view of colombian coffee growing region

Producer Spotlight: Rafael Amaya

Rafael began his journey into the world of coffee production by first working as a picker. He then started assisting other farms in the processing of their coffee. A little while later, in 2000, he was able to buy his own farm and hasn’t stopped growing since. Throughout all this time he has been focussed on refining his craft. He started by attending courses focussed on processing specialty coffee, deepening his knowledge of the field. Later, in 2011, he  concentrated on developing high quality lots by enrolling in SENA coffee school. All of this led to him realising the potential of the fermentation time and processes in enhancing coffee’s natural flavours. This was thanks to one of his teachers who suggested he experiment with longer fermentation times.


Typically, in Colombia coffee beans are fermented for around 14-16 hours. Rafael began by fermenting them for around 40 hours, a significant increase and shift in the process. This set him on a path of experimentation that would see him produce incredibly unique and complex cups. He next pushed the fermentation process much further, up to around 130-180 hours. The mucilage is tasted to establish where in the process the beans are. As Rafael says “When the mucilage tastes like overripe orange, this is the time to stop”. In 2016 the fruits of his labours were recognised, when his own method of processing washed beans obtained a cup score of 88.


Since then Rafael has focussed more on specialty micro lots. He takes the best of the beans and processes them through dry fermentation in GrainPro bags. Due to the amount of space this takes however, the majority of lots are still processed through wet fermentation. These are by no means second class beans, but the process is a selective one. This allows the unique flavours and properties to be discovered and honed. The beans that make it through are then dried on concrete patios and raised beds that are kept shaded.


We’re very proud to be supporting Rafael in the exploration of what flavours coffee has to offer. We want to further his work and allow the beans' natural characteristics to get the spotlight they deserve. By roasting them over a wood fire we ensure that they maintain as much of their oils as possible. This keeps their flavours intact.


We have found that this is a delicate and highly complex bean that has a sweet, decadent acidity with notes of dried red berries, carob and dark caramel. The uniqueness of its flavour profile is best enjoyed brewed delicately in a French press or pour over. When combined with milk you can expect something reminiscent of berry ice cream. To experience it for yourself, you can find Rafael Amaya's coffee in our shop.


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