THE PILGRIM - Espresso Blend
Located in the town of Pitalito in Huila, Colombia, El Mirador is a 32-hectare farm with 30 hectares of coffee. The farm includes a broad collection of varieties like Catiope, Mokka, Tabi, and Gesha, as well as three different Bourbon strains including Orange, Striped, and Pink Bourbon. Caturra is a core variety for the farm as well, making it a staple for volume lots.Score: 87.5
Nov 22 - Jan 23
Berry, Vanilla, Malt, Spicy, Red Fruit
Elkin Guzman, the owner of El Mirador, has been surrounded by coffee since he was born. His family has always been involved in coffee cultivation, trading, or retail. Collectively, his family has celebrated over 70 years in coffee now, with 12 years of research devoted to post-harvest processing techniques. All of this research and experience has brought Elkin to utilise multiple processing techniques depending on the individual lot of coffee, including Coffee Maceration, Lactic and Acetic Natural processes, and Natural Hydro Honey.
Harvest and post-harvest procedures are highly standardised for consistency and quality. First, the sugar content of the coffee cherries is measured in degrees Brix, followed by density and volumetric separation. Finally, the decision is made on which processing method is best suited to bring each lot to its fullest potential. The processing methods used by Elkin embody his pioneering spirit, combining different approaches to fermentation and drying techniques to complement each coffee’s inherent characteristics.
In the case of this lot of Tabi coffee, the team at El Mirador chose Lactic Natural processing. Tabi is a coffee cultivar that was released by Cenicafé in 2002. It was developed by crossing Bourbon, Typica, and Timor coffees, and offers the positive cup characteristics of Bourbon and Typica while having greater resistance to la roya coffee leaf rust. To promote lactic fermentation, producers create an ideal environment for the growth of lactobacillus cultures, the same bacteria used in dairy production responsible for the creation of lactic acids. They do this by placing highly sugary coffee cherries in an anaerobic (without oxygen) tank and leaving them to ferment.
They carefully control the process, checking pH levels, temperature, and oxygen levels to find the perfect conditions for lactobacillus to flourish and dominate the fermentation / This form of fermentation is classified as ’anaerobic,’ as oxygen has minimal interaction with the cherry and there is no agitation. The coffee cherries are placed in sealed tanks after being hand-sorted upon arriving at the wet mill. The elimination of oxygen in this phase favours a greater concentration of lactic acid bacteria (and therefore of lactic acid) following the fermentation of the carbohydrates of the mucilage, which in turn contributes to the organoleptic profile of the resulting cup.
The coffee cherries that will be processed with the lactic-fermentation method usually enter our wet mill with high Brix degree and pH readings, as these conditions will help the fermentation process to overcome the minimum time of 80 hours necessary for any lactic process. / Lactic processes usually increase the perception of the body in the brewed cup profile. For this reason, the lactic process is most often utilised on coffee cherries from high-altitude farms; these cherries usually contain more mucilage, which helps balance the flavour profile of the resulting coffee.