Colombia El Obraje Gesha
Hacienda El Obraje is located in Tangua, outside of Nariño Department's main city of Pasto. Owner Pablo Guerrero, a Pasto native, began growing coffee in 2000. Obraje situated in a fertile valley, but the area surrounding Pasto is ordinarily considered too high for coffee but perfect for potatoes. Pablo, who also works as an architect, originally planted the farm with wheat, but imports ruined the domestic market. He then tried growing apples and tree fruit, but post harvest preservation and transport proved too difficult.
When Obraje first started producing coffee, Pablo treated it as though it were wheat, picking and selling everything without any attention to quality. Six years ago he began focusing on fermentation time, washing techniques, and transitioned to producing specialty coffees, with all the required attention to detail. Obraje is planted with Caturra, Gesha, and assorted varieties remaining from the first planted coffee seed stock.
Because Pablo transitioned the farm from apples to coffee, some lots are oddly spaced, because the young coffee was first planted under the apple trees. As the coffee matured, the apple trees were removed, and more coffee was planted, meaning the same plot has interspersed trees of different ages. All fertilizers and disease/weed control is applied from the top of the farm down to avoid hauling heavy inputs uphill, an example of the way Pablo strategically approaches all aspects of farm management. Coffee harvesting, conversely, starts at the lower elevations at the bottom of the farm and works its way up. El Obraje’s small mill includes an oven-style dryer for finishing lots started on the raised beds.
*information provided by Ally Coffee
This is a beautifully complex coffee, and it deserves your favorite brewing procedure. For us, that's a Kalita Wave (instructional video here) with a 24-gram dose. There are two things to note about this coffee. First, it requires just a touch finer grind size than your average (one or two notches/ticks on your grinder). And two, the pouring phase will go quicker than normal, but the drain time will slow down. With our recipe, you'll be done pouring by 1:40, and the drain will take 1.5 minutes. The drain should be one steady stream. If it starts to drip out of the brewing device while water is still sitting in the bed, coarsen up the grind!
This coffee will have a distinct sparkling acidity, black tea structure, tropical fruit sweetness, and a long jasmine-like finish. Enjoy.
Colombia El Obraje Gesha
This coffee comes from our friends Ally Coffee. We paid $24 per pound and bought two 35 kilo vacuum boxes. Our friend and former employee Dean has become an importer for Ally, who typically specializes in Brazils but has moved into Colombia as well. Seeing as we don’t really buy Brazils but contract enormous amounts of Colombia we were excited about this change. This is the second coffee we have purchased from Ally.
- The Coffee Commodity purchase price was $1.46/lb when we purchased this coffee.
- The Fair Trade Coffee minimum price was $1.76/lb when we purchased this coffee.
* We as a company believe transparency is unbelievably important. However, we decided only to list what is shown here because we don’t know where to stop. Do we list the amount of coffee lost in roasting due to moisture loss? Should we list our roaster Mark's salary? The warehouse rent? The utilities? The point of listing things above is not to justify what we charge or what we profit, but to give a realistic snapshot of the industry and how Specialty Coffee can be different than other commodity industries. If you have concerns feel free to email us and I’ll write you back when I’m available.
Relationship Coffee is an initiative we, at Onyx, have purposely created to describe our sourcing and buying practices and how we document them. Certifications like Direct Trade, Fair Trade, and others have impacted the coffee communities in mostly positive ways but also in some negative ways. We find that blanket terms and applying them to a multitude of business models no longer describes what we do.
In reality, every company is different, and we wanted to step out from the mold and create a new set of standards that exceeds in every department from quality to transparency to pricing. The growers, exporters, importers, associations, cooperatives, and other entities are always a set of relationships. To be honest, many are our friends as much as they are our producers and partners. We share information, family news, meals, housing, many faiths, and argue politics. Oh, and we love it. Relationship Coffee for Onyx is the mark of an honest exchange ethos that permeates our company, and we hope it encourages the growth of specialty coffee for the future.
- We visited the farm or cupping lab and listened to the producer/agronomist or head cooperative/association to ascertain better knowledge about the culture and practices.
- We cupped the coffee, and it scored to our industry-high standards.
- We do not buy futures or multiple harvests to ensure that what we cupped for that year is what we serve.
- We do not ask for exclusivity from producers, binding their options.
- We pay what the coffee is worth. This always is at least double Fair Trade minimum due to the quality we buy, and many times is three to ten times the amount.
- We do not finance any coffee. Cash flow is just as important as final price. Coffee is paid in full upon delivery, and we pay a percentage up front upon contracting.
- We are completely transparent from price to logistics to cupping score, to who we work with buying and shipping coffee.
- We work to set premiums after a contracted price to incentivize quality and community building. This can be .10¢ - .25¢ extra per pound or community projects such as school supplies in the growing village, sports jerseys, vented chimneys for kitchen fires, etc.