Sweet Maria's Home Coffee Roasting

 

Colombia Huila - Cauca - Narino

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Aleco Chigounis home on the farm
Aleco Chigounis home on the farm
Aleco wanders off down the muddy trail at El Descanso, Huila, Colombia
Caturra
Caturra
Caturra cultivar, with it's green "tips" (new leaves)
castillo variety
castillo variety
this new castillo variety is being planted broadly, and it's sad. it's another high yield cultivar, the new version of variedad colombia. i can't verify that the cup quality is poor, but i can say that there's no reason farmers should be planting this instead of typica or bourbon, except that the FNC imposes it on farmers...
Obligatory Coffee Cherry Photo
Obligatory Coffee Cherry Photo
Yet another photo of coffee cherry, this is Comun, i.e. Typica, i.e. Arabigo, bronze-tipped.
Old coffee trunk
Old coffee trunk
At El Decanso, a 40-year-old trunk
An eye on the weather
An eye on the weather
The rain that drenched us on the way up to the coffee farm had broken, but was still threatening. We kept an eye on it.
Orlando and his buddies
Orlando and his buddies
Watching the pickers bring in the coffee cherry to the receiving bin
Weighing the coffee
Weighing the coffee
Pickers being paid by weight, using an old block and tackle weight system.
Plastic picking tubs
Plastic picking tubs
I am sure they were woven baskets one day, but plastic is cheap. Due to the rain, the pickers where well-covered in clothing and plastic.
Dumping their pickings
Dumping their pickings
We watched the coffee come in, each picker payed by weight.
farily good quality.
farily good quality.
This was decent quality, and in other countries it would be excellent. But in Colombia there is a caveat. They don't use a Criba or float the coffee cherry (either before pulping or after). This means that everything you see, partially ripe, under-ripe, etc, ends up in the final coffee. Some things can be removed at the dry mill, but not everything.
Whole cherry float test.
Whole cherry float test.
We took a bucket and floated one handful of cherry, ending up with a few floaters. Inside these, there is probably one "dead bean" that makes it float. It would be so easy to float the coffee to skim off these defects, but it is not often done at small Colombian mills.
Coffee storage discoteca
Coffee storage discoteca
Aleco and his new best friend
Aleco and his new best friend
Mario's son took a shining to Aleco ... here they look down into the coffee cherry receiving bin.
Obligatory dog picture no.2
Obligatory dog picture no.2
Obligatory dog picture no.2 , at the coffee receiving bin, El Descanso.
some of the pickers
some of the pickers
The pickers were mostly young guys ... not the real young guys. They seemed interested in our conversation, but for them its just a job. They already know to pick just ripe red cherry.
Cement Fermentation Tanks
Cement Fermentation Tanks
At El Descanso, twin fermentation tanks for the pulped (de-skinned) coffee cherries. You can ferment coffee well in less expensive tanks than cement ones. Plastic works too...
After drying, storage
After drying, storage
After drying on raised screens in a parabolic shed (i.e. plastic covered), the coffee in parchment is stored on the farm (reposo) to allow it to stabilize.
Huh?
Huh?
In the storage area for the pergamino coffee, what looks like the swastika is a native symbol. I have seen this in rural areas all around central america.
A man and his horse
A man and his horse
Aleco really, really liked his horse - after the trip down the hill, I wasn't sure if we should give them some quiet time together.
evening at the reception hall
evening at the reception hall
We had a dinner at this huge banquet tent, apparently for weddings, where the baby Jesus overlooked the bar.
Moo - not.
Moo - not.
At the reception hall in La Plata, a creepy cow head.
Trippy Lights.
Trippy Lights.
So bored at dinner, I started to fiddle with my camera, using the lights of La Plata in the valley below.
Cozy Column
Cozy Column
Next morning, fake comfort on the pillar of the bar next to the hotel.
mudslides of colombia,  egads
mudslides of colombia, egads
the road from La Plata was blocked by this pretty serious mudslide. mudslides are a huge problem in colombia, and affect the ability of coffee farmers to deliver coffee to the local warehouses. We had to walk across this one, and transfer to a new car to continue.
Mudslide blocks the highway.
Mudslide blocks the highway.
The road to where we were headed, Pedregal, was blocked by a big mudslide from all the heavy rains over the past week. We had known this in advance, traversed this section on foot, and found the drver from the coop in Pedregal waiting for us on the other side.
Fodr bus
Fodr bus
Waiting at the mudslide, a unique Fodr bus. Ooops.
Squashed.
Squashed.
All the buses were like this, kinda squashed looking. I have no idea why, but since your average rural Colombian is not exceptionally tall, I doubt they miss the headroom.
Torrental rivers
Torrental rivers
I kept seeing these fairly violent muddy waters in the rivers, and wondered how many are lost each year. Alejandro assured me it was a LOT of people. ...
More rushing rivers
More rushing rivers
This was the River Paez that we followed for most of the route this day. We crossed the Rio Negro and Uyuco rivers.
Yo Heart Bull
Yo Heart Bull
Rural sentiments
Purty Flowers of Colombia 1
Purty Flowers of Colombia 1
I liked this poofy little flowers, aong the way from La Plata to Pedregal.
Purty Flowers of Colombia 2
Purty Flowers of Colombia 2
Purty Flowers of Colombia 2nd Installment
Unique cliffs
Unique cliffs
It's not often you see exposed rock in Colombia. These pipe-like striations were interesting.
Another squashed bus
Another squashed bus
We arrived in Pedregal, a beautiful rural town, with the Asorcafe coop in a little office on the main square park. This bus was parked there. It reads, "Thanks to God; Elegance and Comfort.
Beauty Salon
Beauty Salon
tiny weird blackhead at the beauty salon. I was going to get a tint, a cut and a perm. turns out we didn't have enough time.
make mine american
make mine american
mmm... american fast food, the finest in the world. ironically, this was on the wall of a little courtyard restaurant in Pedregal, Huila, Colombia, where they served us all-local, fresh, traditional breakfast. but really, american fast food would have been much better...
Jennifer and Aleco
Jennifer and Aleco
we ate in this neat little courtyard, under a Jesus poster, it was quite nice. I was starved and regretably had a huge coffee headache (I mean, lack-of-coffee headache).
Asorcafe Cupping Room
Asorcafe Cupping Room
They had a simple setup, with a Quantik roaster (which are not very good) and a little grinder. we cupped 5 coffees and my favorites were both from the Penna family, who we were to visit later.

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