Rubén Darío Ramírez Giraldo, his wife Griselda and their two-year-old son Gerónimo, live and produce coffee in the municipality of Filandia, Quindío, in the vereda of El Paraíso, at Finca La Samaria. Originally from the neighboring municipality of Quimbaya, Don Rubén and Doña Griselda come from coffee-producing families. They have six hectares of coffee planted, with 10,000 Castillo variety trees, as well as a small Tabi lot. Two months ago, during a trip to the department of Cauca, Rubén saw the potential in the Tabi variety, known for its superior cup profile, and decided to try his hand at focusing his farm’s production on this variety in the future.
Over the last nine years, Finca La Samaria has been focused on practicing sustainable agriculture. They nourish their trees with organic fertilizers, they never fumigate, and they utilize a system of aggressive pruning to maximize each tree’s yield. Alongside the coffee, Don Rubén and his family grow several crops such as plantain, yucca, several kinds of fruit and legumes. These fruiting trees provide shade and attract pollinators.
“Here there is enough for everyone. The birds, the squirrels, the lizards, the butterflies—we need them all”, Rubén Darío told us last time we spoke. Don Rubén utilizes the help of the fragrant Night-blooming jasmine tree—known in Spanish as Caballero de la Noche or Gentleman of the Night—because of its powerful aroma that increases during the night, as its name suggests, and has the added effect of naturally repelling coffee borer beetle.
Over time, the Ramirez Giraldo family has steadily been bettering their processes. “When I first started, I kept damaging the coffee”, recalls Don Darío, but with careful attention to detail and great effort, his post-collection processing began to improve, the proof is evident in each cup of coffee.
The coffee in this micro-lot was processed over three days. The cherries were carefully hand-selected during the afternoon, and before de-pulping they were left to ferment for 24 hours. They were then put through a de-mucilager, which is a machine that peels the cherry but leaves the bean and its surrounding mucilage intact. The beans were further fermented from the second night to the third morning, when they were finally put out to dry. Depending on the rain, the coffee was dried on open-air patios for eight to ten days.