Peru – La Coipa
Union y Fe was founded in 2014 by 233 farmers in the La Coipa area of Cajamarca, around the town of San Ignacio. The aim was to find a market for their coffees, with a focus on both quality and sustainable relationships with partners. They constructed a mill and cupping lab in the town of San Ignacio at 1300
masl, where the climate is cool and less humid, making it ideal for storing coffee and preserving quality. Lorenzo Cruz, the co-op manager, has been working to improve coffee quality through cupping every producer’s lots separately and mapping the areas which produce the highest scores. Through this mapping, they are able to help pinpoint areas with ideal growing conditions, and producers that are processing and drying their coffee well. They are also then able to better support farmers with relevant technical assistance and education.
UNAFECOOP has funded the construction of solar driers for many of the farmers, and have seen a noticeable increase in cup quality through doing this, especially when using driers with raised beds and fans, to reduce humidity and control temperature. There are now 250 farmer members, who are divided into three areas, in three different valleys. Farms sit between 1500masl and 2000masl and each is between 1 and 5 hectares. Many of the producers have
numerous parcels of land separated by protected forest. Much of the coffee grown is still old Typica, but more producers are starting to plant rust resistant varietals like Catimor and Castillo.
UNAFECOOP is organic certified and is committed to making a sustainable future for organic farming in the region, after crops were decimated in previous years by leaf rust. They have responded by providing seeds of resistant, high yielding varietals and training farmers in good agricultural practices. Each producer has their own small wet mill, with a depulper and concrete fermentation tank. Ripe cherries are hand-picked, pulped and dry fermented overnight for 12-18 hours. The coffee is then washed to remove the mucilage and moved to covered drying beds, where it dries for between 10 and 14 days. Once dried to less the 12% moisture content, the farmer will deliver the parchment to the UNAFECOOP mill in San Ignacio. Lorenzo and his team then cup the coffee and do a full assessment on each lot delivered.
The coffees included in this years decaf blend come from Alex Garcia and Horacio Neyra Vargas – both active members of the Union Y Fe cooperative.
Colombia – Timbio Cauca
Colombia is a coffee heavyweight producing around 11 million bags per year. This volume places it third globally behind Vietnam and Brazil in total production. For this reason Colombia is often intimately associated with coffee by consumers. Colombia’s coffee production is extremely unique in that it has no easily definable harvest season. The two mountain ranges that run north to south across the length of the country are used as the defining boarders between regions. This physical division creates individual microclimates that drastically impact the seasons of the coffee trees and result in an origin that is harvesting 365 days a year.
Cauca basin in the valley of the Cauca River reaches altitudes up to 1700 masl. Through agronomy training and support from our export partner, the farmers have learnt when is best to select and pick the coffee, when it is at its ripest, depending on the varietal. After picking the coffee is de-pulped on a small machine on the individual farm, before undergoing a dry fermentation for 18-20 hours to loosen the mucilage. After this the coffee is then washed 3 – 4 times to clean it before being dried in parabolic tents for between 8 – 14 days where they move the coffee three times a day to ensure an even and consistent drying. Once the coffee has dried down to below 11% the farmers then let the coffee rest for 20 days before delivering to the local collection point. Here it is graded and checked for the correct moisture before being cupped and allocated to the corresponding quality level.
The two farmers who have contributed coffee to this blend are Silvio Lopez and Ricaurte Ortega, who are both smallholder producers growing coffee on less than 2 hectares of land. Both are members of the Expocosurca cooperative, which is based in Timbio, Cauca.
Sparkling Water Decaffeination Process
This process was first discovered by a scientist called Kurt Zosel at the Max Planck Institute for Coal Research in 1967 as he was looking at new ways of separating mixtures of substances. In 1988, a German decaffeination company called CR3 developed this process for decaffeination whereby natural carbon dioxide (which comes from prehistoric underground lakes) is combined with water to create ‘sub-critical’ conditions which creates a highly solvent substance for caffeine in coffee.
It is a gentle, natural and organically certified process and the good caffeine selectivity of the carbon dioxide guarantees a high retention level of other coffee components which contribute to taste and aroma.The process is outlined below:
1. The green beans enter a ‘pre-treatment’ vessel where they are cleaned and moistened with water before being brought into contact with pressurised liquid carbon dioxide. When the green coffee beans absorb the water, they expand and the pores are opened resulting in the caffeine molecules becoming mobile.
2. After the water has been added, the beans are then brought into contact with the pressurised liquid carbon dioxide which combines with the water to essentially form sparkling water. The carbon dioxide circulates through the beans and acts like a magnet, drawing out the mobile caffeine molecules.
3. The sparkling water then enters an evaporator which precipitates the caffeine rich carbon dioxide out of the water. The now caffeine free water is pumped back into the vessel for a new cycle.
4. This cycle is repeated until the required residual caffeine level is reached. Once this has happened, the circulation of carbon dioxide is stopped and the green beans are discharged into a drier.
5. The decaffeinated coffee is then gently dried until it reaches its original moisture content, after which it is ready for roasting.