COLOMBIA - OMBLIGON
FINCA EL DIVISO
Although its exact origins are unknown, this rare variety unlocks remarkable flavour profiles and truly unique complexity.
The coffee cherry is elongated and has a belly button shape on the base, the reason why is called by the locals Ombligón (Belly button in Spanish).
PROCESSING: Thermal Shock Anaerobic Natural
ALTITUDE: 1,750 meters above sea level
PRODUCER: Nestor Lasso
REGION: Huila, Pitalito
TASTING NOTES: Sweet Mixberry, Cherry Candy, Dark Chocolate
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 OMBLIGON PROCESS
- STEP 1. The cherries are picked at the optimal maturity stage, with brix degrees ranging between 21 – 24 degrees.
- STEP 2. The cherries are put into open plastic tanks and are left oxidizing for 48 hours. During these 48 hours, the coffee must (juice or extract produced during the oxidation) is constantly being recirculated. The coffee must be monitored and analysed to make sure that it is at 19 brix degrees and that the pH doesn’t fall under 5.
- STEP 3. All the cherries are emptied into a tank of cold water and the ones that stay afloat (unripe, lower density, broca infected, etc…) are manually removed.
- STEP 4. The cherries are then rinsed with water heated at 50° c (thermal shock) to loosen their molecular structure and kickstart the fermentation process before being transferred into airtight plastic bins to start their anaerobic process. Before closing the lid of the tank, brewers’ yeast is sprayed on the cherries at a ratio of 1:5 (1 gr yeast / 5kg cherries) diluted in 32°c water. The cherries are left fermenting for 38 hours whilst endemic microorganisms and the added yeast multiply.
- STEP 5. The cherries are then mechanically dried for approximately 12 hours to dehydrate as fast as possible and reach 18% moisture content.
- STEP 6. The cherries are placed in closed plastic bags and left to stabilize for 2 days in a dark room.
- STEP 7. The cherries are placed in marquesinas to finish the drying process for approximately 15 days until reaching 10.5-11.5% moisture content.