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ICONS: Rigoberto Herrera

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Producer Rigoberto Herrera of Cafe Granja La Esperanza has spent the last several years experimenting and pushing coffee innovation, from coffee varieties to processing techniques. At their five farms, he has planted several varieties not typically found in Colombia. These include some of the earliest plantings of Geisha trees in among other non-indigenous varieties.

When we visited Rigoberto and the Cafe Granja La Esperanza team in February of this year, we asked him: of the numerous varieties that are on his five farms, which would be his favourite and that he would like to feature for us in an upcoming edition of ICONS?

His answer was a bit surprising.  It wasn't Gesha, or Sudan Rume, or even Sidra or Pacamara.  It was the Mokka.

As explained by Camilo Hadad, Sales and Marketing Director of CGLE, "the Mokka seed was brought to CGLE as gift from an old Japanese friend very close to Rigoberto in that time. He was impressed with the work that CGLE was doing with the Geisha Varietal that he felt committed to contribute with the research. In one of his trips to Finca Hawaii he met a coffee grower with around 8 hectares of a Mokka originally from Yemen and when he had the opportunity to taste it he knew it had a big potential in the hills of Colombia."

"That’s why since the beginning the farm in Sasaima, Cundinamarca was name after the origin of the seed."

Something that have made the Mokka so special is that years later after being planted and the first harvest was picked they saw that the tree was very tall and very difficult to harvest since most of the cherries were in the tree top. So Production team at CGLE started investigating on how was the best way to replicate this tree and make it smaller. And they found a solution by grafting the roots of a dwarf varietal with the tree top of the Mokka, trying to keep the identity of the original variety. Now around 40% of the farm has been renovated with the new seed. 

For Rigoberto, it’s incredible how such a tiny bean can express that much flavours in a cup. That much that its complexity can even beat a 90+ Geisha.

Rigoberto's second selection is the second harvest of Sidra at their original family farm, Potosí.

"The Sidra was the first 'exotic' Variety planted in Potosí farm and after two and a half years, the variety's identity and attributes were clear, and reflected the hard work of the team.  During this time, it was evident that the team needed to match a unique process for each variety. The first harvest was picked in 2019 and demonstrated how the company is committed into the development of new varieties -- different from the 15 we already have."

 

  • PRODUCER: Rigoberto Herrera
  • HARVEST: December 2019 - January 2020
  • FARM: Finca Hawaii, Cafe Granja La Esperanza
  • REGION: Cundinamarca
  • ORIGIN: Colombia
  • ALTITUDE: 1,450-1,530m
  • VARIETIES: Mokka
  • PROCESS: Natural
  • FLAVOURS: Tangerine, grapefruit peel, raspberry, cacao nib

  • PRODUCER: Rigoberto Herrera
  • HARVEST: January 2020
  • FARM: Potosí, Cafe Granja La Esperanza
  • REGION: Valle del Cauca
  • ORIGIN: Colombia
  • ALTITUDE: 1,400-1,860m
  • VARIETIES: Sidra
  • PROCESS: Natural
  • FLAVOURS: Raspberry, Kyoho grape, guava, violet

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