Box of Rain
|Tasting Notes: Cherry, orange, florals, chocolate
|Farm/Mill: Finca La Esperanza
|Farmer: Luz Dary Polo
|Altitude: 6,560-6,890 ft
|Name Inspiration: Box of Rain, by Grateful Dead
|Roast Profile: Medium
This coffee is named after the ever popular Grateful Dead song A Box of Rain. Colombian coffees are all the rage these days. They tend to find their way onto our shelves as we transition from summer into fall, as the earthy tones pair perfectly with the long, cool nights only to be broken up by the afternoon’s splintered sunlight
Box of Rain is most certainly waiting to meet you, and one taste will help you find direction around the corner where your next adventure is waiting to meet you. Colombia has long been recognized for its excellent coffee, and this year’s Box of Rain exemplifies everything we love about what this heralded region does best! Imported by our new friends from Shared Source, farmer Luz Dary Polo has a 3 hectare farm focused on delivering beans with big flavor that can only come from meticulous farming.
To process the coffee, Luz starts with ripe cherries, and she floats them in water to remove the under and over-ripe cherries. From there, she carefully stores the cherries in a sealed Grain Pro bag, and they begin their fermentation process within the cherry. After 40 hours of this initial ferment, she de-pulps the coffee, and leaves it to ferment in a sealed pickle barrel, facilitating a low-oxygen environment fermentation for up to an additional 60 hours. From there, she washes once and sets the coffee out to dry.
During peak harvest seasons, she pays a significantly higher price to pickers, which allows her to ask that they only pick ripe cherries. Luz is moving towards organic production, but she’s worried about her yields going down, which could be devastating from an economic perspective. We’ve advised her (like we do to all producers) that we encourage her transition towards organics to be slow, thoughtful and planned out. These days she’s making her own brew (called Super Magro) made up of organic minerals and waste products, molasses, bone ash and manure (among other ingredients), fermented with microorganisms collected from virgin soils and used as a fertilizer and protectant from disease. The Super Magro is edible and effective, emphasizing a producer-driven, grassroots approach to empower growers to increase soil health, reduce costs, and lessen their dependence on synthetic chemicals. Luz applies the Super Magro to her trees three times a year, and also makes her own calcium sulfate and applies it three times a year.
Luz Dary is a member of the Los Guácharos association - collectively they share technical know-how and commercialize their coffee to take advantage of larger volume. Los Guácharos are a group of independent, quality-focused small producers in southern Huila (close to Pitalito). They’re converting to organic agriculture, making their own fertilizers and fungicides, installing complex water filtration systems that use gravity, and are employing stones and sand to remove all mucilage residues from waste water to not contaminate water systems.