Roast Date: 26/07/2021
Wild & Floral.
Clear citrus aromatics are backed up by juicy and rich sweetness, in this limited experimental release by Café Granja
- Lilac, Lemon, Caramel
- Producer: Café Granja La Esperanza
- Region: Valle del Cauca
- Altitude: 1700 masl
- Varietal: Java
- Process: Semi-Carbonic Masceration
- Harvest: November 2020
- Optimal brew beyond: Filter 7 days | Espresso 21 days.
- RRP 100g: 299,00 DKK
About the coffee:
This is the first time Cafe Granja have exported a lot of the Java varietal, an Ethiopian heirloom strain introduced to the Indonesian island of Java by the Dutch in the early 19th Century. Since then, it has been grown in several countries, but the current varietal was introduced to Costa Rica in 1991 after selection by a breeder in Cameroon during the 1980’s. This was mainly due to the varietal’s tolerance of coffee berry disease, but it was soon found to perform well and produce very high quality, mainly in Central American coffee lands. It was initially thought that Java was descended from Typica, given the similar cup characteristics and lengthened seed, but genetic sequencing found that it was closer to another Ethiopian heirloom strain known as Absynia. These varieties are all of the ‘Ethiopian Long Berry’ classification, which also includes Geisha, and tend to produce floral and delicate cups. Cafe Granja excel in bringing exotic varieties to Colombia, having grown projects with Geisha, Sudan Rume and Sidra over the past few years. For Java, the ideal terroir was La Esperanza farm, located near the town of Trujillo, adjacent to Cerro Azul. Trujillo 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 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 and build on the potential created in the field. Luckily the team at Cafe Granja La Esperanza consistently take care of these stages of the process with great care, each year pushing the boundaries a little further.
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. This year for the first time, we have purchased a lot processed using a long maceration under anaerobic conditions. For this lot, cherries were picked at a very advanced stage of ripeness, known as grape due to the dark almost purple shade of the cherries. This means slightly lower acidity, but a huge amount of sugar to use as fuel for the fermentation, creating a very complex final cup. The cherries are fermented in sealed tanks for 7 days before being sent to mechanical driers for 24 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. Here, this lot of Java is intensely aromatic, with crisp citrus and softer floral character, followed up by a clean balance between a juicy acidity and a creamy, rich sweetness.
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.