Colombia La Palma Natural Sidra
La Palma y El Tucán. The name has become synonymous with high-quality competition-grade coffees, but for our green buyer, it means another thing: home. Dakota spent three months living in one of the nine cabins built on the grounds of La Palma y El Tucán, working alongside the team there to facilitate a coffee experience unlike any other for guests visiting the farm. During his time there, he experienced their dedication to quality and the constant innovation taking place in all aspects of the farm. The guidance and teaching from each of La Palma's staff members were integral to leading Dakota to the Onyx team, who has had a relataionship with La Palma y El Tucán since early 2013.
Felipe and Elisa started La Palma y El Tucán with the vision to produce small, perfect quantities of some of the world’s favorite coffee varieties. The farm has a unique layout with each variety planted in an artful way that encourages exceptional production and is also beautiful. The coffee is picked as it ripens by a team of women whose job is to make pass after pass, day after day, to choose only the best cherries. La Palma’s small wet mill is designed to showcase how fermentation can encourage coffees to show flavors you could only dream. Their dedication to quality is rivaled by their desire to change the future of production in Colombia - to create new ways for producers to approach farming, processing, marketing. This, in turn, could create incredible change for generational coffee producers in Colombia and many more to come.
Jon, co-owner of Onyx and coffee buyer, first met Felipe and Elisa when sourcing in Colombia in 2013. This first meeting turned into an article for Fresh Cup Magazine. Onyx was one of the first coffee roasters to buy coffee from La Palma. Since then they have become more than partners in coffee, but have genuinely become friends. Felipe and Elisa's dedication to their craft is truly inspiring. It is clear that they care deeply about the future of coffee production in Colombia. Everything they do is based on creating jobs for people in their communities, offering an opportunity to neighboring producers, and encouraging coffee as a viable, sustainable way of life.
Sidra is a new hybrid coffee variety, made from Bourbon and Typica, and it melds the characteristics of these two varieties. It has acquired the dense sugars and weight of a Red Bourbon and the acidity of Typica. At the farm, you can distinguish them by seeing strong, confident looking trees with dark green leaves and tight nodes of cherries. The cup quality is that of crisp pear and apples. Fresh green acidity like malic acid is the star of the show for us. Think of the tart refreshing characteristics of white wines and Granny Smith apples. It also yields itself to floral honeysuckle-like qualities and seems to have large amounts of phosphoric acid, which results in juicy, mouthwatering tactile sensations.
NATURALLY PROCESSED COFFEE
Natural coffees 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. After the coffee cherries are picked from the tree they are placed on perforated drying beds to allow airflow all around the cherry. They are dried in the sun until they have 12% moisture content or so and then hulled to remove the dry husk of the fruit. Naturally (get it?), they exhibit fruit-forward characteristics and have a good chance of tasting “fermenty,” which is usually a taboo in Specialty Coffee. However, with an advanced technique 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. This La Palma Natural Gesha is one of those reasons we do.
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 – Hario V60
20g Coffee : 300g Water 210°F
~2:30 Drain Time
The Sidra variety is a favorite of us here. It exhibits bright and sweet acidity like pears or apples, while being full of sweet and floral characteristics. Look for sugary apple cider, warm fig, and floral black tea, almost like jasmine. We liked this V60 recipe because it was quick and emphasized the taste and texture of apple cider, cooling to pear. Sure to be your new favorite. If this coffee drains too quickly, under-extracts, it'll taste a little weak, like watered down cider, but it's pretty hard to do with this coffee. If this coffee drains too slowly, over-extracts, it'll still taste pretty good, a little more like apple with the skin in flavor, with a drying black tea finish.
Colombia La Palma Natural Sidra
This is a Relationship Coffee from our friends at Felipe and Elisa from La Palma y El Tucán. We have been working with them for six years now. This year we purchased ten lots of their Heroes Series nano-lots from their Estate & Varietals collection. We bought just twenty-five kilos at $53.80 per pound, and we cupped this coffee at an 89. We imported this coffee ourselves.
- The Coffee Commodity purchase price was $1.04/lb when we purchased this coffee.
- The Fair Trade Coffee minimum price was $1.60/lb when we bought 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.