Dr. Mauricio Shattah reversed the specialty coffee value chain. After managing his own Bogota-based medical practice for more than 20 years, while running one of Colombia’s first specialty coffee roasting companies, he grew frustrated with the quality of his green coffee supply and decided to retire from medicine, buy his own farm, and produce his own coffee. After nearly 5 years of searching for the right location, he found the perfect spot in 2012, near Ibague, in Colombia’s Tolima Department. He decided to name the farm after his wife’s nickname: "Mi Negrita Linda", with it finally ending up as
just La Negrita.
Since the beginning, Mauricio has applied his scientific and medical background to produce coffee
that is both unique and exemplary. The farm has more than 20 exotic varietals planted and offers
multiple processing methods to suit all tastes and push the boundaries of experimentation in pursuit of the ever elusive perfect cup of coffee. In 2020, La Negrita produced its first commercial harvest of Wush Wush. Mauricio’s fondness for the varietal is due to its high yield, high resistance, and high cupping scores. We scored the coffee at better than 87 points.
Brian Gaffney, curator of the ‘Wild About Wush Wush’ bundle, first encountered La Negrita’s coffees over a decade ago, through their Gesha and Mokka offerings. He credits Mauricio for igniting his passion for high-quality Colombian coffees, “I always have at least three countries of origin represented on my home bar, and one of them is always, always a Colombian coffee.”
Brian first learned about the availability of Mauricio’s Wush Wush in early April 2020, via Instagram, from Turkish Coffee Champion and Vulcan Coffee Roasters founder Serkan Ipekli, who was willing to ship roasted coffee from Qatar to Brooklyn. While brewing Serkan’s competition-intended coffee (the event was postponed due to COVID) and working on the Standart article, the idea for the bundle struck Brian. “It will be one thing for consumers to simply read about the coffee; but, a completely immersive experience for readers to drink the coffee while reading about it.” He contacted Standart to see if they would be interested; they were. Brian then contacted his friend and mentor, Caravela Coffee CEO Alejandro Cadena, to help secure the coffee. Alejandro agreed, reached out to Mauricio, who was quickly onboard, and the process was in motion. Caravela milled the coffee and offered to send it to Brian’s roaster of choice. Brian contacted us about the project and we were happy to get involved, to host and roast the bundle, in partnership with Standart Magazine.
From the article, “Wush Wush is a rare variety. It takes the form of a big tree with good structure, large, hearty leaves, and a strong root system that is native to southwest Ethiopia’s Keffa region. It was first collected in 1975 as part of a targeted coffee berry disease (CBD) resistance programme. CBD causes the tree’s green cherries to drop before ripening. It was one of only 25 mother trees selected. Wush Wush is also less susceptible and more resilient to coffee leaf rust, which causes infected leaves to fall, short-circuiting a tree’s ability to generate energy and yield a crop. However, with good fertilization, proper spacing, and maturity (five or six harvests), Wush Wush produces roughly a kilogram of parchment coffee per harvest. Its name is taken from the initial collection site.”
Mauricio’s natural process Wush Wush presents as fruit forward with a juicy, almost syrupy body. Think red sangria with notes of strawberry, tart cherry, blueberry, and peach. Natural processing refers to the act of drying and fermenting coffee inside the cherry after which they are dried on raised beds, inside a temperature and humidity controlled environment until they have reached approximately 12% moisture content, and then hulled to remove the dry husk of the fruit. Mauricio then nitrogen flushes the coffee to preserve freshness.