Although all of the brothers grew up together, Yimi and Jose Javier have purchased land in a more remote area of Tarqui that lies about 25 minutes away from Wilmar and the rest of the brothers. Over the last few visits, I have been happy to see many improvements taking place at the farms. They recently built several shaded drying patios, dozens of raised drying beds, and a concrete building to house the mill and fermentation tanks. It’s clear that the Guarnizo brothers take pride in the work that they do.
Wilmar is a good case study that shows the role that the coffee producer can have on his coffee. Six of his brothers all have farms surrounding Wilmar’s farm, with the same varieties, same native soil, vegetation and altitude. Theoretically, their coffee should be as good as Wilmar’s, but the reality is that his coffee is consistently better than the other six neighbours – a testament to Wilmar’s efforts and commitment to quality.
Wilmar, Yimi and Jose Javier grow mostly Caturra, but there are also some nice patches of old growth Typica. An examination of the trees and soil shows that the trees have been well cared for and have been rigorously fertilized and pruned. While the brothers have different approaches to controlling coffee rust and other pests, they learn from each other’s experiences and implement strategies that prove to be effective.
The processing facilities the brothers have built are some of the best that we have seen in Colombia, with fresh cement and clean tile. The brothers approached the design of the facilities with care to maximize efficiency. Their simple and practical set up combines gravity with scales and levers to sort, separate, and regulate the cherry receipt, floating, and fermentation processes.
The Guarnizos do not shy away from experimenting. Jose Javier, Yimi, and Wilmar have all conducted fermentation experiments in order to determine which process results in better cup characteristics. They conducted these experiments in their own tanks by varying the number of hours of fermentation and then tasting the resulting coffees. Interestingly enough, the results were similar for each of the brothers at home base, but Yimi and Jose Javier found that they needed longer fermentation times in order to achieve better cupping scores. This is because their farms are slightly higher in elevation, meaning the average temperature during fermentation is slightly lower than the rest of the brothers.
This particular lot is a blend from Wilmar and Jose Javier and was harvested in August of 2017. Once the coffee arrived in Calgary, we off-loaded the container in our frozen warehouse, where it is stored until the time of roasting. We are seeing game-changing results with our freezing strategy as the coffee preserves all of its unique attributes over a long period of time.