We're starting to get into a really great rhythm with some of our long-term partners, and the Anserma cooperative in Colombia are one of our key sources of juicy, fruity naturals. Siracusa was a test run of anaerobic naturals for them last year, and we bought almost all of it ourselves. Needless to say, the experiment was a success, so this year, they've produced almost 5 tonnes of the stuff! We couldn't buy it all, so we bought half. It is SO critical to continue supporting processing like this rather than just buying it as a one-off, so we've committed to keep buying this coffee for years to come. It is just a classic Colombian Natural, and it's going to be a mainstay in our Stable and Deluxe blends, as well as being the big fruit bomb in our single origin lineup. We're getting notes of raspberries, rum punch, and hibiscus iced tea.
We sourced this coffee with our friends at Falcon Coffee who are increasingly our go-to for high-end and ethical coffee sourcing. They've been knocking it out of the park with their work in Colombia recently, and it really shows.
This coffee is a humble Castillo varietal grown at 1800 meters above sea level by the Anserma cooperative. Thousands of small-holding farmers contributed to this lot, but the distinctive flavours come from the careful anaerobic natural drying process employed.
Anserma cooperative is located in the western area of the department of Caldas, and started operating in 1967. It has extensive knowledge and experience in coffee, and the support of the national Federation of Coffee Growers of Colombia and the Departmental Committee of Coffee Growers of Caldas. It operates in the municipalities of Anserma, Risaralda, San José, Belalcázar and Viterbo. Its main purpose is the commercialisation of coffee and other agricultural products seeking to promote and improve the economic, social, technical, and cultural conditions of the associates. The cooperative has 2,083 associated coffee growers who cultivate excellent quality coffee with dedication and passion. In and amongst coffee, they also grow crops like sugarcane and bananas to sell for income (and also contribute to biodiversity). The cooperative with the new General Manager Luis Miguel have looked to embrace technology and the shift towards specialty coffee production. They have been building temperature-controlled areas in the warehouse for looking after the micro-lots that the producers deliver.
The cooperative has also started to experiment with producing naturals for the first time without putting the risk on the producer. Luis Miguel invested in a Nuna Coffee drying box that can regulate the temperature and the humidity to dry the coffee. These boxes were pioneered in Colombia to try and combat the extremely challenging and ever-changing daily climates in the Colombian Andes. To start this project they selected a few local producers who are known for quality to buy cherry from over the regular market price. From here the cooperative then set up a sorting station to pick the ripest cherry and create uniformity. The varietal used in this lot is Castillo. After picking and separation, the coffee is then washed and fermented in sealed barrels for 96 hours. After this it is then put in the drying box where it is dried at 35 - 40 centigrade for 100-120 hours. This is the first step and initial trial after which they hope to expand and improve the capacity at the cooperative and involve more producers in this program.