Colombia La Palma Faustino Reyes
Don Faustino is 60 years old and has grown coffee his entire life. He was born into a generational coffee growing family. His farm, La Floresta, is located in the village of Anatoli’ quite close to La Palma y El Tucán. Faustino has lived in the region for little over 30 years and purchased the farm 25 years ago when the previous owner offered the land to cover a past debt he owed Faustino. He has a beautiful wife, two daughters and one grandson who all work and help maintain the farm.
Before they were part of the Neighbors and Crops program, they sold parchment coffee to local buyers and cooperatives. However, as with most producers in the region, they’ve also been having difficulties for the last couple years hiring skilled labor that can guarantee good cherry picking without damaging the coffee trees. Faustino joined the Neighbors program in 2014 when he discovered La Palma’s ability to provide a skilled harvest team to pick through the trees and then sell cherry without having to process the coffee himself.
LA PALMA Y EL TUCÁN:
La Palma is a shining example of specialty coffee producers challenging the status quo. We have been buying from Felipe Sardi and Elisa Madriñán for five years now and have had consistently beautiful coffees. La Palma y El Tucán is a stunning farm in Zipacón, Colombia about two hours from Bogota. It’s set in a unique microclimate that is cloudy and damp 50% of the day. With great intentionality, Felipe planted five specific coffee varietals in fully separated lots on the farm SL-28, Gesha, Sidra, Red Bourbon, and Typica. The farm’s wet mill runs completely on solar power and utilizes an incredible greywater system. They also use a special California red worm that makes organic fertilizer out of coffee pulp waste from the mill. Through their processing mill, they’ve developed special fermentation techniques they call lactic acid process (read below for more details) and acetic acid process. Through all these methods La Palma has developed a completely sustainable system that produces some of the highest scoring coffees in the world.
In the last few years, they’ve started a project called Neighbors & Crops, a program which consists of buying coffee from the surrounding farms and processing it in their state of the art mill. By teaching agronomy, cherry selection, and giving organic fertilizer to neighbors, they have lifted both the quality of life and quality of coffee in their region.
LACTIC WASHED COFFEE:
Lactic acid washed coffee is a change in the style of fermentation during the washing process of coffee. Let’s walk through it briefly. Coffee cherries are moved through a pulper which squeezes the cherries until the two beans come out, and the pulp and cherry skin is removed. This leaves two beans covered in mucilage. Think the slimy stuff on the pit of a peach. In order to remove mucilage for the last hundred years, farmers soak the coffee in water or sometimes without but they let the coffee ferment and bacteria eats/removes the mucilage. Flavor is created in the coffee during fermentation. What La Palma has discovered that by controlling the bacteria during this process that flavor and its intensity can also be controlled. Instead of using a normal tiled tub for fermentation, La Palma uses an anaerobic chamber (no oxygen) and keeps the water temperature and pH level controlled so that the bacteria that produces the lactic acid can thrive. Not only does this create wild tropical cup profiles but also an incredible tactile experience.
Wanna know more about how we brew? Then visit our brew methods page cause "this is how we brew it" (think Montell Jordan when reading that last part).
FILTER - Kalita Wave
20g Coffee : 340g Water 205°F
~3:00 Drain Time
- 50g bloom for 30s
- 100g pour @30s
- 50g about every 15s until reaching 340g total
This Neighbors & Crop lot from La Palma y El Tucán represents what we love about their lactic fermentation processing! A rich, sweet creamy body carries tropical mango and strawberry into a beautiful cup profile. We found it difficult to stop sipping on this coffee and think you'll find the same. We liked the Kalita Wave for its balance and this recipe was built to bring out some of the brighter tropical notes and found an exciting cup. The coffee brew bed should stay low, with steady pouring in the manner described above, grind slightly coarser than a traditional Kalita recipe. When under-extracted it still tasted good, but was more tart and less sweet or balanced. When over-extracted there was a slightly bitter chalky mouthfeel and a loss of the mouthwatering aftertaste. There is a pretty wide range of tastiness with this coffee, as we find with other La Palma coffees. If you choose to use another recipe, don't be scared to grind coarser and have a faster drain time!
ESPRESSO - Coming soon...The coffee is still too fresh. ;)
Colombia La Palma Faustino Reyes
This Relationship Coffee comes straight from our friends at La Palma y El Tucán. We purchased ten 35-kilo bags for $6.76 per pound. We cupped this coffee at a wild 88.75. This will be the fifth year we have visited and worked side by side with Felipe, Sebastian, Elisa, and the entire team at La Palma. They are incredible people and have created one of the best sustainable models for specialty coffee in Colombia.
- The Coffee Commodity purchase price was $0.98/lb when we purchased this coffee.
- The Fair Trade Coffee minimum price was $1.60/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 the 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.