|Notes||Chocolate, Stone Fruit, Malt|
|Farm||Finca Ciprocazaca, Tayronaca Cooperative, Aracataca, Magdalena, Colombia|
|Process||Washed / Sparkling Water Decaffeination|
|Certification||USDA Organic, EU Organic, UTZ|
Our current seasonal decaf is an organic washed coffee from Finca Ciprocazaca, a smallholder member of the Tayronaca Cooperative in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta. In the cup it has a malty sweetness with notes of chocolate and stone fruit.
ABOUT THE TAYRONACA COOPERATIVE
The Tayronaca Cooperative was founded in 2014 by producers primarily from the municipalities of Aracataca and Fundación. Their farms straddle the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, a mountain range isolated from the Andes chain for which Colombia is so well known. With altitudes of 5,700m just 42km from the Caribbean coast, the Sierra Nevada is one of the world’s highest costal ranges.
At the foothills of the Sierra Nevada lies the Magdalena coffee zone. This region is home to great biodiversity and boasts an ideal environment for the production of speciality coffee. Magdalena currently boasts around 18,450 hectares of coffee distributed across 3,144 farms, and providing for some 2,820 families. The Tayronaca Cooperative is comprised of just over 300 of these producers from around 10 communities. Most of these communities are indigenous Aruhuaco, descendants of the Tairona civilisation, one of the most advanced pre-Colombian civilisations dating from around the 1st Century.
Tayronaca producers are overwhelmingly smallholders who manage their own self-sufficient wet-mills and patios (open or covered) for drying. The cooperative members farm a total of just over 3,000 hectares (around 400 of which are dedicated to coffee). The average member has around 10 hectares (with 1.5 dedicated to coffee), which is quite substantial compared to other departments in Colombia. Farmers cultivate their trees (primarily the traditional varieties of typica and bourbon) under shade with average densities of 4,800 plants per hectare. Coffee production in the region is characterised by large cherries and beans thanks to the constant presence of rain between the flowering and the ripening periods. Cup quality tends to be high due the level of technical assistance that many farming families receive from regional organisations.
Most families do their own harvesting - usually with the help of neighbours. After the red and ripe cherries are picked, they are pulped by passing them through a manual pulper at the family farm. The waste from this process will be used later as a natural fertiliser for the coffee trees. Depending on the conditions fermentation can range from 12 to 48 hours.
For most cooperative members, coffee cultivation is their main means of economic sustenance. Some also cultivate sugarcane, but other than these crops, all other agriculture and activities are for household consumption. For the most part, individual families live separately on their farms rather than clustered in the community centre. Houses vary in shape, size and construction material, which depends on the weather, but many have distinct roofs of woven grass that are ubiquitous in the region.
SPARKLING WATER DECAFFEINATION PROCESS
This sparkling water decaffeination procedure is a gentle, natural and organically certified process which involves the following steps:
1. The green beans enter a ‘pre-treatment’ vessel where they are cleaned and moistened with water before being brought into contact with pressurised liquid carbon dioxide. When the green coffee beans absorb the water, they expand and the pores are opened resulting in the caffeine molecules becoming mobile.
2. The beans are then brought into contact with the pressurised liquid carbon dioxide which combines with the water to essentially form sparkling water. The carbon dioxide circulates through the beans and acts like a magnet, drawing out the mobile caffeine molecules.
3. The sparkling water then enters an evaporator which precipitates the caffeine rich carbon dioxide out of the water. The now caffeine free water is pumped back into the vessel for a new cycle.
4. This cycle is repeated until the required residual caffeine level is reached. Once this has happened, the circulation of carbon dioxide is stopped and the green beans are discharged into a drier.
The good caffeine selectivity of the carbon dioxide guarantees high retention of other coffee components which contribute to taste and aroma.