Our third year buying coffees from the amazing Finca El Diviso located in the heart of Bruselas, Huila. Five years ago, Nestor Lasso and his brother Adrian took over the family farm and branched out into specialty coffee and experimentation rather than growing coffee like their parents. Today, at 22 and 24, the two brothers have teamed up with Jhoan Vergara to create El Diviso. El Diviso brings together the two-family farms, El Diviso (Nestor and Adrian Lasso) and Las Flores (Jhoan Vergara). This partnership was great as these 3 young guys united their knowledge to improve quality.
The fermentation experts in the family are Nestors father Jose and his brother Adrian. They have a passion for breaking down all the conventional codes of coffee production, experimenting with exotic varieties, micro organisms, and different fermentation methods. Our import partner Cata Exports started working with El Diviso as their first producer project 3 years ago and has continued to foster that relationship. We were very lucky to get one of the lots from that first year and feel very lucky to continue showcasing these extraordinary coffees.
Typica Mejorado was developed in Ecuadorian soils and is a hybrid between an Ethiopian Heirloom and Red Bourbon. Mistakenly named ‘Improved Typica’ this cultivar is not a descendant of the Typica lineage. Confusing I know, but it tastes great.
It's labelled as a washed but you'll see from CATA's process breakdown below that this is way more complex than a traditional washed coffee:
- STEP 1. THE CHERRIES ARE HAND PICKED AND SELECTED TO REACH A RATIO OF 70% RIPE AND 30 % UNDERRIPE, WITH AN AVERAGE OF 23 BRIX DEGREES.
- STEP 2. THE CHERRIES ARE PULPED
- STEP 3. THE BEANS ARE LEFT OXIDISING WITH THE MUCILAGE FOR 12 HOURS DURING WHICH THE COFFEE MUST (JUICE OR EXTRACT PRODUCED DURING THE OXIDATION) IS CONSTANTLY BEING RECIRCULATED.
- STEP4. THE BEANS AND MUCILAGE THEN UNDERGO A SUBMERGED FERMENTATION IN WATER AT A TEMPERATURE OF 28°C FOR 8 HOURS.
- STEP 5. TO FINISH THE PROCESS THE BEANS ARE WASHED WITH HOT WATER (THERMAL SHOCK) AT AN AVERAGE TEMPERATURE OF 65-70, DEGREES CELSIUS.
- STEP 6. THE COFFEE IS THEN PLACED IN MARQUESINAS TO START THE DRYING PROCESS DRUING 18-24 DAYS OR UNTIL REACHES 11% MOISTURE CONTENT AND MAKING SURE THAT THE AIR TEMPERATURE INSIDE DOES NOT EXCEED 30°C.
Here's Nestor's message to the roasters buying these amazing coffees in different part of the world:
"I grew up in a vereda called Normandia, near the town of Pitalito in the south of the Huila region. I always grew up on the farm and since I can remember the region has always been a coffee zone.
Here I had a very healthy childhood, everyone knows each other and it's safe. The memories I have of my childhood are of playing in nature, playing hide and seek and I have always been super happy to be here.
In general, being a coffee producer is poorly paid and it is not very attractive. The only thing that allows producers not to starve is to eat the fruits and vegetables produced on the farm. In terms of material goods, we only have access to what is strictly necessary. Many young people therefore prefer to go to town to find an office job or a less physically demanding job because they think that the coffee is not worth it.
Beyond what specialty coffee brings economically, I have always had a passion for production. When I realised that specialty coffee offered a real possibility of economic development, and that in addition I could develop my knowledge of coffee production, and in particular the processes, I really got into it.
I understand more or less how the market works due to the close partnership we have with Cat and Pierre but also social networks allow us to see who is buying our coffees. They also allow us to see how specialty coffee is marketed in Europe.
Cat told me the importance of the sensory side of the business and she encouraged me to learn to cup to control the quality of what is produced and to understand the impact of the processes and whether they improve or not in the cup.
Also, in Colombia there is a program we followed funded by the Colombian state and today this program is recognised as the best coffee growing school in Latin America, called SENA.
We learned a lot at SENA, me and my brother. All the theoretical bases, the science of coffee processing… everything is taught there. But the reality of the job of coffee producer is learned in the field.
We must not forget that the price of coffee is very high at the moment reason why lot of producers want to know how we work, but we quickly identify people who are really motivated to produce specialty coffee, who come to ask us questions to learn with us and those who only see it as a temporary opportunity to earn money.
What really makes the difference is the passion that the producer can have for the coffee. If you're not naturally passionate, you'll never get the trick!
Often, some coffee growers here have a lot of money because they have a lot of land and the best machines possible. But specialty coffee does not interest them, they do not see the point of changing because they are not as passionate about coffee as we are.
I have seen that specialty coffee consumption has changed a lot in recent years in the country. Until recently, Colombians only drank coffee by-products, anything that could not be exported. But people here have realised that coffee is a much more noble product than it seems. Many producers today keep part of their harvest to roast it themselves and drink it at home. All the specialty coffee craze has really brought about a different way of looking at coffee.”