This micro-lot was produced by Luis Ernesto and Cenaida Nieto on their 6-hectare farm, Los Aquacates (meaning “the avocados” in Spanish), located near the small community of China Alta, in the municipality of Ibagué, in Colombia’s Tolima state.
Luis Ernesto is a third-generation coffee grower. His father, Don Ernesto Sr., purchased Los Aquacates in 2002, eventually gifting it to his son. Luis Ernesto now manages the farm with his wife, Cenaida, and their oldest son Jaider.
Historically the area of China Alta has been known for cattle, sugarcane and trout, which are farmed in pools along the river. Coffee is a relatively new crop for the region, having only been planted in the last 30-40 years. Most coffee farmers purchased land in the area because it was more affordable than traditional coffee farming areas like Planadas and Chaparral, in Tolima’s south. However, this region has since gained acclaim for the high cup quality, sweetness and complexity of the coffees produced here.
This lot was selectively hand-harvested, with most labour being provided by Luis Ernesto and his family.
The cherry was then processed using the washed method at Los Aquacate’s ‘micro-benficio’ (wet mill). The coffee was hand pulped and then placed into a fermentation tank. Because of the cooler climate in China Alta, producers like Luis Ernesto tend to ferment the coffees for longer than usual and will often blend several days’ worth of pickings over a 2-3 day period. This extended fermentation process contributes to a vibrant, winey acidity in the coffee’s cup profile.
Following fermentation, the coffee was washed using clean water from the Rio La China and then carefully dried (over 10–18 days) on raised beds in a greenhouse.