The farm Finca El Placer belongs to Sebastián Ramírez, a fourth generation coffee farmer. He has been running the family farm for more than ten years. Sebastián uses dry, washed and semi-washed coffee processing and all varieties go through carbonic maceration. On the farm, they try to minimize water consumption, so they are moving away from classic washed processes on the farm. In his quest to maximize the flavor potential of each variety, Sebastián goes a step further by trying to preserve as much of the coffee cherry as possible during fermentation.
El Eje Cafetero, Quindio
Finca El Placer
1500 – 1744 m
Gesha, Wush Wush, Pink Bourbon, Yellow Bourbon, Red Bourbon, Caturra, Castillo, Colombia
El Placer means “pleasure”, which is an apt name for Sebastián’s coffees and his experimental processing methods. It is located in the Quindío region at an altitude of 1500 – 1744 m.a.s.l.
Coffee processing: Manual selection, only ripe cherries are picked by hand from the tree. The selection continues by immersing the whole cherries in tanks of water and removing the floating beans (flotes). This guarantees that only the best cherries undergo the fermentation process. Finally, the coffee cherries are sorted by hand to guarantee the best quality of coffee. At the beginning of each process, the cherries are sealed in 200 liter plastic containers filled with CO2 (carbon dioxide), so called carbonic maceration process.
“At the beginning of each process, the cherries are sealed in 200 liter plastic containers filled with CO2.”
The processing phase of the honey method can take several hours. It consists of double fermentation. The first one: the cherries are partially crushed, while the juicy pulp remains. This is followed by carbonic maceration in plastic tanks. After that, the coffee is partially washed and the process of carbonic maceration is used again. During fermentation, the PH level and temperature is carefully monitored. Finally, the coffee is dried on african beds, so-called marquesinas. The drying process takes up to 30 days or until it reaches the desired moisture content between 10 % and 12 %.
The dry/natural processing is a one-time fermentation process that can take up to 700 hours depending on the desired flavor and overall profile Sebastian wants to achieve. They ferment with their own pulp. After that, the coffee is dried, as with other processes, for up to 30 days. This is followed by de-pulping and proper storage of the coffee in GrainPro bags to stabilize the flavors.
Harvesting and sorting of Castillo cherries with processes called “Purple fruits”, “Yellow fruits” and “Red fruits” in five steps:
Step 1: Hand picking cherries (95 % ripe, 5 % semi-ripe).
Step 2: Anaerobic fermentation in 200-liter tanks for 120 hours at a constant temperature of 18 °C. 18 °C + wine yeast.
Step 3: This is followed by de-pulping of the coffee and continuing the process of the carbonic maceration, for 72 hours, because CO2 is injected.
Step 4: In this phase, dehydrated fruit + fruit glucose will enter the tanks. (“Purple fruits” – purple fruits, i.e. grapes, “Yellow fruits” – yellow fruits such as passion fruit, and in the case of “Red fruits” they are, for example, strawberries.)
Step 5: There comes the check when the coffee is dried at a temperature of 40 °C in a dryer. The drying phase lasts approximately 5 days. All drying is slow and controlled. The final phase is putting the coffee into bags and stabilization of the coffee approx. 15 days.
Harvesting and sorting of Geisha cherries in four steps:
Step 1: Harvesting and sorting of cherries (95 % ripe, 5 % semi-ripe).
Step 2: Anaerobic carbonic fermentation in 200 litre tanks for 100 hours at a constant temperature of 18 °C, during which CO2 is injected into the tanks to push out all the air and allow fermentation to continue in a controlled manner without raising the temperature in the tanks. At this stage, the Geisha is injected with the pulp, which is “inoculated” with lactic microoranisms.
a. Drying phase: Controlled drying of the coffee at 40 °C and 25 % humidity for approximately 20 days.
b. Drying phase in the shade in the crown of the tree for approximately 5 days. All drying is slow and controlled.
Step 4: Stabilization of the grain. Coffee waits for 15 days in GrainPro bags to allow flavors to stabilize.