LA SENDA, 450hr Carbonic Maceration
Maria Eugenia’s experimental approach to coffee yields some incredible results. This complex process consists of two fermentations as cherry followed by a carbonic maceration after pulping and the results are delicious. We are tasting mango, raspberry lemonade and honey.
CULTIVAR: Red Bourbon
PREPARATION: Carbonic Maceration, Honey
LOCATION: Acatenango, Chimaltenango
ALTITUDE: 1,700 - 1,800 masl
PRICE PAID: £15.69/kg
We've been buying coffee from Finca La Senda since we launched in 2019 and it's a relationship we really value. This family run farm take processing and experimentation to another level and their lots are always stunning.
Finca La Senda, now run by Arnoldo Pérez Melendez and his wife Maria Eugenia Escobar, dates back to the 1940’s, when Arnoldo’s father pioneered the plantation of coffee in the surroundings of the Aldea El Socorro in Acatenango. The Finca extends from the borders of the village up to mount Balàm, the hill of the Jaguar in the native language. Coffee is planted at an altitude between 1,550 and 1,970 masl across an area spanning around 27 hectares. Above these altitudes nature is left to take its own course, respecting the unique biosphere.
Until 2017, Arnoldo had been delivering coffee to the local cooperative but after meeting a specialty coffee consultant has realised the potential of the finca’s cherries and has shifted his focus to producing specialty micro-lots. Work on building processing facilities (beneficio) began in April 2017 and were completed over the course of six months, just in time for the 2018 harvest.
Arnoldo took advantage of his deep knowledge of agriculture, while Maria Eugenia leveraged her skills as a talented cook to learn and refine best practices in coffee fermentation and processing. In its first year of processing, Finca la Senda focused its efforts on consistent cherry selection, long and controlled fermentations as well as slow shade-drying.
La Senda have developed a strict harvesting protocol which they use for all of their lots. Ripe cherries are harvested once they reach an average of 24 degrees brix - a measurement of the sugar content of the fruit. The coffee is transported to the mill in clean boxes to protect the fruit from damage and then washed in a tank of water, allowing the less dense cherries to be easily removed as they float on the surface. Under-ripe, over-ripe and defective fruits are then removed by hand and the remaining cherries are left to rest for 24 hours before processing.
The red Bourbon for this lot comes from the Los Cedros plot and after harvesting and floating the cherries are left to begin fermentation for 48 hours, exposed to oxygen. They are then transferred to an oxygen free container for 96 hours before being pulped without water. After this the carbonic maceration takes pace for 16 days with controlled temperature and pH inside a tank with a one way valve and CO2 added to force any remaining oxygen out. Finally the coffee is dried slowly over 20 days on shaded raised beds.