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November 2023: Finca Fatima is Back!

Featured Microlot: Finca Fatima, Mexico

Finca Fatima is back! And this year we are featuring three unique coffees from Ernesto Pérez’s family farm in Coatepec, Veracruz. 

First up, available now and shipping to all of our Microlot Subscribers starting today, is the Marsellesa Fully Washed. This coffee represents the classic profile of a great Coatepec coffee and is one we’ve come to know and love over the past several years working with Ernesto. It’s clean and sweet with creamy caramel and bright, refreshing stone fruit notes. 

Marsellesa is a workhorse and the primary variety grown at Fatima. It is a cross between Villa Sarchi (a natural Bourbon mutation) and the Timor Hybrid, a robusta-arabica hybrid used for its resistance to coffee leaf rust (CLR). The combination of the two creates excellent quality in the cup while protecting the crops from CLR, an invasive fungus that nearly wiped out the region’s coffee production in the early 2010s. 

Next, for all you fruit heads, we’ve got a very limited amount of Marsellesa Natural. Slow-dried with the whole fruit intact for 25 days on raised African beds, this coffee is harvested from the same lot as this month’s featured fully-washed offering, and the two couldn’t be more different in profile. According to Ernesto, this year’s naturals benefitted from an intense focus on cleanliness and fermentation control, producing sweet and balanced coffees with syrupy mouthfeel and plenty of ripe fruit notes like plum and cherry. 

Natural Coffee drying on raised beds at the Pérez family’s APG mill in Coatepec

Finally, my personal favorite of this year’s harvest is a Semi-Washed Typica. This is a unique and complex coffee with bright citrus notes of lemon and grapefruit complemented by a floral aroma and cooling minty finish. It is one of the most challenging and labor-intensive coffees Ernesto produces.

Typica is one of the most important arabica varieties in the world, both historically and genetically, as it can be traced back to coffee’s birthplace in Ethiopia, and its well documented journey around the globe has spawned an entire family of offshoots through both natural mutations and cultivated hybrids. Unlike Marsellesa, discussed above, it is quite susceptible to disease and its yields are typically quite low. Once a staple of Coatepec, Typica Criollo has been either eradicated or replaced in much of the area; however, Ernesto and family hold on to a small amount at Finca Fatima because of its historical significance to the family business and its consistently unique and incredible cup quality. 

Ernesto Pérez at Finca Fatima in Coatepec, Veracruz, Mexico

Upon arrival from the fields, this coffee is immediately pulped and then fermented in a sealed anaerobic environment for up to 60 hours. After fermentation, the coffee is briefly submerged in clean water to remove defective floaters, but unlike in their fully-washed process, no scrubbing or water pressure is applied. This allows some of the mucilage to remain during drying, adding complexity and sweetness to the final cup. Between the challenges of growing the Typica variety and the care that must be taken to execute the multi-step post-harvest processes, this is not an easy coffee to produce. But after tasting it, it becomes clear why this coffee is the pride of Finca Fatima’s portfolio. 

Roaster’s Choice: Violet Crown

This month we’re featuring our light roast blend, Violet Crown. We decided to send this one out as November’s Roaster’s Choice because, one, it’s been a while since we last gave it its flowers and, two, because the current components are really stellar. As you know if you’re a regular reader of this blog, we change our blend components seasonally to ensure freshness and maintain a consistent flavor profile year-round. Currently Violet Crown is composed of:

Buku MIll in Hambella, West Guji, Ethiopia
  1. Ethiopia Guji Buku: This natural coffee comes to us from our good friend and long-time partner, Robel Kidane, from his Buku Hurufa washing station in the esteemed coffee-growing region of Hambela, West Guji. It’s everything you expect from a well-processed Guji natural. With notes of yellow stone fruits like peach and apricot, ripe berries, and an intense floral aroma, this coffee stands incredibly tall on its own, but blending with our next component takes Violet Crown to another level.

  2. Colombia Black Condor: Sweet, clean, and citric, this fully-washed coffee comes from Elias and Shady Bayter of Forest Green Coffee, producers of last month’s featured microlot, El Vergel. In 2016, the brothers partnered with Emmanual Enciso to build a processing station in Gaitana, Tolima, a strategic location central to 15 villages in the area, which is known for producing excellent quality coffees. Growers participating in the program must follow a strict set of guidelines to maintain quality and consistency year after year, and for their effort and dedication they are paid well over market value for their coffees. There are currently 45 independent growers whose coffees contribute to the Black Condor blend, and they plan to expand the number of partner growers as demand is quickly growing for this amazing coffee. 
Elias Bayter, mom Marta, myself, and brother Shady (L to R) at the Bayter’s Finca El Vergel in Fresno, Tolima, Colombia
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