Farm: El Vergel Estates
El Vergel Estates is located in Fresno, Colombia, a small town in the Northern tip of Tolima. The farm(s) are managed by the Bayter brothers and their mother Marta, who have been at the helm since 1995. Over the last 15 years El Vergel Estates has seen tremendous growth, and they are now one of the largest producers in the region employing over 100 people.
This is a single-varietal lot of Java, a variety that is relatively uncommon in Colombia. Planted in the Summer of 2016, the Java trees at El Vergel Estates are spaced out several meters apart, this provides the individual trees with the proper amount of room they need to maximize nutrient consumption and fruit productivity.
Process: Anaerobic Fermentation
This lot was processed using an anaerobic fermentation technique commonly referred to as “carbonic maceration” or “anaerobic natural” processing. Borrowed from winemaking, this approach involves the use of sealed containers that are specially designed to allow oxygen to escape but restrict it from entering. Limiting oxygen in this manner accomplishes two things…
(1) it suppresses the fermentation of natural occurring yeasts, which are often responsible for creating overly fruitful and/or alcoholic notes.
(2) it encourages the growth of lactic acid bacteria, which impart vibrantly sweet and mildly tart fruit flavors; without becoming overly acidic.
The coffee is allowed to ferment, with its fruit intact, for a period of 72 hours. After the first 42 hours, the staff at El Vergel Estates fills the tanks halfway with water in order to promote a higher degree of bacterial activity.
After fermentation is complete, the coffee is dried for a period of 24 days. The staff at El Vergel Estates implements an “intermittent” drying technique that involves moving each lot back and forth between raised beds and large silos. This helps to achieve a more homogenous level of drying. They then "stabilize” the coffee for a period of one and half months in a humid-controlled vault located on site.
Brew Notes: El Edén
Careful and controlled processing, along with favorable growing conditions, and intentional varietal selection, has led to a coffee that is crisp, sweet, and highly approachable.
Pour over brewing offers a balanced cup that pairs unique floral notes with delicate fruit flavors, and rich chocolate qualities. The initial aroma and acidity of asian pear subsides to present the distinctive flavor of elderflower. As the cup cools, chocolate notes become more prominent, as does this coffee’s lingering honey-like sweetness.
The AeroPress will yield a similar cup, albeit it one that trades a bit of flavor clarity for a more dense, full bodied, mouthfeel. Expect the crispness of pear, combined with a lively array of tropical fruit, and a somewhat boozy finish, reminiscent of elderflower liquor; again, as the cup cools, cocoa qualities intensify.