Luis Pedro singled out Tono Hernandez because of the exquisite coffees he was producing. But there were still improvements to be made. So, Luis Pedro started to work with him to improve the maintenance program on his farms. With Luis Pedro’s help, Tono was able to pre-finance fertilizer to apply the right amounts at the right time, not an easy task when you only get paid for three or four months of the year. He has also received financing for the spray used to combat coffee rust and expertise on how much and when to apply it. This, along with technical advice on pruning, has helped Tono maximize his yields and quality.
When Tono delivers his coffee cherry to the mill, each lot is inspected and scored according the percentage of ripe cherries. This determines the price that Tono receives and provides a financial incentive to improve the picking of cherry.
Once the cherry has been received at Bella Vista, Luis Pedro ferments, washes, and dries the coffee. We love working with him because he is committed to improving the quality of all the coffees that he processes. He is always willing to try new things that might improve the quality, efficiency, or consistency of the coffee.
Since seeing some positive results from experiments in 2014/2015, all of Tono’s coffees are fermented in small bins. This helps to improve the quality because it is difficult to get complete fermentation of small lots in the large tanks that the mill normally uses. The smaller bins allow for faster and more controlled fermentation that reduces the chances of fermentation defects developing in the cup.
We worked with Luis Pedro in 2015 to introduce the separation of Tono’s coffee by variety. Until 2015, Tono’s coffee was a blend of bourbon and caturra. Because he has more caturra most years, we were able to separate the bourbon lots and caturra lots. This particular lot is caturra, and is more fruit-forward, with juicier acidity. This green coffee was frozen immediately on arrival in Calgary, to preserve freshness.