We traveled to Cali, Colombia based on a rumor of Inmaculada after tasting just a single cup of their famed Eugenioides variety. Within Inmaculada’s farms, we discovered the rarest and most exotic coffee varieties we’ve seen in production.
In 2010 the Holguin family began their coffee journey in Valle del Cauca, Colombia. They have a long history of producing both palm oil trees and sugar cane in Nariño. They started with 5.12 hectares*, and nine years later they hold 50 hectares that are divided up into four farms, all of which have a unique climate. Inmaculada Coffee Farms is divided up into El Jardin, Las Nubes, Montserrat, and Inmaculada Concepción. Inmaculada’s focus on growing exotic varieties and processing them to highlight their terroir is inspiring. Their goal is to “produce the most extraordinary coffees possible, regardless of risk or costs.” Most of the varieties they grow are incredibly low-yielding and difficult to grow, proving their commitment to their goal. Within the grounds of their Inmaculada Concepcion farm, there is an old Catholic school that has been turned into their dry mill and cupping lab, complete with a Ferris wheel style drying bed on the roof. After cupping in their classroom-converted-to cupping lab, we zeroed in on three varieties that highlight what Inmaculada is accomplishing with all their hard work. Since that day in 2018, we’ve continued to partner with Inmaculada on these three varieties, including this Gesha.
NATURALLY PROCESSED COFFEE
Natural coffees are beautiful…Okay, natural coffees are beautiful when done properly, but can be equally terrible when things go wrong. Natural processing, or dry processing, refers to the act of drying and fermenting coffee inside the cherry. Long before the age of portafilter tattoos and dual-boiler home espresso machines, coffee was picked and dried this way out of convenience. It is, to this day, still the most convenient and economically friendly way to process coffee cherries. (It’s estimated that dry-processing can use up to 90% less water than the washing process.) So why isn’t all coffee processed this way? Well, as coffee made its way across the world, it was commoditized and standardized, just like all other products spread by colonialism, but that’s a whole other story... Adding to the boom of washed processing, the natural process method can be tricky to get right, due to the delicate nature of fermentation and drying. What does all this have to do with the final cup? Well, when you leave the skin and fruit of the coffee cherry on the seed throughout fermentation and drying, that fruit begins to break down, imparting esters that influence delicate florals and big fruit notes into the seed that survive the roasting process. If it’s rushed or handled incorrectly, this fruit rot can lend off-flavors to the coffee, making the final cup dirty or ‘fermenty.’ Basically that single cherry begins to slowly decay, and controlling that delicate action through advanced technique and metrics allow us, lucky folks, to drink wonderfully floral and fruity coffees. We have long promoted natural processed coffees, and this amazing Gesha is just one of the reasons we do.