This single estate, single varietal Pink Bourbon microlot is from Gabriel Castaño and is farm Finca La Granada, situated in the vereda of La Esmeralda in the Colombian department Huila.
Don Gabriel Castaño is a short and quiet man with a full, jet-black mustache, kind eyes, and is quick to return a shy smile when prompted. The family’s two-hectare finca, La Granada, located in the department of Huila, in the southern municipality of Acevedo, is where Gabriel Sr. started everything anew. There he planted the Pink Bourbon variety that was not very well known at the time, and crafted it to produce a truly exquisite cup of coffee. Although Gabriel is getting on in age and due to his health, can no longer drink coffee, he says he wouldn’t trade lives with anyone. He has 8,000 trees sown, and has become known throughout his municipality for introducing Pink Bourbon to his fellow producers.
In 1990, Colombia opened its doors to the international economy. Domestic producers all over the country suffered a tough blow as a wide variety of products had to start competing in the market with cheap foreign imports. Even coffee farmers, despite some important leverage within the agroindustry—namely a promise of purchase by the National Federation of Coffee Growers—were having a hard time since the coffee pact was broken in 1989. The instability of coffee’s new commodity index, traded daily on the NY stock excha nge from ‘89 until today, had small and medium producers walking a tight line toward bankruptcy.
Don Gabriel lived through this situation and, like many other Colombians, he turned to coca production as a way of survival. But even while coca could promise high returns, the risks, both financial and personal, were often that much higher. As soon as he could, Gabriel left the coca fields and devoted himself entirely to coffee. Gabriel and his wife Carmen have six children—four daughters and two sons—five of whom have followed in their parents’ footsteps and become coffee producers in their own right. Third-oldest sister Sorany, lives near the family farm, as do her siblings. Oldest sister Yamileth is the only one of the Castaño Motta children who does not work with coffee. At 35, Marili is older than Sorany, who is followed in line by 29-year-old Yorlady, and by brothers Gabriel and Jefferson.
This microlot is of the Pink Bourbon variety of course and was carefully hand-selected for ripeness by local and itinerant pickers. This coffee was treated to a prolonged fermentation. The cherries were weighed and kept intact for 96 hours, after which they were fermented for another 96 hours in tanks. The beans were then washed and put out to dry on parabolic dryers for 15 to 20 days. The resulting cup has notes of chocolate cake, baking spices and passionfruit. We are very fortunate to have such incredibly hardworking pioneering producing partners such as Gabriel Castaño and his family, and we thank them tremendously for their hard work and dedication.