We are completing our second harvest, but our third year of working with Finca Esperanza. Ana Vizcaino, the heart and soul of the farm, is constantly working with her staff to ensure everything is managed properly. She is also closely involved with the training and development of her staff. Ana has taken a highly poisoned soil – from years of pesticide, herbicide and fertilizer use – and transformed Finca Esperanza into not only an organic farm, but a farm that is restorative to the environment.
Our collaborative projects have included compost work, coffee processing assistance, and a sustainably designed drying house. The compost project is intended to address CLR (coffee leaf rust) and soil nutrition by restoring soil microbiology. We started this work at a time when the research on the subject was still in its infancy. The research is quickly becoming mainstream and also absolutely necessary in the efforts to slow global warming. The processing collaboration using yeast assisted in understanding the principles of fermentation before the farm built their own beneficio to ferment and process their own coffee. Now, we are partnering to address the difficulty of drying in a humid climate.
Preparing naturals can be a controversial subject, but it is an important learning tool for specialty coffee growers. Naturals take longer to dry and require more labor, which can be very difficult to manage during a hectic harvest season within a humid climate. So why do it? Well, that is a complicated question. Naturals are one offering in a specialty coffee farmer’s “line-up.” A coffee farm is a business that must innovate and learn in order to improve and begin to break into a market. Access to market is the final and most important step for any coffee farmer. There is very little incentive to work towards a specialty quality unless there is confidence that the coffee will reach a market that values the additional work and taste quality. Blueprint Coffee is guaranteeing the access to market by committing to purchase of the coffee and assisting Finca Esperanza in successfully expanding their product offering.
Aside from adding diversity to a farmer’s “line-up,” natural process coffees do not require the water used in the washed process and they do not leave the farmer with the spent pulp to pollute the watershed of their area. The subject of pulp processing has become an important aspect of our work with farmers in general. You will be hearing more in 2019 about how we are trying to engage with coffee pulp rotting during harvest that contributes to the degradation of soils and the watershed. For now, please enjoy the result of the hard work and dedication from the people at Finca Esperanza.
Team taste notes: blackberry, dense, chardonnay, fudge, custard, cherry
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