Tasting Notes: Chocolate, toffee, plum
Process: Sugar Cane Decaf
Monte Bonito is a small, traditional town that borders the slopes of Cerro Bravo and has a population of less than a thousand. The town has a tumultuous history, being heavily affected by the civil war and was taken over three times by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC). Most of the coffee growers in the region are very small, with one to three hectares and 89 associates in the Manizales Cooperative. They’re fully responsible for the full management of the farms, picking the coffee themselves and asking for help from their neighbours when needed.
During the harvest, the coffee is picked, depulped and left to ferment for 16 to 18 hours. The next day the coffee is washed and ready for drying. It’s then delivered to the Manizales Cooperative collection point in town to be assessed, separated and transported to the cooperative warehouses to start the decaf process.
During the sugar cane decaf process, the coffee undergoes steaming at low pressures to remove the silver skins before being moistened with hot water to allow the beans to swell and soften. This process prepares the coffee for the hydrolysis of caffeine, which is attached to the salts of the chlorogenic acid within the coffee. The extractors (naturally obtained from the fermentation of sugar cane and not from chemical synthesis) are then filled with moistened coffee and washed several times with the natural ethyl acetate solvent to reduce the caffeine to the correct levels. Once this process is complete, the remaining ethyl acetate is cleaned from the coffee using a low-pressure saturated steam flow. From here, the coffee is sent to vacuum drying drums, where the water previously used to moisten the beans are removed, and the coffee is partially dried. The beans are cooled quickly to ambient temperature using fans, and carnauba wax is applied to polish and protect the coffee from environmental factors. Finally, the coffee is packed into 35kg bags, ready for export.