We have been buying Benjamin’s coffee ever since but this past year, he had a really tiny harvest. Since 2012, I got to know much of his family and have started buying small lots from his son, Nelson, and his nephews Jony and Wilson. They all grow Pacas and Catuaí and their farms range in elevation from 1600m to 1900m.
Nelson is the second oldest son of Benjamín Vallecillo. We have been working with Benjamin since 2011 and until this year, we had been blending the small amount from Nelson with Benjamin’s coffee. Nelson’s coffee has impressed me since day one, but this was the first year he produced enough volume to bring it in as its own lot. It always tends to stand out on the cupping table with tropical notes, crisp acidity, and sweetness.
The growing conditions are nearly perfect for producing top notch coffee – his farm is high, over 1800m in elevation and his maturation is very slow as a result. The way his land slopes, he also benefits from some wind and cold protection, which is crucial at this elevation.
Nelson grows Yellow Catuaí, which, in my opinion, almost always outperforms Red Catuaí. At this elevation, the plants seem happy and healthy. I have liked how the variety performs on Nelson’s farm so much that we have made plans to also plant some Yellow Catuaí on our farm.
Wilson and Jony produce a very small amount of coffee, also in the highlands above El Cielito. They grow Pacas, and they aim for an extended fermentation – resulting in fruitier coffee. They dry it slowly in their dryers or in Benjamin’s.
With the help of Ben Paz from San Vicente, I worked with Benjamin to build up his infrastructure and radically improve his drying. Between 2013 and 2017, we invested over $1,400 into Benjamin’s drying infrastructure and financed the rest of the costs in order to facilitate these improvements. This drying infrastructure has allowed Nelson, Jony, and Wilson to have access to awesome drying facilities.
The reason these coffees were blended together is that they had a very similar flavour profile, and they were all very tiny lots. The result is a really balanced but fruity coffee!