Our Special Release series features coffees of exceptionally high quality, that posess unusual, surprising or special characteristics. They come roasted for filter - to maintain their spectacular origin characteristics - and packaged in a beautiful origami letterpress box, designed and produced by our friends at Hungry Workshop.
This Java microlot hails from Las Alasitas, a small farm owned by Pedro Rodríguez, the Bolivian coffee legend whose coffees we have proudly featured before.
Las Alasitas is in the colony of Bolinda, which was founded 52 years ago in a fertile valley outside of Caranavi. The farm was planted in 2014 and sits at 1,642 masl; its high elevation allowing the fruit to slowly mature leading to a high concentration of sugar in the fruit and thereby, the cup.
The Rodríguez family has trialled many different varieties at Las Alasitas, including San Bernardo, Caturra, Gesha and - as this lot is - Java.
About the Varietal
Java has a long history of cultivation. It's named after the Indonesian island, where it was introduced from Ethiopia in the early 19th century by the Dutch.
It has become popular is West Africa and Central America, and is positioned as an interesting alternative to Gesha. It has high profitability potential for smaller farmers, due to its distinct flavour profile and high cup quality. It's also very tolerant to leaf rust and coffee berry disease.
Recent genetic testing has shown it is closely related to an Ehtiopian landrace variety called Abysinia.
About the Processing
The cherries were hand picked by well trained pickers, who select only the ripest cherries. Multiple passes are made throughout the harvest, ensuring each cherry is picked at its prime. This ensures a sweet and clean cup.
Pedro takes inspiration from the wine industry for his processing methods; this particular lot was processed using experimental methods.
After inspected and weighed, the cherries for this lot were carefully sorted by weight using water, and floaters were removed. Following this, the coffee was placed on a conveyor belt and was disinfected, in a similar process used for wine grapes.
The cherries were then placed in one of the family’s brand new, custom-built stainless steel tanks for 24 hours. As the fermentation progressed, naturally occurring bacteria and yeasts were collected from the ‘juice’, and analysed at the mill’s fermentation lab. Through trial and error the team has identified specific microorganisms as resulting in a more complex and refined cup profile. These ‘good’ bacteria and yeasts were isolated from the juice and placed with the pulped coffee in a fresh tank and left to ferment for a further 66 hours, under careful observation.
Once fermentation was completed, the wet parchment was washed with fresh, clean water and carefully machine-dried for 58 hours using a ‘guardiola,’ a horizontal, rotating drum that gets rid of moisture by creating a warm, consistent flow of air around the coffee. The dry parchment was then transported to La Paz where it was rested before being milled at Agricafe’s dry mill, La Luna. At this state-of-the-art mill, the coffee was first hulled and sorted using machinery, and then by a team of workers who meticulously sorted the coffee again (this time by hand) under UV and natural light.
This information and images have kindly been shared with us by our import partners Melbourne Coffee Merchants.