Project Honey

There’s a great number of exciting things happening with coffee in Colombia at the moment; the emergence of the speciality coffee market and its potential to do well for producers and farmers has seen some exciting developments made in the areas of coffee processing.

  • The Colombian Coffee Federation has maintained strict control over the exportation of all coffee for the last 60 years, permitting only washed coffees to be exported, however increasing demand from the international market for semi washed and natural processed coffees has meant that in some instances non washed coffees have been given the green light for export.

  • One such instance is the Quindio Honey Project or Project Honey, the resulting 4 sacks (240kg) from the initial trials have made their way to Wellington and with it, a New Zealand exclusive offering and an all new profile for the flavour of Colombian speciality coffee as we’ve known it. The feedback provided from this initial trial has meant that the project has refined certain aspects of the processing and from this initial trail an additional 2100kg have been processed and is ready for roasting. This has meant that the producers who contributed to this have been remunerated according to the cup quality and in recognition to the significant effort they’ve put toward this new method of processing.

  • Gloria Pino of Finca Polo posing an epic Arnie pose. Gloria contributed to the Quindio Honey Project in both the trial and the secondary production. 

    Made up by 10 participating producers, across 13 farms from the smallest department in Colombia of Quindio, the coffee for this project was first laid down in November 2013. The results in the cup show great promise for future semi washed and natural coffees for Colombia. Scoring an impressive 87/100 for the first attempt, the coffee has a blackberry like aroma, a citrus acidity, with flavour notes green apple and grape with an orange sweetness. This coffee is a blend of different honey processed coffees including yellow, red and black and gives a complexity and unique flavour to the cup.

  • Honey processed parchment on the left verses fully washed dried parchment on the right. Honey gets its name from the sticky tacky-like nature the mucilage becomes during the drying process; it becomes like 'honey'. The varying degrees of honey process get its name from the colour the parchment turns during drying. Smaller amounts of mucilage left on the coffee before drying means the parchment will become either white-ish or yellow, the more mucilage left on the parchment means more fermentation can take place and the resulting colour will become darker, eg Red or Black and the more winey the flavour will become.

    In Risaralda, the Helena crew have been working on processing full naturals, of which we also cupped and the results are showing great promise, we’re also trailing full sundried naturals from friends of Helena and if the whopping 89/100 that our initial cupping is anything to go by, there’s some huge promise for these coffees.

    This project was made possible through the passion, inspiration and direction of Jason Galvis, the Director of Quality of our export partner Azahar Coffee in Colombia – Chur bro!

  • Our dear friend Jason Galvis from Azahar getting ready to lay prostrate before the coffee gods.

    For any further questions please feel free to comment or email me

    Have fun!


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