To produce coffee that tastes fruity is not vey complicated. But to produce coffee that is clean, clear, fresh and fruity – that’s an art. One of the biggest assumptions within specialty coffee is that coffee from high-altitude areas naturally exhibits these characteristics. But high elevation can lead to potential problems, even in tropical climates.
In the highest areas of Santa Barbara, up to and over 1800 meters, producers can experience “freezing”: the combination of temperatures between 4-5C and rainfall cause cherries to not ripen and leaves to die on the bush. These conditions create a cold and humid climate, which is hazardous for processing and requires steady and reliable drying conditions for coffee so quality will not deteriorate. These natural conditions, of course, cannot be evaded. But clever and inventive coffee farmers, paticularly along this hillside, invest in drying systems that minimize the risks associated with weather.
As we’ve come to learn, one of the key factors in making good quality coffee is processing. It is also clear that the process itself, and the drying stage in particular, is making for a more or less long-lived cup quality. This is becoming increasingly important in SB as the international recognition is capturing the area as a retainer for, “the most successful farms with the smartest farmers”, this region in particular has become a showstopper at the cup of excellence in most recent years. Due to the demands of the drying process, it produces a unique quality to the coffee not found anywhere else in Central America.
This particular project is a collaborative effort between our valued green coffee buyers who long sought after a way to lfourish relationships with other local farmers along this particular hillside, which includes the villages of Cieliot, Cedral and Las Flores. The goal was to incorporate coffees between neighboring farmers who were consistently scoring high during cuppings.
This coffee is produced by four farmers; Manuel Vallecillo, Miguel Angel Ruiz, Isaias Fernandez and Javier Fernandez.