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La Linda, Risaralda
Castillo Rosario, Colombia, Cenicafe 1
Finca El Danubio
Luis Alejandro Sánchez
90 Hour Extended Fermentation
Fans of Caravan will recognize the name of the region where this coffee was grown, as it is where many of our longest and strongest relationships are based: Risaralda, a small, C-shaped department in the north central region of Colombia. The department constitutes one third of the famous ‘Coffee Triangle’ (together with Quindío and Caldas) where the history and culture of coffee growing has deep roots. Like most of Colombia, the region is full of what we call ‘microclimates’; places where individual valleys, or even sides of mountains, have such unique terroir that they can be attributed to producing distinct flavours in the cup.
Finca El Danubio is a five hectare farm owned and operated by Luis Alejandro Sánchez near the town of La Linda. Mr. Sánchez is a second generation coffee farmer whose father, Jesús María Sánchez, taught him a love of farming as well as how to raise and nurture a variety of different crops, including coffee. The family talent is evident in how carefully this lot was processed, using a style called, quite simply, ‘extended fermentation’. While this nomenclature oversimplifies its complexity, in a nutshell, the process involves lengthening the time a coffee spends in the fermentation phase of processing.
During fermentation, similar to wine making, natural enzymes and microbes assist in breaking down the sugars and proteins of the coffee’s fruity mucilage – in this case, so it can be washed from the bean before drying. Longer fermentation times can be extremely risky – go too long, and your coffee is quite literally becoming alcoholic, a no-go for coffee buyers as the finished coffee tastes rancid. Done well, and the microbiome works in your favour – elevating the fruit and floral notes in the cup, increasing quality and therefore price. This lot was left to ferment for 90 hours, quadruple the average time. The careful observation, data collection, and exact timing needed to achieve success in this method is a testament to Mr. Sánchez’s abilities, and is just one great example of the skill level in the Risaralda community.
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Well balanced acidity with a creamy texture, we find that the El Danubio tastes great at a standard recipe of 1 part coffee to 2 parts water. A good starting point is 18g of coffee to 36-38g of liquid espresso, pulled over 28-32 seconds.