Rodrigo & Finca Monteblanco
Finca Monteblanco is owned and operated by Rodrigo Sanchez, an award-winning producer, who has earned his reputation for quality through his systematic approach to varietal selection, harvesting, and processing. He also happens to be the grandson of the property’s original owner.
The farm is located high above the city of Pitalito, along treacherous mountain roads. Much of Monteblanco’s 18 hectares are positioned on the crest of a hill, with the wet mill and drying facility sitting atop slopes of coffee plants.
In 2002, Rodrigo participated in a program that taught the children of coffee producers how to “cup” and evaluate coffee. Before this experience, he and his family had never considered coffee in terms of cup profiles. By learning to differentiate profiles, Rodrigo and his father were able to make connections between farming techniques and specific tasting attributes.
Rodrigo then began to explore the trees planted on Monteblanco, more specifically, the various cultivars that his grandfather had planted in the 1980s. One of these unique varieties is Purple Caturra, a type of Caturra whose cherries (and leaves) will ripen and reveal a distinct purple color.
Spice Washed Process
Over the past couple of years Rodrigo and his team have been experimenting with post- harvest coffee processing. He has manipulated the length of fermentation, temperature at which fermentation occurs, and now he has even began to infuse some of his highest quality lots with fruits and spices. Cherries are harvested, measured for sugar concentration, and sorted using a flotation tank. The coffee cherries are then placed in sealed containers for roughly 100 hours (4 days). This initial anaerobic fermentation adds complexity to the coffee, while also giving Rodrigo more control over the coffee’s sugars, temperature, and pH levels.
The cherries are then de-pulped (their fruit is removed) and rinsed. The coffee is then placed into tanks where it ferments in spice- or fruit juice-infused water for approximately 60 hours. After the second phase of fermentation the coffee is rinsed once more before being dried on raised beds.
For this lot, Rodrigo filled the tanks with anise-infused water, creating a remarkably complex, yet clean, coffee with quite possibly the most well-structured spice qualities we’ve ever observed in “black” coffee.
Brewing Purple Caturra Spiced
This highly unique lot come to us from one of Colombia’s premier coffee producers, Rodrigo Sanchez, with whom we have a multi-year sourcing relationship.
Due to the unorthodox nature of this coffee’s post-harvest processing, it offers perhaps the most clear and refined spice notes we’ve ever tasted in “black” coffee.
Pour Over preparation will produce a well structured cup with an intense star-anise aroma. The initial flavor and acidity of black cherry subsides to present pleasant cream, oak, and vanilla notes; as the cup cools sweetness intensifies.
The AeroPress produces a more fruitful coffee with increased body and boozy characteristics, but less flavor clarity. The initial brightness of cherry is once again met by oak, vanilla, and spice qualities, ultimately cooling to presents a flavor reminiscent of high quality bourbon.