El Zorro Azul – Philippe Casas
We’ve gotten this coffee from on of our dear friends from the shop. I remember one day Philippe calling me saying “This might be the stupidest thing I will do, but I’m thinking about buying a coffee farm”. The story of El Zorro Azul is about a strong relationship between Philippe and a Colombian family, Liliana and Didier. Liliana and Didier are living in Apia since forever, and for more than 25 years in the farm of El Zorro Azul. They even owned the farm for a while, but due to financial issues they had to sell the farm. The opportunity came for Philippe to start a journey together. Liliana and Didier are still living and working in this piece of land that they know better than anyone. They know the story of every tree, every corner of the farm. Although Philippe is managing the farm, Liliana and Didier are his advisors, the eyes and ears of the farm. Always feeling the pulse of the coffee.
He had send me with the following quote from writer and philosopher, Pierre Rabhi “The legend of the colibri began in a forest. A great fire was started. As the flames ravaged the trees and the terrified animals watched, a little colibri remained. Gathering water in his beak, the little bird flew towards the fire and projected the drops he had over the flames. He flew back and forth, each time releasing a few more drops. An armadillo saw the colibri battling the flames and shouted: “Colibri, you’re crazy, you’ll never be able to put out the fire all on your own!” To this the colibri replied: “Maybe not, but I’m doing my part.”
So with buying this coffee farm, Philippe had a clear objective. He wanted to build a sustainable farm, which he implies in many ways. He is creating more bio-diversity in the farm, with various species of plants respecting the nature in this gorgeous area. Maximise de well-being of the workers in the farm. And he is also working on innovating, with the mantra of doing it better instead of doing more.
The farm is located close to the village Apía. This is in one of the areas in Colombia which lives for coffee. There are many farms, on the gorgeous slopes and it has to be said the scenery is taking away any breath. While renovating the farm, they have planted multiple coffee varieties, shade trees and plants which help to create the most healthy soil. There are also multiple different fruit trees planted, such as orange, guava, bananas and avocados.
The lot we have is the first harvest of these baby coffee trees, which are just three years old. The coffee trees wake up in the morning sun, making this the part of the farm with a milder temperature. There are multiple steps in the process to ensure the ripest cherries reach your cup. As this is a yellow variety, the coffee cherries turn deep yellow . Ensuring more complexity and sweetness in your cup. A honey process coffee means that the skin of the coffee cherry is removed, but the mucilage stays on the beans. Removing the skin, makes it easier for micro organisms to ferment the coffee equally and deliciously. The fermentation process takes place on suspended beds in a green house, while the coffee is also drying here. When the coffee is at a 11.5% moisture the process is finished. Now the coffee will wait in bags until they get dry-hulled. This is often done just before the coffee is being exported.