Elkin Guzman / Colombia - "Hydro-Honey" Imperial Reserve
Guava / Fresh Mint / Banana Split
“If it’s not broken, don’t fix it” are words Elkin Guzman has likely never heard. He is a master at innovation. Working as head agronomist at Banexport’s quality control lab, he also operates his own small farm, El Mirador. Elkin grows at least seven distinct coffee varieties. For each, he can list the ideal sugar content for harvest, average density, and minute processing variations to produce the best cup. We were able to taste seven of his first experiments this year and it was a mind-melting table. As amazing as his coffees are, his work is not self-serving. He aims to share his experiences with the thousands of producers that work with Banexport throughout Colombia, freely sharing his knowledge with producers on small changes in harvesting and processing that can immensely improve cup quality and the profit directly tied to it.
This natural hydro-honey processed coffee is one of Elkin’s own creations. The harvested Caturra is first treated as a standard cherry-dried coffee for eight days. Then the coffee is moved to a fermentation tank where it is soaked for 18–24 hours. After the fruit has been rehydrated, he de-pulps the fruit and moves it to another drying bed to finish as a honey for an additional 25–30 days. This process creates an incredibly complex cup.
Elkin Guzman’s hydro-honey processed Caturra immediately strikes you with vibrant tropical fruit flavors, most clearly expressed as guava. As the flavors develop on the palate, we are reminded of banana splits with flavors of vanilla bean, strawberry, pineapple, fudge, and dark nuts. The refreshingly clean aftertaste of fresh cut spearmint has an almost effervescent quality. It is the perfect coffee to push you into a good run through the sprinkler.