About the coffee
As well as farming his own coffee, Juan has also recently branched out into exporting coffee from neighbouring farms. The producer of this coffee has a particularly close connection to the project however, Segundo Cartuche is the Head of Wet Processing and Coffee Drying at Hacienda La Papaya. He currently tends to a 1 hectare plot of the Typica varietal near his home, just a short drive from the main farm. Over the past year he has begun to expand his planting using Geisha, Pacamara and Sidra plants from La Papaya’s nursery, to give a total area of around 3 hectares, and hopes for a small harvest of the new varietals this summer. Segundo’s processing expertise is clear in this lot, with the floral aromas from the Typica varietal maintained, while ripe fruit character is enhanced, giving deep and rich stone fruit notes.
Jasmine, Peach and Honeydew Melon
We’re excited to continue our collaboration with Juan Peña, the owner of Hacienda La Papaya. In previous years we have purchased small experimental lots and shared them with a small number of clients, so we are looking forward to expanding our collaboration this year, and sharing Juan’s excellent work with a wider audience. The farm is located just outside the town of Saraguro, in the Lojo region of Southern Ecuador. A former producer of roses, Juan began to experiment with coffee in 2010 after his rose crop was almost completely wiped out by disease. Over the intervening years he has thrown himself into the pursuit of high quality coffee, with a meticulous and scientific approach. He has a well-organised and functioning nursery, and experimental plots with trees spaced a few metres apart, in order to experiment with different fertilisation procedures and examine the results. Juan also experiments heavily with post-harvest processing, with pre-fermented washed coffees, carefully controlled natural coffees, and experimental processes such as carbonic maceration and anaerobic fermentations.
The natural, or dry process, is the traditional process, going back generations. When accomplished in a controlled and careful manner, dry processed coffees can produce flavour experiences not found in wet processed coffees, deep fruits and florals, normally with heavier mouthfeel and lower acidity. The cherries are first sorted, and then laid out on in thin layers (2-6 cm) on raised drying beds. These are almost always used for high quality naturals, as they aid airflow around the coffee as it dries, enabling more even drying. It is very important that coffees are sorted very carefully early on in the drying process, as all of the cherries quickly turn dark brown, making it impossible to separate under and overripe cherries. The cherries are turned frequently to avoid mold formation or over-fermentation, until they reach a moisture content of below 20%, and the outer cherry layer shrinks and blackens. This process takes between 2 and 4 weeks, depending on weather conditions.
About La Cabra
A focus on raw material
If we don’t feel that a coffee suits our style or what we like to present, we simply won’t buy it. Sometimes this leads to issues in green buying; we have to pay very close attention, to a level of green quality that will support this approach, and to how this will develop over the life of a coffee. We are required to focus heavily on the freshness of coffee, both green and roasted, to avoid introducing taints into our cups. We always use clean and fresh water, of an ideal mineral content to present the coffee in its best possible light. Once we have the correct roasting profile, water, and coffee age, the act of brewing is much more simple. A wide variance in brewing parameters can still produce delicious and transparent cups. It is also important to note that this is not always the most consistent approach. The coffee is laid completely bare, so any flaw with the raw material is clearly on show. We could often develop some coffees slightly more, to make them more approachable or easy to work with, but wavering from our philosophy like this would compromise our commitment to complete transparency in coffee.Read more