Introduction by Chris Kornman
Wilmer Demetrio Rojas Rojas is a relatively green coffee farmer, just in his early 30s, and has only been growing coffee on his 4-hectare farm, El Rincón, for about 6 years. However, in that brief time he’s managed to produce some really spectacular coffee.
This particular lot comes to us by way of the FNC (Federación Nacional de Cafeteros de Colombia), who for the second year have hosted a national quality competition. We sent our VP of Trading, Alex Mason, down to participate and select a few of his favorites to bring back. This one was a stunner, sweet and tart and rife with lush tropical fruit flavors.
Wilmer started his agricultural career as a lulo farmer, a citrusy nightshade fruit. However, phytosanitary difficulties inherent in its cultivation led him to begin seeking other options. While researching coffee in nearby Villavicencio he met his wife, who has been a driving force in the upkeep of the farm, and with whom Wilmer has raised a family that now includes 5 daughters. The farm includes other transitional crops for sustenance and diversification, including banana, beans, and corn.
Wilmer’s coffee is processed on his own micromill, where he employs a dry fermentation stage after depulping and washing. The coffee is then dried under shaded canopy on raised beds for about eight days before resting in pergamino for around thirty days.
Green Analysis by Chris Kornman
Wilmer’s coffee has a unique combination of physical attributes. Relatively large in size, though not graded strictly to Supremo, it’s also a fairly dense coffee. In addition, it possesses a high moisture content and higher than average water activity. You should expect this coffee to move quickly through Maillard and sugar browning reactions in the roaster, though it’s likely a little additional heat after first crack might be needed to maintain momentum. Be sure to check Jen’s roast notes on this one for further insight.
The green coffee is 100% Castillo, which is sure to ruffle a few prudish coffee buyers’ feathers. In 2005, CENICAFE in Colombia developed and released the hybrid Castillo – which includes some Robusta genetics – as an improvement over similar previous varieties Tabi and Colombia. Shortly thereafter, traditional varieties suffered massive foliage losses at the onset of a years-long fungal outbreak known as Roya or Leaf Rust. Castillo’s disease resistance made it the de facto replacement option for many farmers whose livelihoods were on the line.
Unfortunately, there’s a tendency for many cuppers to regard Castillo as qualitatively inferior. As evidenced by the high sensory quality of this particular lot, however, there is still very good quality potential depending on the particular Castillo strain and contingent on growing conditions and processing care. If you’re curious to know more about Castillo and some interesting research conducted by Catholic Relief Services under the leadership of Michael Sheridan, a summary of the “Colombian Varietal [sic] Cuppings Series” on the Coffeelands Blog is a good place to start.
Roast Analysis by Jen Apodaca
A very sweet coffee with a dynamic fruit profile creating a harmonious cup. The high water activity of this coffee produced a profile that quickly moved through the Maillard stage and began first crack at a temperature lower than most coffees. Roast one was a traditional high acidity roast with only one minute of post crack development time. In my second roast, I attempted to push towards a different profile, but coffee does what coffee wants and this coffee was ready to Maillard. So in an effort to at least taste something different from my first roast I decided to add some time on the post crack development time. While roast one was vibrant and citrus driven, roast two had a very complex and sweet citrus acidity.
Roast one: Chocolate, green apple, lemon, almond.
Roast two: Baked grapefruit, plum, chocolate, hazelnut.
Behmor Analysis by Evan Gilman
The Colombia Wilmer Demetrio Rojas takes a bit more heat than most to develop due to its high moisture content and large bean size. Even at a 13.8% roast loss, this coffee had a few underdeveloped notes. We did enjoy the honey-like sweetness in this coffee, and there was a clear malic acidity in this coffee that really came through in Jen’s first roast above. A little more development would have help to stem those graham crackery notes we experienced. Take it from me – it might have been better to keep full heat on this coffee until the end!
Don’t be afraid to take this coffee a little further than you’re comfortable with. Also, this is a definite candidate for pre-heating of the Behmor as detailed in my first article on the subject. Getting as high of a charge temperature as possible for this coffee can really make a difference.
Brew Analysis by Evan Gilman
Comforting and sweet, this Colombian coffee keeps things mellow. The high moisture content resulted in plenty of available sugars, and though I certainly didn’t need to keep drinking coffee at 3pm, I did. Repeatedly.
Jen and Chris seemed to prefer the first roast of this coffee, while I enjoyed the slightly heavier development in the second. They touted the bright fruits and texture of the first roast, while I enjoyed the thick sugars and smooth mouthfeel in the second. All the better – more coffee for me to drink.
If you happened to encounter a very caffeinated guy on a bike on Friday evening in the Emeryville area, that was probably me, and you have Wilmer Demetrio Rojas and his delicious coffee to thank.
This coffee may be available in full size bags as well. Contact Us to find out more.