Varietal: Colombia, Caturra, Castillo
Growing Altitude: 1,500–2,100 masl
Certification: Sugar Cane Decaf (EA)
Harvest Year: 2019
Harvest Period: April to July
Tasting Notes: Candy-like, with notes of tropical fruit and citrus; creamy body.
Roasting Notes: We have roasted this at varying levels and found it best at midway between first and second crack.
Colombia Tolima Sugar Cane Decaf (EA) - Per Kg
Descafecol is the only decaffeination plant in the Andean region of Colombia. The plant relies entirely on the pure water from the Navado el Ruis (a snow-capped volcano on the border of the departments of Caldas and Tolima) and natural ethyl acetate from sugar cane plants in Palmira, Colombia.
Ethyl acetate is an organic compound (C4H8O2) with a sweet smell—it’s created during fermentation and contributes to what’s often described as the “fruitiness” in a young wine.
At Descafecol, the decaffeination process begins with steaming the green coffee at a very low pressure to remove the silver skins. The beans are then moistened with hot water, which causes them to swell and soften and begins the hydrolysis of the caffeine, which is bonded to salts of chlorogenic acid. (Hydrolysis refers water interacting with a compound and causing it to loosen from other particles.)
The ethyl acetate solvent is then circulated through the beans multiple times until at least 97 percent of the caffeine is removed. A low-pressure, saturated steam is then applied to remove any last traces of the ethyl acetate, and finally the coffee is vacuum-dried in drums to remove any water and bring the final moisture level to between 10 and 12 percent. The coffee is then to ambient temperature with fans.
From the Trilladora Andes Mill
The Centra Cooperativa Indígena del Cauca was founded in 1980 by indigenous producers from Cauca, Colombia. Since 2006, they have worked with Fair Trade–certified coffees to help address income inequality in the area. The co-op also supports activities such as alternating crops, housing planning and alternative energies.
Membership consists of 2,373 producers from the regions of Toribio, Caldono, Santander de Quilichao, Corinto, Morales and Tambo. The harvest season was from April–July.
At the Trilladora Andes mill, this coffee was machine pulped, fermented for 6 to 8 hours, rinsed and then dried on a patio for 12 hours and in a dryer for 6.
Colombia is the third largest producer of coffee in the world after Brazil and Vietnam – though holds the crown for being the largest producer of washed Arabica. The coffee producing areas lie among the foothills of the Andes and the Sierra Nevada, where the climate is temperate with adequate rainfall. Colombia has three secondary mountain ranges (cordilleras) that run towards the Andes and it is amongst these ranges that the majority of coffee is grown. The hilly terrain provides a wide variety of micro-climates, meaning that harvesting can take place throughout the year as coffee from different farms will ripen at varying times.
The first exports of coffee from Colombia began in 1835 when around 2,500 bags were exported to the U.S. and by 1875 there were approximately 170,000 bags leaving the country bound for the U.S. and Europe. Exports grew over the next hundred years or so and peaked in 1992 at around 17 million bags. Today, following unreliable weather patterns and a national program of plant regeneration, Colombian exports currently stand at around 9 million bags of coffee per year.
There are more than half a million growers spread throughout the key regions of Nariño, Cauca, Meta, Huila, Tolima, Quindio, Caldas, Risaralda, Antioquia, Valle del Cauca, Cundinamarca, Guajira, Cesar, Madgalena, Boyacá, Santander and Norte de Santander. In a country as large as Colombia, with an established coffee industry that is spread over 17 regions, there is bound to be a variation in quality. However, it is widely accepted that some of the country’s best coffees come from the south west in the departments of Huila, Tolima, Nariño and Cauca. Key varietals include caturra, bourbon, typica, castillo and maragogype.
Coffee’s importance to the Colombian economy brought about the development of The Federacion Nacional de Cafeteros (FNC) in 1927. This body is responsible for research, technical advisory services, quality control and marketing. Juan Valdez, a fictitious character created by the FNC, is the world famous moustachioed, mule-riding and sombrero-wearing coffee farmer depicted on coffee sacks and logos. He has very much become the face of the Colombian coffee industry, especially outside of the country.