El Puente Mill
The El Puente processing facility is owned and operated by Rodrigo Sanchez and his wife Claudia Samboni, under the umbrella of their company Aromas del Sur; which includes several farms, cupping labs, and a state-of-the-art dry mill, in the Palestina region of southern Huila.
Although there are small wet-mills on Rodrigo’s farms, he made the decision to construct El Puente so that he could increase overall production capacity. Having a centralized mill that can process large amounts of coffee cherries from several farms allows him to grow more coffee without overwhelming the staff at his existing mills, giving them the time they need to carefully process high quality micro-lots.
That’s not to say that the larger lots coming from El Puente are of lesser quality. The facility itself was specifically designed to process large amounts of coffee cherries and it is outfitted with the necessary equipment to do just that. Additionally, the staff running El Puente are some of the most skilled coffee professionals in all of Huila.
Honey processed coffees are often sought after because they typically result in cups that are extremely sweet, without being quite as fruitful as natural coffees. This is because a portion of the fruit material that surrounds the bean is removed before the main phase of fermentation.
At El Puente, the honey process begins with an initial 24 hours of fermentation in cherry, using the coffee’s harvest sacks. The coffee is then sorted using a flotation tank, with floaters being removed and discarded.
Next, “healthy” cherries are pulped and the outermost layer of fruit is stripped away from the seed, leaving a portion of the fruit mucilage in tact. The coffee then dry ferments in open air environment for an additional 24 hours. It is during this primary phase of fermentation that the fruit material imparts sweetness on the final cup.
The coffee is then dried using a large outdoor “solar dryer” for three days before being transferred to a state-of-the-art mechanical drier, which lowers the moisture content down to a level that allows the coffee to be safely stored and further prepared for export.
Brewing El Puente
This honey processed lot from our friends at El Puente is lively, rich, and pleasantly sweet with a full mouthfeel; a direct result of careful and attentive processing.
The AeroPress will produce a coffee with moderate brightness and a thick, buttery, mouthfeel. An array of stone-fruit notes (cherry, plum, and apricot) cool to offer the lingering sweetness of milk chocolate.
Pour Over preparation will lead to dynamic cup (yet well-balanced) cup with vibrant acidity, reminiscent of ripe plums and red wine, and rich sweetness, most similar to vanilla wafers; as the coffee cools the familiar qualities of milk chocolate become more prominent.