Behind the Beans: La Loma from Colombia

Located in the mountainous terrain and temperate climates of southwest Antioquia, Finca La Loma, translating to “the Green Hills”, has the perfect climate for producing excellent quality coffee. In this ideally situated terrain, the Guerra family has dedicated 20 of their 22.2 hectares to coffee, with the rest of the farm being utilised for livestock. 

Having owned the neighbouring farm of Finca Las Mercedes since the 1960s, Alfonso Guerra purchased Finca La Loma in 2005 with aim of further expanding their business. Today, the Guerra family farms are now primarily managed by Alfonso’s son, Juan Carlos, and his grandchildren. This means that five generations of the Guerra family have tended the lands of Cuidad Bolivar. With years of experience passed down through generations, the Guerra family’s mission is to produce consistent, high-quality coffee, whilst taking responsibility for the environment they work within. Under Juan Carlos’ influence, the farm has increasingly focused on quality improvements and speciality coffee production. Finca La Loma’s 140,000 Caturra, Colombia and Castillo trees are painstakingly maintained, aiming to marry productivity with environmental stewardship. Plots are fertilised twice a year and all control of pests and illnesses are done using products that are certified as being friendly to wildlife.
One strategy in the farm’s efforts to move towards speciality coffee has been to invest in experimental processing techniques and lot differentiation. These efforts increase every year, and with the ideal conditions of the farm, we expect the quality of La Loma’s coffees to only improve in the coming years.
The region of Antioquia is fortunate to receive two harvests each year. The primary harvest in the region is between November and February, where 60% of the annual production is collected, with the remaining 40% harvested in the Mitica crop between April and June.

During the harvest, this La Loma lot is selectively handpicked and then sorted for quality. Next, the sorted cherries are placed in airtight steel barrels that are pumped with Carbon Dioxide. This is known as the Carbonic Maceration method, which initiates the breakdown of the exterior fruit with the presence of Carbon Dioxide. The steel barrels are sealed to ensure the proper environment for this process which lasts for 8-10 days. Once complete, the cherries are dried in the open sun on raised beds (Marquesinas) until the ideal moisture content is reached. The dried cherries are then transported to the dry mill to hull the coffee and prepare for export.

La Loma is home to numerous experimental plots including this one, and they have future plans to continue these exciting experimental coffees.

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