Farm: Hacienda La Pradera
Producer: Oscar Daza
Elevation: 1,700-1,900 masl
Imagine a country full of diverse landscapes, from rainforests to mountains to coastlines and home to many many coffee farms. Colombia’s balmy climate, volcanic soil and high altitudes make it ideal for producing coffee. A country that is surrounded by mountains such as the Sierra Nevada de Santa Maria and the Andes whose water flows directly into basins, providing yummy water for the coffee plants. These mountains can reach over 2,000 meters above sea level (over 6,000 feet). Why does elevation matter when it comes to producing coffee? Elevation impacts the taste and size of the bean. The next time you make coffee, look at your beans- are they big or small, how does the line in the middle look, what is the color of the bean itself? Since the bean is grown at a higher altitude, the beans grow slowly. High elevation beans usually produce a more flavorful coffee. The Colombia Tabi Honey is grown between 1700-1900 meters; it also goes through a honey process, which creates a cup that tastes like orange marmalade.
There are 22 coffee producing regions in Colombia- Santander being one of those. The topography includes beautiful mountains, rivers, canyons and valleys. This region is full of fresh water sources and rich soil that help coffee farming. In the Cordillera Oriental Eastern Mountain Range, you can find the La Pradera Hacienda Cafetera located in Aratoca, Santander, Colombia. On the La Pradera farm, you will find their honey processed Tabi.
La Pradera is family owned and operated and was created in 1971, each generation run by the Daza Bautista family. The farm is situated near the Chicamocha Canyon, the second largest canyon in the world; this canyon helps to create a favorable microclimate for coffee production, with warm air currents during the day and cool breezes and rainfall at night. Originally, Mr. Hector Daza transformed this farm by planting timber and fruit trees which eventually created a shade canopy for all of the different coffee varieties that they planned to grow. With years of tending to the land, the farm now includes anaco, bucaro, guamo, oak, avocado, tangerine, banana and other tree varieties that help provide shade to the coffee crop. Why is shade grown important for coffee plants? Trees can protect coffee from frost as well as cool the climate during warm weather. There is also evidence that shade-grown coffee seeds have higher sugar, which can increase the cup quality. La Pradera has plenty of shade for the crops. They also focus on organic practices and sustainable land use.
The coffee industry in Colombia employs over 800,000 people across the country. Hacienda La Pradera employs 15 permanent employees and 172 seasonal employees, including 30 women- 22 of whom operate the Manos de Mujer certified Finca Santa Maria. The La Pradera family farm is also joined by 8 other farms, a QC lab, and wet and dry mills. The wet and dry mill has equipment including an eco-washer, a pre-drying deck, and both solar and mechanical dryers. Having high quality technology allows for better precision when the coffee cherries go through processing.
Processing at La Pradera includes many fermentation and drying methods that include both aerobic and anaerobic processes, including Washed, Natural, and Honey processed coffees. The operation is also an experimental farm for local and international coffee equipment companies, who test new technologies in specifically coffee production. Many of you might be used to hearing of an Arabica or Robusta variety. There are over 100 coffee varieties in the world- all very different. Tabi is a variety that was released by Cenicafe in 2002 and is developed by crossing Bourbon, Typica, and Timor coffees- it holds the same quality characteristics as a Bourbon and Typica while also having greater resistance to coffee leaf rust.
The Colombia Tabi cherries were fermented anaerobically for 24 hours in stainless steel tanks before being pulped. The pulled cherries then underwent another 18 hours of anaerobic fermentation in their mucilage. Nearly all coffee goes through a fermentation process, such as a Washed or Natural. The fermentation occurs when yeast and bacteria begin to convert the sugars and acids in the coffees mucilage. The anaerobic fermentation process is different because the vessels in which the coffee cherries are fermented do not contain any oxygen at all. By keeping the coffee cherry free from oxygen, the beans get a different flavor profile. The Honey process is when the coffee cherries dry slowly with the sweet mucilage covering the beans. The drying process is done in three stages- 20 hours of natural open air dehydration first, followed by 66-84 hours in a mechanical dryer to reach 20% humidity, and finally set out to dry on raised beds for 12 days in order to reach 11% humidity. This honey process has a clarified and clean flavor profile while carrying a jam-like sweetness that lingers long after each sip.
This is our third coffee from La Pradera and we are excited to share it with you! Kyle roasted these beans to perfection, creating a cup of coffee that tastes like orange marmalade. It has a bright, clean, crisp body that covers all of your taste buds; then transforms into honey and nut butter. Mango and butter cookies carry the flavor profile to a silky finish. Expect it to get sweeter and sweeter after each sip.