June 2019: Feature number 8.
Merito Coffee Roasters took us back to Colombia. Not surprising to be featuring another colombian coffee, being that Colombia is the 3rd largest producer of coffee globally; Behind Veitnam (who produce mainly Robusta) and Brazil.
Coffee leaf rust being a big issue in Colombia, its also not a stretch that we featured another Castillo (more about castillo here), however this time we were treated to a relatively new processing technique called Black Honey.
June also saw us explore:
The Farm: Finca La Divisa
Finca La Divisa is located in the municipality of Buenavista, (meaning “beautiful view”), in Quindio department, Colombia. It is in the western central region of the country and crossed by the Andes mountains, this geography results in varied terrain encompassing glaciers, volcanoes,grassland, lakes and forest.
Finca La Divisa is situated in the western slopes on the central Cordillera and is characterized by its steep terrain and benign weather. The farm is located roughly 1600 meters above sea level and has amazing views of the surrounding area, along with a clean natural water supply.
The farms owner and coffee producer, Diofanor Ruiz lives in the beautiful homestead located on the farm and it is his love for coffee which drives the quality seen in everything they produce. Diofanor is known for his interest in progressive processing methods and fermentation techniques. This interest coupled with his attention to detail and enthusiasm for the work shines through in his coffee, and means some truly spectacular offerings are being produced on the farm. Diofanor aims to not use any chemicals on his farm unless absolutely necessary, having used no herbicides or pesticides Since 2014 and occasional use of small amounts of fertiliser.
This particular micro lot from Diofanor’s farm is a unique black honey processed coffee, comprised of 100% Castillo, a variety developed to be more resistant to coffee leaf rust and have higher yields than Castillo.
In 2017, with the guidance of green bean buyer and 3 rd generation coffee farmers, Cofinet, Diofanor produced his first red and black honeys.
The farm follows strict ripeness criteria ensuring only the best coffee cherries are harvested. Then after picking, the small micro-lot goes through an anaerobic fermentation process that’s lasts for 12 hours. This processing helps accentuate the delicious but subtle orange notes present in the coffee. After fermentation the coffee is pulped and then dried on raised beds to moisture content of 10.5%.
Along with delicious but subtle orange notes you can expect amazing sweetness through brown sugar and vanilla notes and a full round body.
While it has no actual honey involved, when the coffee bean is removed from the cherry, some of the flesh or “mucilage” as its called remains, and much like honey it is sticky and sweet.
Some of this sweetness is retained and provides a honey like sweetness in your cup, not to mention white / yellow honey process coffee beans, when dried look like they’ve been coated in honey.
Honey processing offers different variations not just in the level of mucilage left on the bean, but drying techniques too.
These variations are represented as different colours of honey processing; White, yellow, gold, red and of course black. Exact techniques vary between farm and producer, but here we will offer an over view. White / yellow honey vary depending upon the amount of mucilage left on the bean compared to the others, which offer a fuller bodied cup. White / yellow often offering good cup clarity for filter brewing methods. Red, gold and black honey coffees are processed with differing levels of humidity and light exposure. With these variables come different levels of risk. The darker the honey process, the slower the drying process and the higher the humidity. Black honey is also the most labour intensive, requiring constant monitoring to ensure they aren’t affected by over fermentation or mould.
Farm / Estate: Finca La Divisa
Producer: Diofanor Ruiz
Altitude: 1600m – 1800m
Processing: Black Honey
Roast degree: Light
Flavour Notes: Brown Sugar Vanilla Orange
Recommended method: Aeropress
Ratio: 16g Filter grind coffee
220g water @ 96 degrees
Stir 3 times
Steep for 45 seconds
Insert plunger and press onto cup
Ratio: 19g dose
Brew time: 30 seconds
Photo credit: Cofinet.