Mexico Finca Chelin Hydronatural
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Candelaria Loxicha, Sierra Sur de Oaxaca
February – April 2021
Plum | Blueberry | Floral
This is a Geisha, the world’s most elegant coffee cultivar, from a shaded grove high in the Sierra Sur of Oaxaca. It was grown by Enrique López at Finca Chelín. Like many other growers we work with, Enrique produces different flavor profiles by processing his coffees in different ways after they are harvested. But Enrique is unlike any other grower we work with in at least one regard: he has more than 20 distinct post-harvest processes, many of which challenge common wisdom to achieve uncommon results.
Enrique calls the process employed for this small Geisha lot “hydronatural washed.” It starts when the cherry is placed in a sealed tank as part of a carbonic maceration process common in wine but still relatively new in coffee. Then it begins like a traditional natural process, lying in its fruit, first on mesh then a shaded raised bed, for several days before the hydro part comes in. Enrique then returns the cherry to the wet mill for a cold water bath before finally processing it as a washed coffee and drying it on raised, shaded beds over a period of nearly four weeks.
Here’s the thing: lots of growers are doing weird stuff with post-harvest processing these days to advance the frontiers of flavor. Often, the results of their mad-scientist experiments are…well…undrinkable. And when the results are positive, they are often like a trick shot the grower can’t quite seem to repeat. Enrique has managed what few others have — he hasn’t just produced sublime coffees through weird science, but he has done so consistently, year after year.
— Michael Sheridan
Director of Sourcing and Shared Value