Episode 418 on Monday the 14th of November, 2016. Colombia Finca La Chorrera Washed Caturra.

This is our fourth year of working with this farm, but the first year's lot was so tiny it never made it onto the website and was sold as an exclusive to one of our lucky wholesale partners. Luckily ever since then we've been able to focus a little bit more on the farm: we cupped a lot more pickings and found a little more coffee.

Finca La Chorrera is located near to the city of Pitalito, in the south of the Huila department. It's in the valley of the Rio Grande de la Magdalena, known as "The Valley of Laboyos", which is 180 KM from Nieva – the capital of Huila. Pitalito is also the second largest city of the department of Huila, at approximately 125,000 inhabitants, and is considered one of the largest coffee producers in Colombia.

This farm is located on top of a mountain at 1,735 metres above sea level. The farm contains 70% Caturra (25,000 plants; this lot comes from them), 20% Colombia F6 (7,000 plants) and 10% Castillo (2,000 plants). The farm consists of eight hectares, six of which are planted with coffee. The other two hectares house the mill and inaccessible mountainous areas. The family house, which is also used for drying, is at the bottom of the hill at around 1,400 metres above sea level.

I took some amazing pictures on my trip in 2013 so take a look here, and I took some more on my trip in 2014 – find them here!

The farm is owned and run by the Claros family: Pedro, his wife Nelcy and their six children (Alberio, Edilson, Sandra, Hermes, Diana, and Monica). It's a real family business with everyone pitching into the farm to make it work.

Carlos sent us every day's pickings to cup and we bought everything that scored over 86 points on the cupping table; anything below 86 was sold for commodity. This meant we had to pay a premium for the coffee, but I think it's definitely worth it.

The drying patio was one of the most amazing things I’ve seen, with a greenhouse built on top of the house so that the coffee could be kept turning regularly but also to make sure no one steals it. The latter is not so much of a problem this year with market prices being low, but it was a real problem over the last three years. Of course, Pedro doesn't have to worry about market prices; he always get a premium because he consistently gives quality, but black market coffee goes to the highest market bidder.

In the cup this begins with a white sugar sweetness followed by a complex turn into the land of sweet vanilla marshmallow! There's even more complexity in the form of a white grape and green apple acidity, and a finish that's long and strong.

  • Country: Colombia
  • Department: Huila
  • Nearest town: Pitalito
  • Farm: Finca La Chorrera
  • Owners: Claros family
  • Altitude: 1,735 m.a.s.l.
  • Farm size: 8 hectares (6 of coffee)
  • Varietal: Caturra
  • Processing: Washed
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