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La Cabra

Russilandia, Colombia

Russilandia, Colombia

Regular price $30.00
Regular price Sale price $30.00
Sale Sold out

Roast Date: May 22, 2024


An oxygen-free fermentation reveals a wild character; our second time purchasing this lot by Heyler Guerra in the Tolima region.

Coffee Expression An oxygen-free fermentation reveals a wild character; our second time purchasing this lot by Heyler Guerra in the Tolima region.

Producer This is the third time we have purchased coffee from Heyler Guerra, and his farm in the Tolima region.

This is the third time we have worked with Heyler Guerra and his project Russilandia, just outside Villarrica, in the Tolima region. This relationship has again been facilitated by our friends at the LaREB collective, our long term collaborators in Colombia. Heyler has been working with LaREB since 2019, having initially met after some of his lots were rejected by a large exporter due to their ferment character.

Heyler has owned Finca Russilandia for many years, having purchased it from the original owner, a descendant of Italian immigrants with the surname Russi, hence the name of the farm. The farm is located at 1550 masl in the Southern Tolima region, not far from the border with Cundinamarca, and only a 5 hour drive from Bogotá. This lower altitude means a greater risk of pests, and good conditions for the fungi that cause leaf rust, so Heyller mainly grows the resistant Castillo varietal, a newer robusta hybrid than Variedad Colombia, released by the Colombian coffee research institute CENICAFE in 2005.

Previously, he worked as a salesman for high quality saddles in the equestrian market, so has a good idea of what it takes to create and market a differentiated product. This led him to his style of fermentation, with a wild fruit character and a degree of umami brought on by long drying times and pre-fermentations. However, this style of fermentation was not for everyone, so his lots were often rejected by larger exporters.

This lot of Castillo is processed using a very controlled natural method. Cherries are sealed in plastic tanks and fermented without oxygen for 72 hours, slowing the fermentation, especially the production of acetic acid, meaning that the pH isn’t lowered so quickly. This fermentation also breaks down much of the mucilage. Heyler then adds water to the tanks to further slow the fermentation, sometimes waiting up to 24 hours for dry, hot conditions for an optimal initial drying phase. This additional water equalises the moisture content, and penetrates the cherry, almost ‘washing’ the mucilage from the inside.

This means that much of the sugar is already removed before drying, leading to a very controlled fermentation with no acetic taints in the cup. The cherries are then moved to raised beds to dry for 14 days. The character unveiled is deep and rich, with notes of tropical fruit, while being kept fresh by an unusual plum wine acidity.

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