Rodrigo Figueroa FARM: EL RECUERDO

BROWN SUGAR / ORANGE / SYRUPY

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Rodrigo Figueroa runs the El Recuerdo farm which, at nine hectares is a little larger than the average Colombian coffee farm. It's certainly the largest of the farms we're featuring in this Short Stories series, and that's something that Rodrigo uses to his advantage.

It means, for example, that Rodrigo has plenty of space to develop the infrastructure of his farm. Already equipped with one wet mill, he's is in the process of building another, which will allow more controlled processing of his coffee crop and more flexibility for keeping distinct lots (such as those from different fields or tree varieties) separate.

Giving himself more flexibility over how he chooses to process his coffee gives Rodrigo and his team ever greater space to experiment and improve their output, and allows them to ensure tighter quality control.

Rodrigo's investment in technology can be seen in other places throughout the farm too and this stems from a pursuit of consistency. When we visited the farm last year, he and his team told us that they've always known they had a good raw product, but struggles with inconsistent or slow processing had held the quality of the final coffee back. Consequently, they saw technology and better equipment as the best way to overcome such issues and have been rewarded with a steady improvement in cup quality.

This focus on machinery and technology is helped by the altitude of the farm - at 1,600m, El Recuerdo is the lowest of the farms in this Short Stories series, which affords it better access to roads and other infrastructure than higher, more remote farms, such as those we'll be featuring later in the series.

All this means that Rodrigo and his coffee represent the more advanced elements of Colombian coffee production in this Short Stories series. He's running his farm efficiently, pushing for consistency in the final product through the use of equipment. That may seem less romantic than the artisanal approach of other producers in this series, but it's no bad thing for the quality of the final cup. It provides an interesting contrast too, and makes Rodrigo's coffee the perfect way to start this Short Stories series.

ESPRESSO BREW GUIDE

Grown at a lower altitude than the other two coffees in this series, Rodrigo Figueroa's espresso shows a lovely silky body that carries the orange flavours all the way through the shot. This marries up really nicely with the brown sugar sweetness that's the backbone of the coffee, making for a very satisfying, lengthy espresso.

For a sweet and balanced espresso we'd recommend starting to brew this at a 1:2 coffee in and coffee out ratio - meaning a dose of 19g of ground coffee would yield a 38g espresso shot out. For a large bodied and syrupy espresso we've also found it fun to pull the Figueroa a little shorter, something around 1:1.75 works nicely

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