Finca El Paraiso from Ernedis Rodriguez is a beautiful farm about 12km East of the town of Gigante in Huila. The farm is perched exactly at the rim of a mountain with most of the fields facing west across the beautiful Magdalena river valley. The farm consists of a total of 14 hectares, of which 7 Ha. are part of a Natural Reserve. The other 7 Ha of coffee area, 18.000 Caturra trees and 14.000 Castillo trees. One of the most remarkable aspects is that Ernedis treats the farm as a company. Naming it “the company” during conversation as well as maintaining a very well kept coffee area. Coffee farming is often a family business and with Ernedis that’s not different. He gets a lot of support from his wife and children. The family is included in the operations and his both daughters have been growing towards jobs (Quality Grader and Business Administration) within the local coffee sector.
His best quality is 100% Caturra, but also the Castillo lots are scoring excellent. The coffee is processed at approx. 1804 m.a.s.l. in small solar dryers and sold as seperate varieties. In the next few years his volume of Caturra is expected to increase with about 5000 trees. All the small trees (see photos) will reach maturation and improve his position to finance the daily operations of the farm.
Ernedis Rodriguez is one of our favourite farmers in Colombia. He’s young, extremely motivated to produce a great coffee and easy to communicate with. We always come up with crazy ideas for experiments with different types of processing, like extended fermentations in different ways (aerobic, anaerobic, partially in cherry etc.) He’s always interested in working with our ideas and executes them in the best way possible.
In the 2020 season he is preparing to invest in a “Lavador”, an Eco-pulper that uses a minimum amount of water to take of the pulp from the parchment. We see excellent results with these machines that use friction to remove pulp. Remarkable; Ernedis is one of the few farmers we see that recycles his coffee pulp correctly. Making sure the pulp is captured in a basin/pool without direct contact with the soil and using tecniques to dry out and compost the organic matter.
The Coffee Quest Colombia buys all the coffee from his 7 ha farm. The Caturra & Castillo, but soon also several exotic varieties (Bourbon Cidra, Javanica, Typica Mejorado) that we have helped him acquire. You had a chance to meet Ernedis at the World of Coffee in Amsterdam 2018, when we invited him to join as part of the celebration for starting the Medellín Mill. Off course this is in large part thanks to to coffee farmers like Ernedis. During the fair his Caturra lot was chosen the Best Roasted Coffee (not forgetting the roaster off course)!
The coffee of Ernedis can be described as extremely sweet and with excellent balance between flavours. Some lots have some fruitiness, but mostly it has a sweetness of honey or sugar molasses. The lots we’ve bought from him are Washed, but with extended fermentations to up to 72 hours. He dries all coffee in a shaded greenhouse on the rim of the mountain guaranteeing good ventilation across the drying beds. Ernedis’ main harvest is from May through early July. The mid-harvest in his region runs roughly from mid-October to mid-December. He has the ability to produce roughly 175 bags of exportable coffee.
Ernedis has been producing coffee his entire life and the hard work and effort that he puts into producing his coffees is evident not only in cup quality, but also in the physical quality of the beans. In addition, while many other producers in the region (we had the opportunity to cup other coffees from nearby farms) were lacking in cup-quality during this harvest due to the dry climate, Ernedis’ coffee stood out.