El Vergel farm
Martha and her two sons, Elias & Shady started to work with experimental coffee in a way that they could create and pass through the technology that would help to improve the quality of life of the families that work together with them in their project El Vergel. El Vergel farm itself is located in the beautiful departamente of Tolima spanning across the Andean mountains in Colombia.
Elias & Shady made the decision to produce a very high-quality decaffeinated coffee when realising most coffee across Colombia used to produce decaf is low-quality coffee. That’s why our decaf is made with coffees from their farm with high quality coffees which have allowed us to create a decaffeinated product that, despite the process, does not lose its character in the cup.
Colombia is filled with diverse landscapes, from rainforests to mountaintops, two coastlines, and much more. Apart from that it boasts 11 different altitudes, each containing a unique flavour palate that is unrivalled anywhere else in the world.
Tolima region is located in central-west Colombia. The word ‘Tolima’ comes from the local indigenous language and means a “river of snow or cloud”. The region sits on the Cordillera Central, in the middle of the three mountain ranges that provide a range of microclimates well-suited to high quality coffee production. Coffee is the leading agricultural activity in the region, followed by beans and cattle.
Local soils are some of the most nutrient-rich for planting coffee trees, offering some exotic flavours which are quite unique to the region. Tolima's farmers have made the switch from primarily working large yield crops to dealing with micro lots that require more care and dedication. This led to more focus on nurturing the coffee and emphasising quality over quantity. The extra care is evident as we are allowed to taste some incredible coffees in recent years.
Sugar cane process
When the coffee is received it gets submitted to a condition of water and steam. This elevates the moisture contained and swells the bean in order to facilitate the extraction of caffeine. At this point, the beans experience an E.A. wash, which dissolves the caffeine. The beans are then cleaned with water, followed by steam, to clean the innermost portions of the bean. Finally, the beans are dried until reaching moisture similar to what they had prior to the process. This method avoids excessive heat or pressure, which can radically disrupt a green bean's cellular structure.
In the past, I’ve participated in a competition which took place in São Domingos das Dores and was promoted by EMATER which is governmental organisations who provide courses in agriculture. I managed to win a second place at the regional level Ipatinga.
Thanks to that, I’ve become more interested in fermented coffees and for this year embarked on this new experience. At the beginning, I only thought about using those experiments for our family consumption. However, I’ve become more interested in the process along with my daughter. I decided to prepare an extra amount and so we improvised a hanging field with a barrel, canvas and shade cloth. Even though I have the lowest possible expenditure I hope I can serve this market well in the future.