Jaime is an exceptional producer whose coffee we have known about for years. Now that he is working with our friends at Monkaaba, we finally have the opportunity to carry his coffee. In the cup we find lively tropical fruit, lemon-lime acidity, lovely articulated plum, and blueberry.
Muralla, San Agustín, Huila
Main; February, 2023
Hand-picked at peak ripeness every three weeks. Floated to further remove defects. Held in-cherry to ferment for 15 hours. Depulped. Dry fermented in sealed bins for 42 hours. Washed. Dried on raised beds for 25 days until moisture content reaches ~10.5%.
Jaime is a multi-generational coffee grower who began working at his father’s side for 3,500 COP per day ($.84 USD today). By collecting this money, he was able to buy a small farm of his own at the age of 23. To get the farm up and running, he worked two days on his farm and three days on his neighbors’ farms. Once established, he managed to navigate the highly volatile coffee market of the early 2000’s, and joined an incredible group of producers called Los Naranjos, where he found excellent access to specialty markets and relative economic stability. With Los Naranjos, however, his coffee was always blended with that of the other producers of the group. As close friends with Esnaider Ortega and the Ortega-Gomez family, Jaime was instrumental in the early days of the Monkaaba project, and we can now work with his coffees as unique separated lots.
Caturra is a natural mutation of the Bourbon variety. It was discovered on a plantation in the state of Minas Gerais in Brazil sometime between 1915 and 1918. Today, it is one of the most economically important coffees in Central America, to the extent that it is often used as a benchmark against which new cultivars are tested. In Colombia, Caturra was thought to represent nearly half of the country’s production before a government-sponsored program beginning in 2008 incentivized the renovation of over three billion coffee trees with the leaf rust-resistant Castillo variety (which has Caturra parentage).
Monkaaba is a group of producers who have been selling their coffee to the specialty market for many years. They have collectively decided that they would like to be more autonomous in their coffee production, and have more involvement in its marketing and sales. Monkaaba is committed to helping producers throughout Huila by teaching them how to cup their own coffees and how and why specific coffees are either accepted or rejected by the specialty market. This group is currently working with growers of all levels of experience in San Agustín and Tarqui to cup and discuss in depth the challenges they are facing on the way to their goals and dreams. The early results of this program have been very successful.
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.