Here we go folks! Our best washed coffee EVER at Skylark. We’re more than a little bit excited about this coffee, Pink Bourbon is one of our favourite varieties and this is one of the best we’ve tried in quite some time with a cup score of 91.5 points. It's a collaboration with old friends who've started a new importing company... We'll tell you more about them in the coming months, but we're very hyped for the future of Skylark coffees from Huila. That's all to come, but in the meantime, enjoy this coffee that tastes like melted sugar, tropical juice, peach, and earl grey tea.
Alexander Vargas is from Southern Huila, specifically Palestina. He has been working in coffee since he was 13 years old, starting out on a neighbours farm, planting, stumping, fertilising and picking the Caturras. When he turned 20 he married and inherited two plots of land which became the foundation of his coffee farm. After years of saving in 2008 he bought 11 hectares of pasture land next to his neighbour and mentor. He built a house for his family as well as a wet mill for processing cherries. Today Alexander manages 14 hectares of coffee, all of which he processes in his mill, as well as processing cherries for a couple of his neighbours farms.
The farm sits at 1900 metres above sea level, a very high altitude receives frequent rain and cold, which in come with good and bad luck, cool temperatures and high altitudes lead to very good coffee but there is a big challenge in cool climates of phenolic compounds developing to the point of defect, a particularly recognisable defect (kind of chlorine-y/ metallic). Alexander has identified the cause of this as cherries ripping and filling with cool water causing secondary metabolisation. His answer to this problem is to hire people to manually select cherries and parchment which is a big increase to his cost of production but guarantees defect-free coffee.
Recently Alexander Vargas began reintroducing shade trees, to make the landscape more beautiful, and healthy but also very practically to naturally reintroduce nitrogen into the soil. Soon Guayacan and Cachingos trees will dot the farm (give those trees a google, they are very pretty). As well as shade trees he grows Yuca (yams/ tapioca) and has invested in growing Pitaya (dragon fruit) and selling it, which helps him provide work annually to his workers. Work all year round also means his farm is more sustainable as he will be less affected than other farmers by fluctuations in available seasonal workers. (although like all coffee farms, his labour needs swell in the harvest time).
Alexander Vargas is a multi-time Cup of Excellence competitor reaching 7th place in 2021. Having tasted a few of his coffees we’re not surprised, and are excited to taste more of his wonderful coffees in years to come.