The issue of drying coffee has been a particular source of concern for many years and while progress has been made, new techniques are being introduced constantly. Castillo: the varietal and the controversy, has been an integral part of what I, perhaps bluntly, refer to as the New Colombia emerging in the last half-decade or so, bringing the world’s second biggest (after Brazil) provider of Arabica back on track.
Not coincidently, maybe even symptomatically of the Castillo-and-Volume-focus, there is a new generation of coffee people in the country coming forward: farmers who, as well as a whole community of coffee professionals, evidently want to reach a growing specialty market outside the county’s borders. Just as much as this is a story of new trends in an old coffee country, it is also a story about a better-connected world and the empowerment of coffee farming people.
E-mail and social media apps are now on everybody’s smartphones, including the ones many coffee farmers carry with them in their pockets. This means that farmers are able to be in touch with the ‘market place’, and can be in direct contact with their (green) coffee buyers. The world has opened up, connecting both ends of the chain – along with everybody in-between. Your favorite suppliers are now bombarding their Instagram accounts with photos of the new crop and new developments at his beneficio. New times.
Farmers are realizing that they will not get the best possible prices for their Castillo coffee, so they are seeking out ways to ‘build value’ into it. With this, they are reaching out to the marketplace with an altogether different product. The rhetoric is out there and invested people are talking about: “Enhancing the Quality”; “Adjusting the Flavor Profile”; “Changing the Cup Character”; “Making it sweeter”.
At the same time green coffee buyers continue to travel, people interact, trends move. Before you know it, an Australian buyer has met a farmer and talked about his preference for sweetness and body, while a Russian buyer may have met and talked to a middleman and voiced his curiosity for fruity flavors (that he just tasted in a ‘new wave natural’ from El Salvador). This while a Japanese buyer may be keen to get hold of a little something that is made ‘only for him’: an experiment with fermentation-time, hopefully making the coffee a little more juicy than the other (Castillo) lots.
Read the whole article by CCS’ Robert W here.
At LCDC this topic will be covered extensively with Carlos Arévalo’s presentation about “The New Wave of experimental processing techniques in Colombia”, Cupping and Discussions facilitated by Oliver Strand