Cerro Azul Natural
Crisp and clear jasmine aromatics are backed up by wild tropical fruit notes and a rich sweetness. Roast date 5th of July.
- Jasmine, Guava, Mango
- Producer: Café Granja La Esperanza
- Region: Valle del Cauca
- Altitude: 2000 masl
- Varietal: Geisha
- Process: Natural
- Harvest: November 2020
- Optimal brew beyond: Filter 7 days | Espresso 21 days.
- RSP 100g: 169 DKK
About the coffee:
The raw material for this lot is very familiar to us, Cafe Granja’s revered Cerro Azul Geisha. This is now the sixth year we have purchased this coffee, the coffee that our baristas Sonja Zweidick, Dane Oliver and most recently Victor Kristensen have taken to the world stage, in both Barista and Brewer’s competitions. Victor won the Danish Brewer’s Cup title two years running with the Cerro Azul Geisha, in both 2019 and 2020. Cafe Granja are intimately familiar with the care and attention the Geisha plant needs, they were one of the first to bring it to Colombia, having previously owned a farm in Panama, the adopted home of this lauded varietal. This translates into their excellent work at the farm level, this coffee is a true representation of the potential of the Geisha varietal in Colombia. Clean acidity, intense and distinct flavours, and some of the most incredible aromatics we have come across in coffee. Cerro Azul was chosen by the experts at Granja as a perfect location for the development of ultra high quality Geisha cherries. The location of the farm is further southwest in the Cauca Valley than Potosí and Las Margaritas, closer to the state capital of Calí, and to Colombia’s Pacific coast. The cool breeze from the Pacific combined with the very high altitude mean that the trees have to fight low average temperatures and large day-night swings in temperatures to survive, concentrating energy into their cherries as sugar. This leads to a high level of both sweetness and intensity of flavour in the final cup. This incredible quality of raw material has to be treated with great care at each further stage, in order to preserve the potential created in the field. Luckily the team at Cafe Granja La Esperanza consistently take care of these stages of the process with aplomb.
Granja apply their trademark level of attention to all stages of the production, from tree to dry mill, with a special focus on careful fermentation. For a lot of Natural Cerro Azul Geisha, cherries are picked at a sugar content of 18 brix, a slightly higher level of ripeness than chosen for washed process lots. These carefully hand-picked cherries are first pre-fermented in Granja’s stainless steel fermentation tanks for around 36 hours, with the temperature controlled so it never exceeds 30°C. This allows time for complexity and wild flavour characteristics to build within the coffee before it is sent to mechanical driers for 48 hours, removing much of the moisture from the cherries and almost completely halting fermentation. The cherries are then dried slowly and evenly in solar driers over approximately 2 weeks, until they reach a moisture content of around 11%. This is followed by a resting of at least three months in climate controlled warehouses, allowing moisture content to stabilise and flavours to increase in intensity. During our visit in November 2019 we witnessed another of Granja’s wet mills at Las Margaritas in action, and were very impressed by the systems, control and cleanliness we saw. At the warehouse, the lots of natural Cerro Azul Geisha resting in dried cherry smelled incredible, with wild fermented fruit aromatics emanating from the GrainPro sacks. Here, the Cerro Azul Geisha is characteristically aromatic, with incredible clarity, followed up by wild and rich tropical fruit notes driven by the fermentation.
Café Granja La Esperanza
The Herrera family purchased Finca Potosí in 1945 and planted several varieties that were unusual for Colombia at the time, including yellow and red Bourbon. This started the Granja tradition of experimentation, leading to recognition from other farmers in the Cauca Valley. The years that followed were very productive, and though each of the 14 children took their share of the farm work, two brothers took particular interest in coffee production, and in the late 1990’s, Rigoberto and Luis took over the family business. They purchased more small farms to add to their portfolio, and began the process of converting all of their farms to use organic practices. They also looked outside Colombia for further insight, and jumped at the opportunity to lease a small farm in Panama. Rigoberto moved, and his years of producing experience were all too obvious, their lot of Geisha won the Best of Panama within 2 years. When Rigoberto returned to Granja, he brought back not only experience, but Panamanian Geisha seeds. These seeds were the foundation for the next stage of growth, beginning to chase extraordinary flavour profiles and the super high end specialty market. The experience of bringing a Panamanian varietal to Colombia was pivotal to Granja in their endeavour to adapt more exotic varietals to the Colombian soil, showcasing a wide view of the Cauca Valley terroir. They have also begun to experiment with unique processing, using tank fermentation to create incredible control over initial in-cherry fermentations, for both their washed and natural coffees. They also use mechanical drying extensively, allowing very tight control over length and degree of drying. This type of fermentation, along with mechanical ‘washing’, results in very low water usage, compared especially to traditional washed processing. This is another of Granja’s core values, focussing on sustainability. They have also worked very hard on maintaining local floral and fauna, using waste products from the farm to fire their mechanical driers, and switching to organic farming methods.