Luis Eduardo Ramirez walks through his coffee trees, machete in hand, cutting back weeds and anything affecting the healthy growth of the cherries. With over 50 years of coffee-farming experience behind him, Don Luis Eduardo was at first hesitant to accept the innovations his son Barner began suggesting they incorporate into their processing system at their family’s finca Buenos Aires. Don Luis Eduardo bought this land 17 years ago and invested everything he had into it.
It goes without saying that Barner is much younger than his father. Don Luis Eduardo is of a slighter build than his barrel-chested son but both have kind, smiling eyes. One day Barner proposed they try out some different kinds of post-harvest processing, specifically a method called Honey—a very different process than the traditional ones used throughout Colombia, and his father agreed to take a chance and experiment. They would go on to win a national barista championship in 2015 with their Black Honey and have continued to work on this method where the skin and pulp are removed but some or all of mucilage remains.
To process this coffee, the cherries were left on the tree for longer than usual therefore ripening much more than what is customarily allowed. Once they reached the peak level of maturation, they were hand-selected and de-pulped before noon in order to be put out to dry directly in the afternoon sun.
As aforementioned, the coffee bean that undergoes the Honey process keeps its mucilage, a thin layer of film that covers it, separating it from the pulp and the parchment layers. By putting the beans out to dry immediately after the de-pulping, the sweetness found in the mucilage is transferred to the bean. The result is a coffee with a milder acidity, more realized fruit profiles and a bean that is sticky like honey rather than dry to the touch. Due to the climatic conditions at finca Buenos Aires, the beans are dried for a period of 35 days and are carefully monitored to assure the highest quality possible. All this hard work and patience yields a unique and delicate cup of coffee.
We are kicking off the year with this Special Edition—the literal fruits of labor, dedication and innovation of the Ramirez family.