Efren Albeiro Erazo
PARTNER´S NAME : CARMEN ELISA SAN JUAN TORRES
FINCA LOS CHORROS STORY
On the south of the department of Huila, you’ll find the biggest producer of coffee in Colombia: Pitalito. Coffee is everything here in this municipality, it moves de economy and permeates everything. At the corregimiento of Bruselas, a subdivision of the municipality of Pitalito, is where Efren Albeiro Erazo and Carmen Elisa Sanjuan have their farm Los Chorros. Both are third generation coffee farmers and have learned its ins and outs from a young age. Efren Albeiro, at age 15 started working in coffee and eventually when he was 28 years old alongside his brother Jose Hernando, they bought the farm in 1999 with their savings and at the time, the terrain was only pasture, they started to produce coffee from zero. When Efren Albeiro and Carmen Elisa married in 2010, she became part of the family and hence part of the production of coffee at them farm. Eventually, both noticed that specialty coffee was the way to go as it would bring them better earnings, so they started to take workshops and focused on producing quality. At the farm, they work as a team where Efren Albeiro takes care of the field chores, pulping and washing, while Carmen Elisa handles the fermentation process, drying and taking the samples to be cupped. Carmen Elisa’s interested in fermentation comes from her career as she studied and worked as nurse. She is fascinated by fermentation and learning more about it, as she is interested on how the coffee reacts with each fermentation and Carmen strongly believes that with a good process the coffee is healthier and better to consume. A small anecdote of her when she worked a nurse, was her amazing cooking skills and food, so once she taught someone from her team at the hospital how to cook something, but the team was adamant that it didn’t taste the same as when Carmen cooked. This attests to the magic Carmen has to make amazing food, hence cook really good coffee.
At the farm, they have clean agricultural practices, not using any agrochemicals and thinking about making the best agricultural practices to help and improve the environment. They even have bees for pollination and production of honey. It is not an easy job at the farm to produce coffee, as they don’t have a road to access it so when they have to take the coffee to town or bring up stu, they use horses. On that path towards the farm, you will cross three water creeks and hence the name Los Chorros. They believe in doing things the right way and always working towards achieving amazing coffees. Working as a family is better as there is trust and confidence in the other.
Currently, the way they process most of their coffee starts with a picking of the ripe cherries. This are then floated at a container in the wet mill of the farm, to take all the less dense cherries and any foreign material such as branches. The cherries are left ferment without water for 24 hours and from the container they are fed to the pulper. Then, the beans are fermented from 48 to 60 hours and subsequently washed twice where the beans are cleaned. The coffee is then sieved to clean it even further, and then taken to the drying beds where it will stay from 15 to 20 days depending on the climate.