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Cyclops - Guatemala La Joya

Cyclops - Guatemala La Joya

Pineapple Yeast Anaerobic Honey
We taste: Oolong + tangerine + vanilla wafer + caramel
Light roast whole bean coffee
Regular price $21.50 USD
Regular price Sale price $21.50 USD
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Lot: LJ-12023

Producer: David Solano

Farm: Concepcion Buena Vista

Mill: La Joya

Bag Size: 70 Kg Grainpro

Region: San Martín Jilotepeque, Chimaltenango

Altitude: 1,800 MSAL

Variety: Red Bourbon

Process: Anaerobic Maceration Honey (Inoculated with Pineapple Yeast)

Yeast Fermentation Time: 75 - 90 Hours with Cherry

Drying Time: 10 - 12 Days in Greenhouse | Finished 12 - 25 Days on raised beds in direct sunlight

About the farm

Concepción Buena Vista and Finca La Joya are located at 1,800 MSAL surrounded by mountains and forest in San Martín Jilotepeque, Chimaltenango, Guatemala. Spanning over 4 generations and almost for 150 years, the Solano family has been dedicated to improving the quality of life for their local community. The farm is located in a small community called El Sapito where they have built over the years a small Church, a school, and a health clinic where people from El Sapito and close communities nearby can access health clinics, medicine and treatments whenever needed. Brothers David and Eddy Solano are the 4th generation coffee producers working on their family farm Concepción Buena Vista. Both of them are coffee experimental enthuisasts and professionals. David is a mechanical engineer; 3 time back to back National Barista Champion and is in charge of the operations at La Joya. Eddy is an engineer in science administration, he specializes in logistics and exports for the farm and is the financial manager at La Joya.

Interview of David Solano by La Baia Coffee

When was the moment in your life that you discovered your love for coffee and decided to explore becoming a coffee producer?

My family has been involved in coffee farming for 4 generations, and the passion and love toward coffee has been transferred from generation to generation creating a tighter bond with each step. My great grandfather moved to the land and got started in farming coffee, beans, and corn production mainly for personal living consumption for his family. My grandfather started expanding the land and coffee plantation, but my dad, Bernardo Solano, decided to shift the his focus primarily on growing coffee and expanding the plantation by getting rid of the bean and the corn production. He studied Agronomical engineering and started to quantify and increase production volume and quality. He focused only on farming, which means that he would only pick the red cherries and then sell them to other mills and export companies that had no connection to coffee roasters or coffee drinking consumers outside of the country. My brother Eddy and I, being part of the 4th generation of the farm, we decided to go a step further. We made the decision and commitment to open up the processing techniques at the farm by doing natural, honey and our special maceration lots from the EL SAPITO PROJECT that really opened up the possibilities and reached new horizons by exposing and detecting new flavor profiles and textures from our traditional varietals that we had never tasted in the coffees from our farm. The moment when I decided to commit my life to working on the farm was when I tried for the first time our first natural process with cherries from our farm. Back in 2017, I decided to take 200 pounds of red cherries and do our first natural lots “just for fun” but the result was something really outstanding for me. It was so complex, fruity, sweet, aromatic and that really opened my mind into a whole new level of possibilities. That was the moment I really fell in love with coffee.

What inspired you to produce experimental processed coffees in general and why?

Once I tried producing our first Natural process from our farm, a big interest came to me about how we can improve our offers from our farm without reducing production for other coffee lots and start producing exotic varietals. We needed to take advantage of the varietals that where already planted in our farm, so we needed to think outside the box. Back in 2017, I was invited to be a judge in the National Barista Championship. I didn’t know anything about barista competitions, but I was really amazed with the passion and creativity from many of the baristas, so I set up a personal goal to compete the following year. I started investigating and searching for videos of WBC Champions and I discovered a Sasa Sestic presentation about Carbonic Maceration. That really got my attention so I started studying that technique and decided to try it, but with a small twist. Instead of CO2, I decided to use Nitrogen because it’s a pure gas that doesn’t affect flavors, color, or aroma in the coffee and mainly because it has greater thermal stability than CO2. It also allowed me to extend the maceration time a little bit longer and the pH degradation was much slower, increasing aroma, sweetness and a much cleaner acidity.

What inspired or motivated you to take it another level higher and produce this pineapple yeast experimental lot?

This specific lot of anaerobic with pineapple yeast, it's the first time developing at our farm. It’s the first time that we have our microbiology lab at the farm, and our goal is to create a more consistent maceration lot and create replicability between batches, we believe in order to change the name of “experimental” to “maceration” or “pineapple yeast anaerobic” name, we need to be consistent and create a stable and replicable protocol to achieve it. We started to investigate the different ways to ferment coffee, those options are oxidation, fermentation by bacterias or fermentation by yeast, so that opened up our experimentation rabbit hole. We tried natural yeast of peach, apples, kiwi and pineapple and the pineapple yeast was the one that yielded the best result.

Once the coffee is ready for harvest, what are the next steps for post harvest production & processing?

We selected the La Joya red Bourbon trees because they have a very dense natural tree shade. It’s mainly a flat topography giving a less erosion on the ground and as a result, it’s one of the best Bourbon lots on our farm. Alike to the natural process version of this coffee, the cherries were selected at a brix reading of 24%. Once the cherries arrive to the wet mill, they are submerged in clean water to wash out any possible dirt or contamination that could affect the development of bacteria inside the fermentation tanks. The maceration tanks prior to filling were sterilized by filling up the tank with Ozone water for 30 minutes. Then this water was flushed out and filled again with water that passed through a UV light cartridge it is completely clean and free of any potential contaminants prior to adding the mossto and coffee.

Once all the cherries are clean and classified by density, we place them inside a food grade fermentation tanks that can hold up to 2,500-2,600 pounds of cherries. We use food grade tanks in order to keep the tanks as clean as possible so we don’t risk cross contamination from batch to batch. The tanks are equipped with a pressure valve, a relief valve, pH meter and temperature meter. The interesting aspect about this coffee is that is easily misunderstood that this coffee was fermented using whole pineapple chunks or the actual pineapple fruit in the coffee during the fermentation process, but thats not the case here. We didn’t want to risk contamination at any phase during this process, and the yeast developed in our microbiology lab from the pineapple is far more effective at reaching the objective. We got fresh pineapple fruit and extracted the pineapple pure and let it ferment in order to develop a healthy population of yeast. When the population was healthy, we separated the proper amount of yeast needed for every specific batch produced and continued to feed the “yeast village” with high sugar media so it would keep feeding and reproducing for the upcoming lots. Once the pineapple yeast mossto is created, we add the mossto solution and then seal the fermentation tanks with the coffee cherries for 75 - 90 hours. We cover the fermentation tanks with temperature control blankets to maintain a minimum temperature of 26 degrees celsius and strictly monitor the pH degradation in the process. Following the initial fermentation in the tanks, the coffee is then depulped to remove the cherry skin allowing the fruit mucilage to remain. The reason for fermenting whole cherry versus depulping prior during the initial fermentation, was to avoid the yeast from cannibalizing all of the present mucilage during the initial fermentation phase and allowing the coffee skin to act as protectant layer to the coffee fruit. Once the coffee is depulped to a honey, it a goes to the greenhouse solar dryer to dry in shade on raised beds for 10-12 days. On the 12th day the coffee is moved to the raised drying beds outside to dry directly in sunlight from day 12 to 25.