La Familia Ortega-Gomez
La Familia Ortega-Gomez
Varities: Red Caturra, Yellow Caturra
Farm: Villa Maria
Location: Sevilla, San Agustin, Huila
Process: Washed, Fermented in tile tanks, dried on raised beds
The history of coffee production in the Ortega-Gomez family is multi-generational, tracing its way back some sixty years to the earliest days of coffee production in San Agustin.
It was Luis Felipe Rodriguez and his son, Paulo Emilio Ortega who began to plant coffee amongst their other subsistence crops such as maize in pursuit of a better life for themselves. Don Paulo would then hand down parcels of his own land to his son Don Olgar Ortega-Bolaños and his grandson, Esnaider Ortega-Gomez (pictured above doing some yeast inoculation), and these latter two are now those whose coffee you find within the Familia Ortega-Gomez lots.
For years, this coffee was sold and marketed under the name Esnaider Ortega. This young and impassioned coffee producer gained some fame and notoriety internationally when his work as a sample roaster for a Colombian exporter put him in direct contact with well-known specialty coffee brands in Japan, Norway, and the United States.
In recent years, as his name as grown to be more recognized and his coffee more sought after, Esnaider has asked the his coffee be sold as a product of the labour of all of the family — not only his father Don Olgar and he, but also his brother Duvan, and his mother and sister Lina.
Indeed, there is good reason for that. Don Olgar himself is a man who commands much respect in his local community. For years, he was the president of the local chapter of the Colombian Coffee Grower’s Federation and was one of the foundational members of the Los Naranjos groups who rose to prominence through their ongoing work with Cafe Imports. For over a decade, Don Olgar has been working tirelessly to produce high quality coffee out of a pure lifelong passion and love for the product he grows.
Since Esnaider’s graduation from high school, he made the decision to commit himself side by side with his father, believing that coffee offered great opportunities for their family.
However, this has never been a purely economic pursuit for Esnaider. Though he of course wishes for them to earn a living that meets and surpasses their needs he mostly wishes to build strong relationships with conscientous buyers the world over who believe in them as people and seek to invest long-term in the building of a relationship that elevates and infroms all parties. Which is why The Artery Community Roasters carries two of their coffees and has great relations with the farm. And the coffee is remarkable.
Esnaider and Olgar work primarily in the beneficio, while their small group of workers (with whom they work year in and year out, treating them as family and paying prices high above the local rates) cuts through the steeps hills of their farm, collecting cherries from their growing menu of varietals.
Esnaider has been motivated to build a repertoire of coffee varieties so that he can better meet the needs of his clients, and as such, now claims Sidra, Tabi, Typica, Yellow and Red Caturra, and Castillo amongst them.
A day spent in their beneficio shows their tireless commitment to quality. As Esnaider has often said, jokingly, “our coffee lives a better life than us.” The cherries come in bursting red and ripe and are left to ferment for 12-24 hours before being floated to remove any potential underripe or insect damaged beans. After that, the coffee is immediately depulped and fermented once again for an additional 12-24 hours, before being turned out onto shaded raised beds where the coffee is dried for an average of 25-30 days. As the temperature is quite cool, the coffees must be turned 10+ times a day, meaning that the family is constantly tending to it.
In addition to their meticulous focus on processing, Esnaider and Olgar have been pursuing different fermentation regimes that are also steeped in their history. They’ve built oak tanks that resemble those used by Esnaider’s grandfather prior to the advent of concrete and other building materials and believe these tanks can add a different element to the coffee via the introduction of unique microbes present in the oak.
They also ferment in clay jars, another formerly common material in the production of coffee, in pursuit of unique flavour profiles.
We are proud, and feel honoured, to carry these exceptional and ethical coffees. And we hope the love and care we put into roasting these beans does them justice. They are truly special coffees, from special people.
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