The carbonic maceration process lends this natural-process coffee a velvety mouthfeel with surprising freshness. Cocoa nib and blueberry in the aroma lead to notes of bergamot and more fresh blueberry in the cup. Raisiny sweetness complements zesty pomelo acidity, leading to a touch of coriander and macadamia nut in the finish.
Producer: Padre José Aguilar Posada
Farm: Finca Villa Loyola
Region: Pasto, Nariño
Altitude: 6,160 feet
Process: Natural w/Carbonic Maceration
Notes: Cocoa Nib, Blueberry, Pomelo
Under the leadership of Padre José Alejandro Aguilar Posada and farm manager Alejandra Giraldo, Finca Villa Loyola has converted from conventional agriculture to organic practices with a commitment to sustainability that's apparent across its operations. Resident animals and micro-organisms are used to improve compost and soil; rainwater is collected for an advanced irrigation system; infrastructure is constructed with renewable bamboo grown on the farm; and much more.
The farm's new wet mill allows for greater control and consistency in coffee processing, with equipment for pre-classification of coffee cherries, depulping, fermentation, and washing. The roof of the wet mill collects rainwater that is then stored in an underground tank to be further used to move and process the coffee cherry. During processing the water is recirculated, and at the end of the process the wastewater is redirected to a treatment reservoir.
The Carbonic Maceration Process
Developed in the Beaujolais region of France in the 1930s as a wine-making technique, carbonic maceration is a fermentation method that intensifies fruity aromatics while restraining acidity and astringency.
To apply this technique to coffee processing, coffee cherries are rinsed, separated by density, and placed in plastic containers. The containers are then purged using carbon dioxide to expel oxygen and other atmospheric gases. Once purged, the containers are sealed using lids with a one-way valve, allowing gas to escape during fermentation while preventing any from entering. In this CO2-rich environment, fermentation begins intracellularly by the action of enzymes, rather than yeast or other microbes. The cherries are allowed to ferment this way for 72 hours before being moved to shade-covered drying beds where they are dried as a natural-process coffee.
Villa Loyola serves a model for what a long-term Direct Trade relationship can achieve, as well as what organic, sustainable agriculture looks like, even when organic certification is not sought: