This beautifully story written by Carolina of Colombia Coffee Hunter
Don Reinaldo came into our lives when we needed to roast some coffee samples for our startup coffee exporting company. Someone recommended him to us, and we made our first visit to his farm in December 2020. During that visit, we witnessed all the processes he had implemented, from the coffee harvesting to the drying, and even his homemade coffee roasting method using a pot and a stove. We were impressed by Don Reinaldo's commitment to his farm and coffee. His passion for coffee was evident, and his dedication to producing the best possible quality was inspiring.
Pic 1. Young and passionate specialty coffee producer Reinaldo Zapata
Pic 2. At his golden age, Reinaldo’s father can’t separate from his farm.
Despite his efforts, however, the coffee he produced only scored 83 points. We were surprised by this because his processing methods were impeccable, and the soil and plant health were perfect. Upon further investigation, we realized that the microclimate around his farm, with its hot and strong wind currents, was the main reason why his coffee wasn't developing the complexity we were looking for in the cup.
Pic 3. Weather is the hardest challenge for specialty coffee producers.
Pic 4. A challenge is an opportunity, and Don Reinaldo always seeks to improve the coffee quality.
In August 2021, before the harvest season, Don Reinaldo called us and expressed his willingness to learn and do whatever it takes to increase the quality of his coffee. He offered to give us the entire Barbarita lot to work with for our company, Colombian Coffee Hunter. We immediately developed a fermentation protocol for an experimental small batch to test natural and honey processes. The weather was unfavorable during this time, and the coffee took longer to dry than expected. We were afraid it might have gone bad. But when we tasted it, the results were incredible - it scored 86 SCA points.
Pic 5. Barbarita lot prepared and processed, followed by processing formula by CCH
Pic 6. Natural processes showcase better Don Reinaldo coffee quality.
We decided to use this protocol for the entire lot, and the best way to highlight the coffee's unique flavor profile was through the natural process. In 2021, we purchased the entire lot, paying a 35% premium.
Pic 7. Barbarita lot dried on a rasied bed for 20–30 days.
Pic 8. Drying house to protect coffee from strong wind.
We had recommended that Don Reinaldo build a marquee with a higher capacity and greater comfort to ensure optimal drying conditions. With the money he received from the sale of the lot, he built the marquee, and we used it to dry his coffee for the 2022 harvest season. Don Reinaldo has small coffee productions and only one harvest season from October to December each year. So, we are always on the lookout for those happy days to get our hands on his famous coffee.
Pic 9. Tier racks are used to control drying rates.
Pic 10. Reinaldo is happily waiting for dried cherries to reach their mature resting period before hulling.
Don Reinaldo's passion for coffee was the driving force behind his dedication to producing quality coffee. His willingness to learn and adapt to new techniques to improve his coffee's quality was inspiring. We were privileged to work with him and witness the evolution of his coffee. As we continue to work with coffee producers like Don Reinaldo, we realize that the increase in coffee quality is proportional to the passion and dedication to the craft.
Pic 11. Reinaldo’s father enjoying life after work.
Pic 12. Ethically sourced coffee through a partnership with Colombia Coffee Hunter and Don Reinaldo.