Finca Gascon - Guatemala - Caturra - Red Honey - Filter
An awesome 'Red Honey' Caturra from legendary producer Felipe Contreras at Finca Gascon. After a 48-hour oxidation phase, 50% of the mucilage is removed to be dried as a ‘red’ honey. Expect a sweet cup with notes of berries, currants, and dried fruits.
Felipe and Jordan at Finca Gascon are two of the most driven young producers we have been lucky enough to meet. The farm is completely organic with regenerative and permaculture principles and they tend to each plant according to the theory of molecular trofobiosis. They have built natural irrigation systems, produce their own organic compost, make their own natural ‘pesticide’ by fermenting plants, and are constantly innovating and experimenting with post-harvest processing.
Felipe took over the farm from his father with the ambition to produce world-class specialty coffee.
Finca Gascon is located in the famous coffee growing region of Antigua. The region is spread across 3 ancient volcanoes.
Felipe makes his own ‘apichi’, a natural insecticide made by fermenting garlic, onion, chilli, & peppers. The ingredients are soaked, mashed, and fermented into a ‘juice’ and sprayed on the coffee trees to prevent pests and moulds.
Finca Gascon sits at 1800 masl on sandy, sulfurus volcanic soil.
The Caturra trees at Finca Gascon are incredibly healthy from yearly pruning, a natural irrigation system and thick layers of natural compost.
Fully-ripe cherries undergo an oxidation period for 48 hours before being pulped and laid to dry. For the 'red' honey, around 50% of the mucillage is left on the seed.
“The honey process can be categorized by colour, which refers to the amount of mucillage left on the seed prior to drying.”
The modern day coffee pulper can be calibrated to remove specific amounts of mucilage when pulping. These different 'levels' are loosely graded by colour: namely white, yellow, orange, red and black. As the sugars in the mucillage caramelize, they darken in colour. The more mucilage that is left on, the longer the fermentation takes and the more the sugars caramelize or darken. Coffee with almost all the mucillage removed would be labeled as ‘white honey’, whilst a ‘black honey’ has almost all of the mucilage intact. This variation and control is what makes the honey process so interesting, as even small changes can create substantial differences in the final cup.
“My father heard that a Panamanian Gesha was bought for more than US$250/lb at the 2017 Best of Panama Auction. So he planted 10,000 Gesha trees”
Of these 10,000 Gesha trees around a quarter of them died, and the trees that did survive, were struggling. The shallow root systems of the Gesha plant could not develop in the soft soils of this ‘traditional’ coffee farm. Gesha is adapted to forests (like in their native Ethiopia) with structured soils from other root systems and constant organic composting from leaf litter and treefall. It was clear that an agroforestry model, with an organic approach to soil health, was the only way forward for growing and maintaining high quality Gesha.
This lit a fire for Felipe to transform the entire coffee production to completely organic, with regenerative principles, and this change was immediately rewarded with a now thriving farm and increasing cup scores year after year.