Rodrigo Sanchez - Passionfruit
MEET THE PRODUCER | Rodrigo Sanchez Valencia is a third-generation coffee farmer, but his father and grandfather before him had never considered the coffee they were growing in terms of its cup profile. That is to say, they didn't really know that their farming and processing techniques could have a huge impact on the flavor and quality of the coffees they were producing. UNTIL. In 2002, Rodrigo participated in a local program that sought to communicate cupping, coffee competitions, and lot scoring to children of coffee producers. With this newfound understanding and a profound desire to produce high-quality coffee consistently, Rodrigo and his family set off on a mission to re-imagine the work they'd been doing at Finca Monteblanco, and the coffees coming from that farm today are a testament to their rigorous persistence in that endeavor.
TRUST THE PROCESS | Get ready to geek out with us - this passionfruit-infused washed Caturra lot would hold its own at any science fair of our youth. First, the passionfruit infusion process begins with 190 hours of fermentation - not of the coffee cherries, but of the mother culture which is created on Rodrigo's farm, using micro-organisms derived from his own coffee trees. During those 190 hours, 80 liters of the indigenous mother culture is fed a mixture of orange juice, passionfruit, and a sweetener, like molasses. The fruit ingredients contribute flavor while the sweetener increases the sugar content of the culture and fuels the fermentation process.
Upon reaching the wet mill at the top of the farm, the coffee cherries picked for this unique process are measured for sugar content and then floated to remove lower-density beans. Then, the cherries are pulped before being placed in a 200-liter sealed tank, where they get to mingle with that passionfruit-fueled mother culture for 180 hours. Once the party is over, the cherries are removed to dry in direct sunlight for the first 2-3 days, finishing that drying process under shaded canopies for an additional 15-18 days, or until 10-11% humidity is achieved.
TAKE A SIP | Sometimes, co-fermented coffees like this one can come off as a little intense and one-dimensional. We still love them, and we often incorporate them in really special blend projects like The Future series. But this is not at all the case with Rodrigo's carefully constructed passion(fruit) project. Because the fermentation process is is reliant on the yeast that ate the fruit rather than the fruit itself, the end result is cleaner and more subtle than we would typically expect from a co-fermented lot. In the cup, this coffee is vibrant, fresh, and tropical, reminding us or passionfruit candy and orange Hi-C. Combined with an acidity like citrus zest and a sweetness reminiscent of caramel, the whole sipping experience made us wonder if anyone's ever made a passionfruit crème brûlée - and if they haven't, we definitely should.
Origin | La Tocora, San Adolfo, Huila, Colombia
Producer | Rodrigo Sanchez Valencia
Farm | Finca Monteblanco
Process | Passionfruit-infused Washed
Variety | Caturra
Elevation | 1730 masl