green houses. The better producers have well ventilated facilities. There are many different variations and constructions, but generally they are all systems that is able to protect the coffee from rain. We have generally seen that the producers that have constructions with good ventilation and manage to dry the coffee down to below 11% in 10 – 18 days often have very good and consistent coffees. Drying in Huila is a big challenge due to rain and high humidity. During drying the producers hand sort the parchment coffee for impurities and defects. By receiving premium payments, the producers can improve their facilities, by building new or reconstruct the dryers to increase ventilation and potentially add shade nets to slower drying, and hence improve the quality and longevity of the coffee.