January 03, 2019

Frequently recognized by the brand Cafe Granja la Esperanza, brothers Luis and Rigoberto Herrera are the proprietors of a small group of farms in central Colombia: Cerro Azul, Las Margaritas, La Esperanza, Potosí, and Hawaii.This  exclusive microlot from this innovative group of farms since the beginning of the Crown Jewel program. It seems like every harvest the Herrera hermanos come up with something new and innovative, exemplifying the stewardship undertaken by their father, who first diversified their coffees to include Yellow and Red Bourbon, Caturra, and Typica back in 1945.This lot is another unique one, grown on the Potosí farm in Caicedonia, a town in Colombia’s Valle del Cauca department. Potosí was the family’s first finca, established in 1930 when Israel Correa and Carmen Rosa Vega, the Herrera’s grandmother, emigrated from the department of Antioquia. They arrived in Valle del Cauca, as did many other Antioquian families at the time, as a part of the fallout from La Colonización Antioqueña, a major cultural, political, and economic shift in the region that resulted in, among other things, cultivation of coffee and industrialization in the early 20th century that improved transportation and upon the back of which the country’s industry was built.Potosí was once an organic farm; it has since lost that certification, but a number of the disease-resistant introgressed trees remain. Don Rigoberto has dubbed the variety selection for this coffee “San Juan,” and his marketing manager Felipe Paz tells me it’s an “improved” Colombia cultivar that yields larger fruits and seed size.They’ve undertaken a unique fermentation and drying process for the selection, dubbed “XO” in honor of the cognac notes that result in the cup - “XO” means “extra old” and is used to designate some of the highest quality, longest aged cognacs. The process involves 2 days of low-temperature in-cherry dry fermentation in tanks followed by 10 days of silo-aged drying. The coffee comes to us with an intense fruity aroma, even green, and a distinctive brandy-like flavor in the cup, from whence the process gets its name.This is a fantastic and totally unique coffee. There’s a whole world of possibilities in the realm of careful experimental processing. Rigoberto took a big risk trying something new with this lot, and it has paid off handsomely.HERRERA XO | COLOMBIATasting notes: chocolate, strawberry, grape, boozyVarietal: San JuanProcess: NaturalHarvest: April-MayBrewing recommendations:Brewed with a C70 Saint Anthony. 1:16.666. 12 grams ground on a Commandante at 17 clicks and 200ml of third wave water at 205*F.1. 45 seconds of bloom time  with 36ml of water.2. 64ml of additional water at 45 seconds.3. 50ml of additional water at 2:15.4. Final 50ml of additional water at 3:00.