La Joya by Yermy Pedraza
Coffee growing area
La Joya is the name of Yermy Predraza’s farm located at 1950 masl in the municipality of Chachagui, Nariño. He works with his family on the farm to grow Castillo, Caturra and Typica varieties.
The Caturra he grows are the oldest trees on the farm, and in more recent years he also planted Castillo. This is a common example of producers combatting the risk of roja and loss of yield.
His farm has a stream running through which is an important resource, the municipality Chachagui was originally called Chabchabi which translates to good water.
Nariño is located in the far south-west of Colombia bordering Ecuador, and is one of the most challenging, but also most interesting places to work. Coffee grows up to 2200 masl, often on the steep hillsides of tiny farms in very remote areas.
Coffees are picked in three to four passes, meaning the producers/workers pick the ripe cherries in one block. In Yermy’s case, he is careful to handpick the cherries and carry out an additional round of sorting the cherry by hand to ensure the best results.
Then after a few weeks, more cherries ripen and additional passes through the same block can be made. Generally the first and last passes yield coffee of a slightly lower quality, while the second and third passes will yield more ripe cherries and uniform quality.
The coffee from Nariño is generally washed, meaning it is pulped and fermented the traditional way. There are a few exceptions where farmers use eco-pulpers with mechanical removal of mucilage, and some are producing honeys, but it is rare.
This year Yermy has been trialing two fermentation processes that are different from the traditional way that farmers in Narino ferment or process coffee.
He has been producing some natural coffees for us, where the cherries are dried whole in the sun and fermentation takes place within the fruit.
He has also been doing an extended fermentation, to create these more fruit-driven profiles where the fermentation process is extended to 72 hours.
Washing and grading
Producers normally stir the coffees in tanks or small channels before they remove the floaters. Producers who don’t have channels commonly wash the coffees in the fermentation tank and skim off the floaters before drying.
These coffees have been dried on raised beds for approximately 15 days. Ensuring they are dried to a stable humidity of around 11%, which is ideal for quality, consistency and shelf life.
For the smallholders in regions like Nariño, the coffees are commonly sun-dried in parabolic dryers that almost work like greenhouses. The producers of higher-quality coffees have well-ventilated facilities. There are many different variations and constructions, but generally, they are all systems that protect the coffee from rain.
Castillo, Caturra and Typica