A new year and a new coffee! 2024 is shaping up to be a big one for The Coffee Officina and we are delighted to get the ball rolling with our latest special release from Colombia. Coming to us from Jhoan Vergara via Cata Exports, this is an exceptional Washed Java from the Huila region. Packed with sweet, floral and fruity notes, this coffee has a delightful acidity and a complexity that will leave you wanting more!
On the nose, it is a bouquet of peach, jasmine and a hint of rose petal. As we cupped it, we found the rose element develops into a deliciously sweet lychee and white grape flavour, carried on a gentle acidity. Overall, this coffee has a body like black tea – delicate yet lingering. We think you will have an excellent journey brewing this. Don’t be afraid to experiment with your methods and ratios!
We often associate Java with the Indonesian island and perhaps with the punchiest of non-speciality coffees found in supermarkets. However, as with all coffee, it has an interesting story. Historically, Java began as an Ethiopian varietal that was introduced to the island of Java where it became recognised and developed for its tolerance to Coffee Berry Disease. After 20 years of selection and refinement, it was released for cultivation in Cameroon in the 1980s and thereafter introduced to Costa Rica in 1991. Recently, it has been gaining popularity among producers as an alternative to Geisha. It tends to cup well, scoring highly and being prised for its delicate and floral notes. Importantly, many produces favour the production of Java as it is more disease tolerant – providing a great return for a more secure crop.
Jhoan’s approach to coffee production is particularly special, as he leverages his expertise as a producer in the Master of Coffee competition. During the 2019 season he placed first in the Producer-Roaster category, beating 161 other entrants. This desire to constantly improve is reflected in his process at Finca Las Flores where Jhoan oversees the specific process experiments and defines the approach required for each varietal. Jhoan’s unique methods are more than just a showcase of his farm’s quality, they are also evidence of his role as a champion of contemporary Colombian coffee ingenuity.
This Washed Java has been processed in a very particular style to enhance the fruit and floral flavours available in the cup.
The process is as follows:
The cherries are picked by hand at the ripest (22+Brix). Following this cherries are left to oxidise for 36 hours in open bags. Water floatation is then used to select the densest cherries, with floating cherries being removed. This stage also helps cool the internal temperature of the cherry and seed. The cherries are then pulped, packed and sealed in 50kg bags for 60 hours of anaerobic fermentation. The seeds are washed with 40°C water then cold water immersion is used to stop the fermentation process (a.k.a. ‘Thermal Shock’). Finally, the beans are air dried for 12-15 days (weather dependent), during which time they are moved 3-4 times a day to ensure the drying is even and complete.
Finca Las Flores was founded in 1990 by Edilberto Vergara and Nubia Ayure, the children of coffee farmers. The farm is 16.5ha, of which only 2ha was originally set aside for coffee production. In 2006, Jhoan’s mother, Nubia, decided to enter the Cup of Excellence and placed 16th. Clearly this left an impression on the young Jhoan, who would later compete and succeed at a high level. For Jhoan and his four siblings, the late Nubia’s legacy was to approach coffee with an inquisitive mind – to question the industry and understand where their coffee is destined for. Ultimately, this has led Jhoan to work with other enterprising young producers, including Nestor Lasso, and with our new partners Cata Export.
We look forward to exploring this coffee with you and for what future collaborations may hold!