Colombia La Palma Socorro Pico
Socorro was raised by her grandparents who were traditional coffee growers in the region, the tradition continued with her mom and then with Mrs. Socorro. At 21 years-old she started learning everything about coffee, since then she has been producing coffee for more than 30 years. Her farm, Santa Isabel is in the department of Santander. Aside from coffee, she also grows plantains and yucca. She is a mother of three and lives on the farm with them and her husband.
Because of her excellent coffee production, Santa Isabel has become recognized in the zone. Mrs. Socorro used to sell her parchment coffee to the cooperative in a 70% proportion. She became part of La Palma's Neighbors & Crops program and is highly motivated to continue working with that project.
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
25g Coffee : 400g Water °F
~2:45 Drain Time
Another fun lactic acid processed coffee from our friends at La Palma y El Tucán. This processing method brings out round and fruit-forward coffees. This one has strong notes of plant ripened blackberry and the booziness reminds us of blackberry wine. This flavor carries over into a dark sweetness like molasses with an exceptionally long and enjoyable aftertaste of freshly squeezed lime and chocolate. As usual with these coffees, it wants to drain quickly. But, don’t be scared by fast drain times. With our standard Kalita recipe, this coffee drained at 2:45s and was sweet and delicious. If it's under-extracted you can expect a tart and fermented beverage. If it's over-extracted you can expect dark berry cough syrup and a bitter lasting aftertaste.
ESPRESSO - Modbar EP
Brew Temp: 198°F, Line Pressure: ~3.5 bars, Max Pressure: 9 bars
Pressure Profile: 0s to 4s - line pressure, from 4s on - 9 bars
20g in : ~48g out @ 22s
This coffee was much more finicky as an espresso, but that much more interesting. When it was under-extracted it was tart lime, boozy, and slightly floral like a daiquiri with way too much lime juice! When over-extracted it tasted like freshly squeezed lime juice, raw simple syrup, floral, but the aftertaste was too much cocoa and drying. 22s found this shot the most balanced with freshly squeezed lime juice, raw sugar simple, floral, and malted cocoa. When used in a milk drink the blackberry note came through and tasted like fresh blackberries and chocolate malt!
Colombia La Palma Socorro Pico
This Relationship Coffee comes straight from our friends at La Palma y El Tucán. We purchased ten 35-kilo bags for $7.13 per pound, and we cupped this coffee at an 87.5. We also worked with Ally Coffee to bring it stateside. 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. We have two more of this harvest to release, so keep in touch.
- The Coffee Commodity purchase price was $1.05/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.