This coffee (that, despite it being a washed process, it’s so sweet and unique we refer to it as Blue Honey) was connected to us through an exporter we trust – Azahar, based in Colombia. We had a really nice email exchange with Andrea at Azahar, who relayed our message “Tell Guillermo his coffee is absolutely delicious! He needs to know”.
I didn’t expect that she would call him that afternoon, have an interview and relay Guillermo’s appreciation back to us.
We’re small here at Lüna and can’t go everywhere just yet. To be honest, some places, like Samaniego, aren’t yet safe from rebel groups and coca production. For now, we have friends who can help us close those feedback loops. We know they’re respectful and on the same page. Laura has personally worked with Azahar for over 4 years and consider much of the team to be good friends.
The sentiments we shared with each other are valid. We want to keep the lines of communication open. Feedback is still welcome even if it can’t be shared in person. For us at Lüna (a tiny team of 2) it helps us feel like the hours roasting and hand-sorting in Vancouver feel totally worth it. We hope for Guillermo, it helps the hours picking/ washing and drying coffee in Nariño feel happier too. But the truth is we don’t yet know those details. The only way for us to know for sure is to start a conversation, & tell our stories. We can’t wait to go say hi in person one day soon.
Here’s what Guillermo wanted to share with us through the interview he did with Andrea at Azahar:
“Jose Guillermo Toro is a specialty coffee producer who has been growing coffee for the last 20 years. His finca Balsal is located in the vereda of Las Cochas, at 2,000 m.a.s.l. Don Guillermo’s farm spans six hectares, with 4 of those planted with the Castillo variety. He has 20,000 trees, 4,000 of which were stumped last year and should be entering their next period of production at the end of this year. Guillermo likes Castillo because of its high yield, resistance to coffee leaf rust and aromatic cup. During the height of the harvest he employs 20 pickers from neighbouring veredas. He has five children, all who were not keen on life in the countryside and now reside in Colombia’s cosmopolitan capital city of Bogotá.
The coffee for this micro-lot was harvested in June of this year. After the careful hand-selection of the ripe Castillo cherries, Guillermo carried out the traditional post-collection process—known in Colombia as the beneficio—by himself. He told us he prides himself on an informed, tried and true beneficio, which has won him local and nationwide recognition. After the cherries were brought in by the pickers, Guillermo started the de-pulping process in the afternoon. He fermented the beans for a period of 12 hours and then washed them, after which he dried the beans on cement patios for 8 days.
In recent years, the security situation in Samaniego has been complicated to say the least. We are extremely grateful to Don Jose Guillermo Toro and his pickers for their hard work and passion for producing high-quality coffee.”