I first heard of Mauricio Shattah via a WhatsApp message from a respected friend and coffee farmer, Ratibor Hartmann. Ratibor told me, “next time you’re in Colombia, you must meet Mauricio. His personality and his coffee will blow you away”. I immediately called Mauricio and had a great conversation about coffee quality, the state of farming, and we both lamented the haphazard way in which coffee is grown and processed. I have since met Mauricio several times and spent many hours roaming around his farm. Through our conversations and time spent at the farm, I am convinced Mauricio will be one of the world’s best coffee producers. This geisha is proof of that fact.
Mauricio is definitely not your average coffee farmer. He is a retired doctor (oncologist) who developed a relentless passion for coffee. Mauricio is an avid reader and is taking a science-first approach to coffee that will only lead him to greatness. He is growing over 18 varieties of coffee on his farm, and around eight of them are presently in production. This offering is a truly delicious and rare Geisha.
In 2012, Mauricio’s wife Liliana wanted to buy a property in the countryside as a refuge from the busyness of their Bogota life. Mauricio was becoming interested in coffee and agreed to buy some property with the condition that he would be allowed to plant coffee on their property. So they found a lovely piece of land nestled in a valley in the mountains of Tolima, near the town of Ibagué, and with a view of the famous Sierra Nevada: a snow capped mountain. The farm, called “La Negrita”, which is named for Liliana’s nickname, is idyllic. Its geographic location, weather, access to water, surrounding vegetation, and elevation make it a prime location for growing great coffee.
When Mauricio began planting La Negrita, he didn’t want to replicate the standard monoculture Colombian coffee farm, he wanted to grow many exotic varieties, each of which would result in a unique profile. At present, he has planted Yellow Bourbon, Red Bourbon, Yellow Maragogipe, Red Maragogipe, Yellow Geisha, Bronze Tip Geisha, Green Tip Geisha, Laurina, Sudan Rume, Cidra, Java, SL-28, Wush-wush, Typica, Villa Sarchi, Pluma Hidalgo, Mundo Novo and Moka. He has plans to continue diversifying the coffee plantation further as he grows.
Despite having some of the best coffee varieties in the country, Mauricio’s biggest asset is his processing. He is innovating his fermentation processes by experimenting with controlled enzyme injections and the addition of phosphoric acid to the fermentation tank to aid in the process. He is also innovating in his drying by installing fans and de-humidifiers inside his drying structures. This helps in creating a low humidity environment for drying coffee, which improves the drying significantly. He also recently built a climate-controlled warehouse to store all of his coffee prior to export. Climate-controlled warehouses are unheard of in the coffee world. Needless to say, Mauricio is an innovator and we are excited to be working with him and learning together. This coffee was frozen immediately on arrival in Calgary, to preserve freshness.