Colombia Villa Maria
Producer: Esnaider Ortega
Farm: Villa Maria
Region: Colombia, Hulia, San Agustin
Altitude: 1750 masl
Varietal: Caturra, Castillo, Colombia
Processing Method: Washed
Tasting Notes: Lavender | Apple | Mango
Esnaider is a third generation coffee farmer from San Agustin in Southern Huila. At 27, Esnaider has already shown that he has the potential and the drive to become one of Colombia’s best coffee producers, and as a result his coffee is in high demand around the world. We can proudly say that for this year’s main harvest, which runs from November – February, we purchased the lion’s share of the farms production
Esnaider and his family operate a small farm of about 5 hectares in size, 2.5 of which belongs to Esnaider himself. His goal is to produce nothing but 86+ coffees and he is in the process of or has already planted a wide range of coffee varietals in his pursuit to create a “menu” of coffee for buyers to consider from him.
That being said, the majority of his farm are varietals common to the average Colombian coffee producer — caturra, colombia, and castillo. Amongst his newly planted varietals are Tabi, Yellow Catuai, Geisha, and Typica. Esnaider is a big fan of yellow coffee, and has been trying to plant as much of it as he can! This is interesting because yellow coffee varietals tend to produce more mucilage than their red counterparts, which leads to a sweeter coffee in the long run.
Esnaider and his family are in many ways very typical smallholder coffee producers. They are not wealthy, they don’t have an exceeding amount of land or access to resources, and they struggle with low market prices alongside their neighbours.
However, due to Esnaider’s diligence to improve through cupping, visiting other farmers, and the generational knowledge learned from his family, he’s actively changing the future for himself and his family and is becoming an example for the entire community around him. In fact, just last week, Esnaider’s family hosted 50 other coffee producing families at their farm to show them what they are doing to improve quality!
About Caturra, Colombia, and Castillo
This type of lot represents a more common finding in Colombia, with these free varietals being those which almost all producers are growing. Castillo and Colombia are cultivars — different from varietals in that they were intentionally created through the crossing of two varieties — both possessing Caturra roots but genetically spliced with the aim of combatting leaf rust (Roya) while also maintaining a quality cup. Indeed, Colombia was released as a varietal by the Colombian coffee research institute CENICAFE in the 80s, right before a devastating outbreak of Roya and is credited for salvaging the livelihoods of many producers. Although sometimes maligned for being of poorer quality, with time and good cultivation and harvesting techniques, these coffees can achieve impeccable quality just the same. Many producers now do not have the luxury of growing ancient varieties due to the impact of Roya and so have migrated towards these varietals. This lot is a great example of how proper management of these varietals can still result in an excellent cup and it also represents the reality of coffee growing in our current moment, so we were happy to purchase all of it.