High up in Northern Colombia, the Sierra Nevada mountain range is home to the newest project from our friends at Equation Coffee. (Equation Coffee is behind the famous La Palma y El Tucán.) The Delauga concept is founded on the ideals of water conservation, biodiversity protection, and sharing value through processing techniques and market access. This model is strikingly similar to the Neighbors and Crops model founded at La Palma, where a team on the ground seeks out coffee producing farms willing to partner with Delagua in processing the cherry they grow. In return for partnering, the producing partners receive nearly 60% more than the national average price, as well as agronomy and picking support. We have been purchasing coffees from this project since day one, and we are excited for this coffee to be our first release from Delagua Coffee.
JESUS NUÑEZ BELTRAN
Jesus inherited the farm of Buena Vista from his parents after growing up around coffee production. Like many smallholder producers in the area, Jesus Nuñez Beltran began helping out on the coffee farm when he was young, and once his parents retired he took over production and management of the farm. Throughout the harvest of the fifteen hectares of Buena Vista, Jesus, and his wife Yasmin have ten people on staff that aid in picking, processing, and post-harvest care for the coffee trees. This is atypical for farms in this area, as most are only 4-6 hectares in size, which requires less manpower throughout the year. This is the second year that Buena Vista has worked with Delagua to process a small portion of their harvest.
NATURAL PROCESSED COFFEES
Naturals are beautiful… Okay, natural coffees are beautiful when done properly and are pretty much the worst thing ever when not. Natural processing or dry processing refers to the act of drying and fermenting coffee inside the cherry. This means the coffee cherries are picked from the tree and placed on drying beds or on the ground in some cases. They are dried in the sun until they have 12% moisture content or so and then are hulled to remove the dry husk of the fruit.
“Naturally,” they exhibit fruit-forward characteristics and have a good chance of tasting “fermenty,” which is usually a taboo in Specialty Coffee. However, with advanced techniques in picking and drying, high-quality naturals are being produced, and the cup quality and taste profiles are astoundingly good. We have long promoted alternative processing methods, and naturals are at the top of that list. The naturals produced high in the mountains of Sierra Nevada are quite different than the naturals we source from other parts of the world, with a heavy syrupy body and funky fruitiness reminiscent of wine. Here’s what Delagua says about their natural process:
“The Natural Process begins with a pre-fermentation stage of 24 hours at the receiving station. From here, the cherries will be moved to the drying stage; coffee will be placed in African-style raised beds for over 25 days and will be racked and rotated every 4 hours. Due to the levels of sugar and moisture, the first days will be crucial to avoid microbial activity prolongation. Finally, parchment coffee will pass through our dry milling and hand sorting stage.”