Cerro Azul was one of the first farms in Colombia to cultivate the famed Gesha variety. Now it is nearly commonplace, as farmers are vying for higher cup scores and the high prices they fetch, but Café Granja La Esperanza was one of the first to lead the charge. Their story begins in Valle de Cauca when in 1945, a man named Juan Antonio Herrera decided to plant more varieties alongside his Typica. Much like today, producing coffee was a family affair, and Juan Antonio and his eleven children focused on producing coffee on the Potosí farm. Two children, in particular, had a keen focus on coffee production and decided to take the coffee in a new direction. The two farms of Potosí and the newly acquired La Esperanza were converted to organic production in the late ’90s.
In 2007, Rigoberto had the opportunity to manage a farm in the famed coffee region of Boquete, Panama. The Gesha variety from his farm La Carleida won the Best of Panama a year later. Don Rigoberto made the choice to bring Gesha seed back from Panama to plant at La Esperanza, ushering in a new chapter for Colombian coffee production. Now Café Granja operates five distinct farms, Cerro Azul, Las Margaritas, La Esperanza, Pososí, and Hawaii. The farm of Cerro Azul is the highest in elevation, and we’ve found that it produces some of the best Geshas in the world. We have selected these coffees for competition year after year. With the absence of the competition season this year, we found ourselves with access to more offers from our friends at Granja. After cupping through a table of some incredibly interesting offers, we honed in on three varieties grown throughout their five farms.
CERRO AZUL GESHA NATURAL
The Cerro Azul farm regularly produces some of the top lots that we purchase from Granja la Esperanza. With elevation soaring up to 2,000 meters above sea level, the Gesha from this farm is easily one of the most complex coffees we purchase. The terroir lends a hand in the complex nature of this coffee, but with little need as the seed stock is from a long line of green-tipped Panamanian Gesha plants. (Much coveted throughout the world.) Layered guava, strawberry, and native Colombian fruit notes pair with a bright and almost sparkling acidity that is most pronounced on the cupping table. When brewed, this coffee exudes delicate florals paired with complex fruits and a heavy and pleasantly mouth-coating texture. Read more below on how this coffee is fermented-
The whole cherries are fermented for 20 hours in open tanks. Once this first stage is finished the batch is moved to barrels where the cherries go through a second fermentation for 72 hours in anaerobic form. This two fermentations processes take place at Cerro Azul farm at an altitude of 1880 masl. This altitude and microclimate helps maintain the temperature between 15 - 21ºC. Drying Method: Once the whole fermentation is finished the cherries are moved to a mechanical dryer where they last 8 days until moistures is on the ideal percentage point. These mechanical dryers are regulated to a temperature of 38°C - 39°C.