Roaster’s Tasting Notes
Sugarcane, White Peach, Riesling Grape, Granny Smith's, Piquant
We welcome back Ricardo Canal’s La Lomita to the Amoret line-up for this season.
We were introduced to Ricardo and his delicious coffee through London roasting guru Edgaras Juska, and we got to know each other really well over the course of a few sessions cupping and talking about coffee farming. Ricardo's infectious enthusiasm for the work being put into growing specialty coffee on his family estate in the Colombian Andes soon won us over, and so La Lomita became our first-ever directly traded coffee, establishing itself as an Amoret customer favourite for its clean and refreshing profile with black tea, sugarcane and apple-like flavours in good balance.
For this season, we will be offering La Lomita as both filter and espresso. In filter, we note the signature La Lomita sugarcane and green apple flavours present as usual, enhanced by further flavours including white peach and riesling grape, making this a delicate, refreshing brew. As espresso, the coffee extracts beautifully and makes a fine third-wave style flat white filled with toffees, but our preference is to enjoy this as straight espresso - a perfect summer afternoon pick me up.
Ricardo ends up spending half the year at La Lomita, constantly working on improving its processes to ensure enhancements in yield and cup quality. He firmly believes that this should always be achieved in a sustainable way. La Lomita is family run business with more than 35 years of coffee farming experience. The farm employs three permanent workers whose salaries are 38% over the Colombian minimum wage. Their pickers, who also work on adjoining farms, are remunerated based on quality - not quantity - and receive up to 50% over the standard market rate per kilogram. La Lomita's mission statement has a policy of zero usage of pesticides, fungicides and herbicides - which is impressive as it needs to be constantly vigilant against attacks from the dreaded coffee borer beetle - a real threat in these coffee growing parts. The farm dedicates up to 40% of its land as forest reserve and a sanctuary for local fauna.
Given the steepness of the terrain at La Lomita, controlling and reversing soil erosion becomes one of the major challenges facing Ricardo. Therefore, the farm sets itself the task of enhancing its soil with the addition of Bio-char compost – a mixture of organic waste and charcoal produced from the trunks of old trees that have died naturally. This compost improves the biology of the soil and enhances its nutrient content and water retention, reducing the effects of erosion and dependency on chemical fertilizers. In addition to the benefits for the soil, the carbon content in the charcoal is believed to remain sequestered in the ground as opposed to being released to the atmosphere where it would have contributed to the greenhouse effect.
In common with other coffee growing parts of Colombia and countries such as Kenya, La Lomita is able to deliver two harvests a year. The main harvest takes place between April and June, with a fly crop becoming available between October and December (40% of total).
It goes without saying that the difficulties and extra costs required to maintain these practices are only possible when farms have access to the prices of the specialty markets, which is why we are so happy to provide a bridge between Ricardo’s farm and our customers. For this specialty lot, we paid Ricardo a price of £6/kg of green coffee landed (current reference comparison for “C” Market deliverable quality Arabica is £1.85/kg)