El Placer rests at a staggering 2,125 masl in the mountains of San Antonio, Tolima, and consistently produces some of our favorite coffee of the season. This very small lot of Castillo is extremely clean; it sings of ripe tropical fruits and has excellent sweetness and clarity.
San Antonio, Tolima
Mitaca; December, 2019
Hand picked at peak ripeness. Floated to further remove defects and depulped on the day of harvest. Wet fermented for 36 hours. Dried on raised beds until moisture content reaches 10.5%.
Antonio Saavedra's coffee is consistently one of our favorite Colombian coffees of the year, and we're again honored to have the chance to work with four bags of his Red Caturra this year. Noticing climatic temperature changes, Antonio sold his farm at 1,200 masl 20 years ago, and purchased El Placer at 2,100 masl atop the same mountain. The colder microclimate helps keep diseases at bay, and slows coffee cherry maturation. The downside is that there is no road access to his farm, and Antonio and his family must take a two hour horse ride down the mountain to the nearest road along with river valley. Horseback is how the coffee makes its way down from the mountain as well. Antonio's father, two children, and grandchild all live and work full time on this farm. He says, “I have coffee in my blood. I have been a coffee grower for 40 years. Coffee brings me food, life, love. I’m so proud when people buy my coffee and enjoy it.”
Castillo is a hybrid variety. It is a cross between Caturra and a Timor Robusta. In 1962 research began to create coffee leaf rust resistant varieties. Leaf rust is responsible for decimating many coffee growing regions throughout history. Castillo was released in 1982, and has been widely adopted in Colombia to combat leaf rust; breathing new life into coffee production within the country. Castillo offers producers an option that requires less fungicides while still maintaining the potential for cup quality.
The cost of getting a coffee from cherry to beverage varies enormously depending on its place of origin and the location of its consumption. The inclusion of price transparency is a starting point to inform broader conversation around the true costs of production and the sustainability of specialty coffee as a whole.