FARM: El Diviso
REGION: Pitalio, Huila
PROCESS: Washed (thermal shock)
VARIETAL: Bourbon ají
ALTITUDE: 1750 MASL
NOTES: Watermelon, cucumber, lychee, lemongrass
We've never tasted a coffee like this! Nestor Lasso is back with a bang. This year we chose a washed bourbon ají from his now world famous farm, El Diviso. It's the most refreshing and interesting coffee we've ever had- like a watermelon and feta salad, an ice cold cucumber spritz, a refreshing can of rubicon lychee. But you better get in there quick, there's only 120 bags of this beauty.
The rare bourbon ají varietal is becoming known for its unique herbal and spice notes and in this lot we're tasting lemongrass, kaffir lime, mint and elderflower. Nestor washes the beans with hot water to remove the mucilage, and then shocks them with cold water to stop the fermentation process. This process results in a candy like sweetness, with notes of watermelon and lychee. A delicate, complex and stunning coffee that balances sweet and savoury to perfection.
We were extremely proud to roast Nestor's natural sidra last year, just as it won the World Barista Championships and put his name firmly in the realm of global superstar coffee producers. This coffee was again sourced through Cat at Cata Export, an inspirational coffee company that work tirelessly to improve the lives of the famers they work with.
This is our first release in our new 'Producer' series. This series aims to shine a spotlight on some of the world's best and most exciting coffee producers. We hope to showcase the true heights of where we can take specialty coffee, whether thats innovative processing, new varietals or simply coffees we love.
FROM OUR IMPORTER - CATA
5 years ago, Nestor Lasso and his brother Adrian took over the family farm and branched out into specialty coffee and experimentation rather than growing coffee like their parents. Today the two brothers have teamed up with Jhoan Vergara, also the child of a coffee farmer, to create El Diviso. El Diviso brings together the two family farms, El Diviso (Nestor and Adrian Lasso) and Las Flores (Jhoan Vergara). It’s situated close to the town of Pitalito, in the Huila region of Colombia. This partnership is great as these 3 young guys unite their knowledge to improve quality.
Cat & Pierre, founders of CATA Export, and the 3 producers started a journey of trial and error to define the fermentation processes and protocols at the farm, with the aim to link these coffees directly to the UK market. This learning process has been time and money consuming but with an exciting outcome as today these coffees have been used in many barista competitions across the world.
Today Cata Export and Finca El Diviso work as one team. Nestor’s and Cat’s friendship is a good example of what Cata Export do. Working directly from the farms is a very enriching process for them- not only for the complexity of topics such as agronomy but also for the relationships Cata builds which ultimately translate into an economic benefit for Cata’s community. In this way many more young producers like Nestor have stayed in coffee and have had the chance to build a career.
From the producer, Nestor Lasso:
I grew up in a vereda (locality) called Normandia, near the town of Pitalito in the south of the Huila region. I always grew up on the farm and since I can remember the region has always been a coffee zone. Here I had a very healthy childhood, everyone knows each other and it's safe. The memories I have of my childhood are of playing in nature, playing hide and seek and I have always been super happy to be here.
In general, being a coffee producer is poorly paid and it is not very attractive. The only thing that allows producers not to starve is to eat the fruits and vegetables produced on the farm. In terms of material goods, we only have access to what is strictly necessary. Many young people therefore prefer to go to town to find an office job or a less physically demanding job because they think that the coffee is not worth it.
Beyond what specialty coffee brings economically, I have always had a passion for production. When I realised that specialty coffee offered a real possibility of economic development, and that in addition I could develop my knowledge of coffee production, and in particular the processes, I really got into it.
I understand more or less how the market works due to the close partnership we have with Cat and Pierre but also social networks allow us to see who is buying our coffees. They also allow us to see how specialty coffee is marketed in Europe.
Cat told me the importance of the sensory side of the business and she encouraged me to learn to cup to control the quality of what is produced and to understand the impact of the processes and whether they improve or not in the cup. Also, in Colombia there is a program we followed funded by the Colombian state and today this program is recognised as the best coffee growing school in Latin America, called SENA. We learned a lot at SENA, me and my brother. All the theoretical bases, the science of coffee processing… everything is taught there. But the reality of the job of coffee producer is learned in the field.
We must not forget that the price of coffee is very high at the moment reason why lot of producers want to know how we work, but we quickly identify people who are really motivated to produce specialty coffee, who come to ask us questions to learn with us and those who only see it as a temporary opportunity to earn money.
What really makes the difference is the passion that the producer can have for the coffee. If you're not naturally passionate, you'll never get the trick!
Often, some coffee growers here have a lot of money because they have a lot of land and the best machines possible. But specialty coffee does not interest them, they do not see the point of changing because they are not as passionate about coffee as we are.
I have seen that specialty coffee consumption has changed a lot in recent years in the country. Until recently, Colombians only drank coffee by-products, anything that could not be exported. But people here have realised that coffee is a much more noble product than it seems. Many producers today keep part of their harvest to roast it themselves and drink it at home. All the specialty coffee craze has really brought about a different way of looking at coffee.
- STEP 1. HAND SELECTION OF THE RIPEST CHERRIES
- STEP 2. DENSITY SELECTION OF CHERRIES BY PUTTING THEM IN WATER AND REMOVING THE ONES THAT FLOAT
- STEP 3. ANAEROBIC PROCESS IN A SEALED PLASTIC BAG FOR 24-32 HOURS AT A CONTROLLED TEMPERATURE OF 16°-17°
- STEP 4. THE CHERRIES ARE PULPED AND LEFT TO TO OXIDATE FOR 6 HOURS DURING WHICH THE COFFEE MUST (JUICE OR EXTRACT PRODUCED DURING THE OXIDATION) IS HARVESTED
- STEP 5. THE COFFEE IS FERMENTED AGAIN IN SEALED TANKS WITH THE HARVESTED MUST FOR 28-32 HOURS (SECOND ANAEROBIC PROCESS)
- STEP 7. THE BEANS ARE WASHED WITH HOT WATER TO REMOVE MUCILAGE AND THEN WITH COLD WATER TO STOP THE FERMENTATION PROCESS (THERMAL SHOCK)
- STEP 8. THE BEANS ARE PUT TO DRYING IN MARQUESINAS FOR 16-25 DAYS DEPENDING ON THE WEATHER
To get the best from your coffee please take a look at our brew guides HERE
ALL PACKAGING IS CARBON NEUTRAL AND WIDELY RECYCLABLE