cherry, malt, pluot
farm: el progreso
producer: rodrigo sanchez valencia
process: double fermentation washed
elevation: 1650 masl
harvest: november - january
importer: ally coffee
Finca El Progreso is located in Vereda El Caramelo, Palestina municipality outside of the city of Pitalito. The farm belongs to Rodrigo Sanchez Valencia and Claudia Samboni and grows Gesha, Bourbon, and Caturra trees amongst other varieties between 1580-1700 meters above sea level. The property has been a coffee farm for 80 years, starting with eight hectares planted with coffee and growing to its current 22 hectares.
The property is special because it is where the Sanchez Valencia family was born and raised. Rodrigo, Claudia, and their team focus on producing both quality and quantity. By following a systematic plan for fertilizations, variety selection, pest and plague control, harvesting, and processing, they and their team are able to produce both consistent quality and overall high volumes per hectare.
All cherries harvested are measured for degrees Brix. Based on sugar content indicated, the team at Aromas del Sur, the umbrella group of Monteblanco, Progreso, and La Loma farms, then designates which processing method is appropriate.
While the farm runs successfully as a business, the land holds special meaning as family legacy. These are the connections to people and place Rodrigo and his family share when they offer their coffee.
Cherries destined for Double Fermentation Processing are harvested at 22 degrees Brix, a measurement used to indicate sugar content. Cherries ferment for 36 hours in the tank and are then pulped and left to ferment an additional 44 hours before being washed and transferred to shaded beds to dry for 28 days.
The goal of Double Fermentation is to bring out the sweetness and complexity of the coffee. As long as the cherries do not exceed 23 degrees Brix to begin with, the first fermentation phase of the Double Fermentation process can increase Brix readings by as much as 4 degrees Brix, provided that the pH does not drop below 5 and disrupt the equilibrium between body and acidity.
Harvesting and processing on El Progreso have had to evolve with the times, adapting to a changing climate that yields harvest dispersed through ten months of the year rather than in a concentrated peak. Coffees from El Progreso are milled and prepared for export at the new, state of the art Aromas del Sur dry mill in Pitalito.
The Colombian Department of Huila is located in the southern portion of the country where the Central and Eastern ranges of the Andes mountains converge. Huila’s capitol city of Neiva is dry, flat, and desert-like, markedly different from the coffee regions further south.
Centered around the city of Pitalito, Huila’s coffee farms are predominately smallholder owned and over the past ten years have made consorted efforts to produce specialty coffee that reveals the full character of the region’s terroir. Selective manual harvesting, attentive processing, and careful post-harvest sorting all contribute to increasing recognition of the region.
Huila’s Departmental coffee committee, the local connection to the national Colombian Coffee Growers Federation, has invested notable resources into training producers in everything from fertilization to roasting. This, combined with producer enthusiasm, has created a regional culture of quality-focused production.
Huila holds important historic significance dating back to pre-Columbian cultures. The archeological site at San Augustin includes a large number of stone carvings, figures, and artifacts that offer a rare glimpse into the land’s past prior to colonialism.