In 2019, we visited Colombia in order to seek out the famed Inmaculada Coffee Farms. Before making the drive to Pinchindé, we met Fernando Oka, who graciously showed us around Cali, Colombia. Over the afternoon, we quickly realized that Fernando is a bit of an institution among the population of Cali. Everywhere we went, Fernando was greeted and invited in, making his rounds to the tables before settling in. We like to joke that Fernando is the unofficial Governor of Cali with how well-networked and social he is, but the truth is that Fernando is an extremely passionate person. Fernando has a deep love for food and wine, not to mention coffee, but most of all for people. His beloved nature extends well beyond the town of Cali, Colombia, to the greater specialty coffee world. We’ve been lucky enough to travel the world with Fernando, and yet it still feels like we are sitting in a restaurant in Cali, as he is just as likely to make his social rounds in Greece as he is in Colombia. As he struck out on his own to aid in connecting roasters with specialty producers from Colombia, we were quick to support him as often as we could.
The outcome of our close partnership has been a curated offering list that we’ve assembled over the past few months of harvest, the first of which is this incredible washed Sidra. As we make our way through this curated lineup, we’ve asked Fernando a series of questions, which you can find below.
Speaking into our relationship as an extension of our sourcing program
How did you find this coffee, and who grew it?
Benjamin is one of the leaders of Asorcafé we met in 2014 and in December 2020. I gave him some Sidra seeds from a friend from Ecuador. This is the third harvest and we have dialed a specific fermentation of one day oxidation in whole Cherry and two days anaerobic on tankas depulped.
(A note, this oxidation is generally referred to by us as a pre-fermentation stage. This is, of course, a misnomer, as fermentation begins as soon as the coffee is picked until it’s dried. The outcome of each is the same, the verbiage of oxidation stage is more specific. Leave it to Fernando to say it better. Definitely not the first or last time this will happen.)
How did you meet this producer?
We met in 2014, in Inza town as I used to sell espresso coffee machines, so I went there to install and train them to make espresso drinks.
How was it processed, and what stood out about this particular coffee?
As explained previously, [it] is washed coffee with double fermentation… What stands out is the cleanliness, character, sweetness and spices, [specific to] what this terroir and variety can produce.
What are the growing conditions of this coffee?
La Aragona is located in Mesopotamia, Inza. At 1950 meters up on sea level, with the perfect balance of a little bit of shade and exposure that is ideal at this altitude. Soil is rich in organic material and also volcanic.
What trends are you seeing in Colombian specialty coffee?
Being super honest the coffee market is pretty immature, as it follows most trends no matter if they make sense or not. So this coffee is more a representation of a classic outstanding coffee as Colombia Mild washed Arabica.
What are you hoping to highlight as we curate more coffees together?
Well for me Onyx has a signature in his coffees. I always try to offer the highest quality lots and I value the trust in the relationship between us. I wanna be the ambassador for great producers that don't have the opportunity to be recognized at this level.