In the June, Roaster's Choice Coffee Box subscribers will be trying the naturally processed, 'El Encanto' from a young producer who is pioneering specialty grade coffee in Colombia's Antioquia region.
- Lot — #4 El Encanto
- Producer — Juan Sal
- Region — Bolivar, Antioquia, Colombia
- Process — Natural
- Varietal — Castillo
- Altitude — 1400 - 1800 mall
Juan Saldarriaga is a young and innovative coffee producer with two farms south-west of Medellin in Colombia’s Antioquia department. Juan’s family farms cover approximately 60 hectares and he also processes coffee for young local farmers as well as overseeing operations at a few of their farms himself.
Juan studied history, politics and philosophy in Germany and during this time observed the evolving tastes of specialty coffee drinkers in Europe. The growing appetite for quality and provenance focussed coffee was creating opportunities for farmers around the world and Juan suggested experimenting outside of the traditional methods on his family’s 2 farms, El Encanto and La Claudina. His father proposed that Juan return to Colombia and manage the farms himself and so in 2012 he took over production. Since then Juan has become renowned in the area for not only proving the inherent quality potential of the Antioquia region but for spearheading innovation too.
This coffee is naturally processed, meaning the seed was left to dry in its fruit but with a cold drier developed by Juan to control fermentation. This method maintains an ultimately clean and bright cup profile but develops creamy fruit notes too.
Antioquia: Colombia's Most Specialty Region You've Never Heard Of
Coffee and Colombia are synonymous. While some of the origins we feature in Roaster’s Choice are relatively new at coffee production, and even sometimes are new countries, Colombia is one of the established powerhouses of world coffee. Years and years of being among the world’s largest exporters means the whole way of life in Colombia has evolved around the coffees they grow. This has obvious benefits such as the centralised government support systems that farmers can access but also means traditional models of trade, which are historically tied to commodity coffee, can be difficult to break from.
While Colombia as a country is a well-known coffee origin we like that it’s still possible to find new and unique things to bring to the UK. We’ve focused on a processing method (natural) which is uncommon in Colombia and the relatively lesser known region of Antioquia.
Antioquia is the largest department in Colombia and has all of the natural resources to create the quality associated with more decorated regions such as Huila, Tolima and Narino. It’s only in the last 5 years however that Antioquia has garnered the spotlight for producing showstopper coffees.
Antioquia has thankfully been able to free itself from decades of narco and guerrilla terror but is still left to deal with the effects. During the early 2000’s nation-wide quality initiatives were being carried out to help farmers produce high scoring coffees in Colombia but it was too unsafe for these to take place in Antioquia. Now, however, a new generation of farmers are reconnecting with the land and with idyllic growing conditions, and an openness for innovation, are creating some of the most exciting coffees anywhere in Colombia and, in fact, the world.