Short stories

A journey up a mountain

Keith Parkins
Apr 30, 2017 · 4 min read
Huila region of Colombia / Square Mile Coffee Roasters

Our Short Stories program provides a one-off chance to dive deeply into a single coffee producing area. — Square Mile Coffee Roasters

Short stories is quite a clever idea, source coffee from a country from three different locations, then compare the three.

My one criticism, release together, not one after the other, otherwise comparison is impossible.

For this short story, the country Colombia, the coffee sourced not only from three different locations in the rugged southwest of Colombia, but also three different altitudes.

Huila region of Colombia — a mountainous, rugged area, famous for its coffee production and its active, Nevado del Huila volcano.

The coffee has a roast profile to suit espresso.

We’ve sourced three special, small, single-farm lots, which we’ve picked specifically to show off particular aspects of Colombian espresso coffee. We’ll be releasing these in quick succession, and while each coffee will be available individually, the best way to enjoy the series is as a whole, from start to finish.

El Recuerdo

El Recuerdo, run by Rodrigo Figueroa, at nine hectares is a little larger than the average Colombian coffee farm.

The larger size means Rodrigo has plenty of space to develop the infrastructure of his farm. Already equipped with one wet mill, he’s is in the process of building another, which will allow more controlled processing of his coffee crop and more flexibility for keeping distinct lots (such as those from different fields or tree varieties) separate.

Altitude 1,600 metres.

La Falda

Miguel Luna runs La Falda with his wife and brother.

La Falda is located on a group of very steep slopes and is surrounded on all sides by wild, natural forest. This makes every part of coffee cultivation and harvest a harder and more manual process as it simply isn’t possible to get much machinery up onto the farm. Horse transport is used due to the inaccessibility.

The steep slopes provide a unique microclimate that makes the coffee produced very special. The high altitude leads to a cooler average temperature too, lengthening the maturation period the coffee goes through, which improves cup flavour and balance.

Miguel compliments this unique microclimate with innovative, modern production and processing techniques. He floats his cherries just after picking to filter out substandard fruit, a processing step sometimes overlooked in Colombia. He also dry rather than wet ferments his hulled beans, which saves him water and emphasises the fruity characters in his beans.

El Arrayan

Run by Rodrigo Yandi, El Arrayan perched atop a mountain ridge, far from the nearest road, the three hectares of El Arrayan the most isolated of the coffee farms featured.

This isolation, along with the fact that the Yandi family only moved here two years ago, lacks any mechanical equipment.

The altitude of the farm is a bonus, the coffee gets a very long ripening season, which helps lend the final coffee poise and balance. The fact that Rodrigo’s farm is only small is a help too, as it means he’s able to keep a close eye on every tree and cherry.

Altitude 1,900 metres.


Madame Waffle beans from Square Mile

Innovation is the key.

Introduce people to different beans, compare.

I saw this last week in conversation with Bruce, proprietor of Madame Waffle, who source from Square Mile coffee.

A bag of coffee beans sourced from a supermarket, no roast date, only best by which is meaningless. The reason why no roast date, old beans. Contrast with quality beans, the look, the taste.

Grind beans a few hours before use. Contrast with quality beans ground immediately before brewing.

The Little Bicycle Coffee Shop

Musings on all things coffee and occasionally tea

Keith Parkins

Written by

Writer, thinker, deep ecologist, social commentator, activist, enjoys music, literature and good food.

The Little Bicycle Coffee Shop

Musings on all things coffee and occasionally tea

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