Las Margaritas - Colombia, La Cabra | 250g

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Café Granja La Esperanza’s care and attention applied to the Bourbon varietal, a clean and sweet representation from their Las Margaritas farm

  • Producer: Café Granja La Esperanza
  • Region: Valle del Cauca
  • Altitude: 1800 masl
  • Varietal: Bourbon
  • Process: Washed
  • Harvest: November 2021

Las Margaritas

This is our first release of many this season from our distinguished friends at Cafe Granja La Esperanza, in the Cauca Valley of Colombia. We have built our relationship around competition coffees, spectacular experimental fermentations of exotic varietals, but they also apply their expertise and passion to more ordinary varietals, with some of the most consistent and delicious results we have tasted. This coffee is of the ubiquitous Bourbon varietal, commonly seen across Central and South America.

Modern Bourbon is descended from a small set of varietals isolated in Ethiopia and cultivated in Yemen in the 1600’s. This creates somewhat of a genetic ‘bottleneck’ for coffee, moving from incredibly diversity within Ethiopia, to almost 98% of coffee production in Latin America comprising of plants descended from just two varietals, Bourbon and Typica. These were the first ever cultivated coffee varietals, isolated from wild growing coffee in Ethiopia, and slowly used to populate the coffee growing lands of Yemen, India, and then the New World as it was colonised by Europeans. Bourbon arrived in Latin America from Yemen via the French Island of Réunion, at that point known as Bourbon. Today Bourbon is popular for its sweet and round cup, and versatility in terms of growing conditions.

This lot of Red Bourbon has been grown on La Granja’s Las Margaritas farm, one of their four located throughout the Cauca Valley. Las Margaritas is a direct neighbour to Finca Potosí, sitting at 1800 masl in the mountains of Caicedonia, with a whole 34 hectares of coffee trees perched on the steep mountainside. There are various varietals planted here, including Geisha, and the Sudan Rume we have shared so many times in the past. Although the Bourbon plant is not quite so delicate as some of the other varietals grown at Las Margaritas, it is treated with the same care and attention, and the cherries are sorted and fermented under the same exacting conditions. For this washed lot, the aim was a clean representation of Bourbon, unveiling and enhancing the inherent sweet and round characteristics of the varietal. To this end, the coffee was first fermented in open tanks for 19 hours, before being de-pulped without water and fermented in mucilage for a further 35 hours. Water is a precious resource high in the Cauca Valley, so Granja work hard to reduce their demand by using this alternative washed process. After the second fermentation, the remaining mucilage is removed mechanically, and the cherries dried in mechanical driers to a moisture content of 11%. After seeing the precision and care with which each step is undertaken on our visits in the past, the quality of this lot is no surprise, with deep chocolate and vanilla character punctuated by fresh citrus.