COLOMBIA - CHIROSO
FINCA EL DIVISO
Most likely being a mutation of Caturra, the Chiroso variety is a fair testament to the Colombian coffee industry’s rich history and the passion of its farmers.
PROCESSING: Thermal Shock Anaerobic Natural
ALTITUDE: 1,750 meters above sea level
PRODUCER: Nestor Lasso
REGION: Huila, Pitalito
TASTING NOTES: Sweet Cherry, Cranberry Juice, Peach Tea
The Chiroso variety thrives in high-altitude regions, needing consistent rainfall and temperatures between 16-24°C. Its exceptional cup quality and limited availability have contributed to its desirability among those seeking exceptional specialty coffees.
5 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, also the child of a coffee farmer, to create El Diviso. El Diviso brings together the two-family farms, El Diviso (Nestor and Adrian Lasso) and Las Flores (Jhoan Vergara), close to the town of Pitalito, in the Huila region of Colombia. This partnership was great as these 3 young guys united their knowledge to improve quality.
Then, 3 years ago, Cat & Pierre, founders of CATA Export and the 3 producers started a journey of trial and error to define the fermentation processes and protocols at the farm, with the aim to link these coffees directly to the UK market. This learning process has been time and money consuming but with an exciting outcome as today these coffees have been used in many barista competitions across Europe. Recently winning 1st place at Brewers Cup in Ireland and 3rd in Austria.
Today Cata Export and Finca El Diviso work as one team, the reason why Cat is not alone in this trip to the UK but with Nestor to finally meet all the roasteries who have been behind this process too. Nestor’s and Cat’s friendship is a good example of what Cata Export do, working directly from the farms is a very enriching process for them not only for the complexity of topics such as agronomy but also for the relationships Cata builds which ultimately translate into an economic benefit for Cata’s community, in this way many more young producers like Nestor have stayed in coffee and have had the chance to build a career.
I grew up in a locality 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 knew each other and it was 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 realized 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.
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 realized 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 ABOUT THIS CHIROSO PROCESS
- STEP 1. The natural Chiroso Caturra process begins with a harvest at optimum maturity with a few brix degrees that oscillate between 24 and 26 degrees, the cherry is processed to be chosen to separate bright and defective beans, the coffee is introduced into plastic tanks to make an oxidation (48 hours) in this process the leachate that the plant throws is recirculated mass until completing the cycle measuring degrees brix and pH (4.5)
- STEP 2. Continue with rafting (to separate vain grains and impurities) and with this lower the dough temperature. A thermal shock is carried out at a temperature of 50 ° c, and it is introduced into sealed plastic bins to start anaerobic fermentation. During anaerobic fermentation, saccharomyces yeast was added. Cerevisiae strain type t58 is being used for the improvement of profiles in the brewing industry. The proportion used was 1:5, (1 gram x 5 kilos of cherry) in active dilution at 35°c, the solution was added to the cherry by spraying and left in the conditioning and multiplication stage for 80 hours.
- STEP 3. After this process, the cherries are mechanically dried to dehydrate as much water as possible (approximately 12 hours) and then it is dried solar (approximately 15 days) culminating this process we review physical quality and sensory.