Colombia Finca El Paraiso - Diego Bermudez
DIEGO SAMUEL BERMUDEZ
Diego Samuel started with his coffee growing project Finca El Paraiso in 2008. To him growing coffee was fascinating, he would love visiting his friend’s farms and see them growing coffee. No one in his family grew coffee at that time so he says that he’s been adopted by the coffee growing industry. His family owned a farm that was isolated so Diego saw the opportunity to grow coffee there and after getting the permission of his family to start growing coffee he begins a 2.5 hectares project while doing his studies on Agricultural Enterprise Management. Selling his coffee to the local cooperatives allowed him to pay his studies and start evolving as coffee producer. After asking himself about why he couldn’t afford other things than his studies out of the coffee sold from his farm. He decides to start building a network going to different shows in different regions meeting people and realised that there were other ways to produce coffee in different qualities, from different varieties and submitting them to different contests.
In 2015 he participates for the first time in a regional contest where he gets first place, thanks to this he starts to get better recognition for his coffees which gave him the motivation to keep growing excellent coffees.
Today through his company Indestec (Innovación y Desarrollo Tecnológico para la Caficultura) Diego has managed to create new innovative technologies in order to keep the consistency of his great cup profiles not only from his farm but neighbour farms from his family and friends. He says that he likes to be out of the comfort zone as this has been always helped him to keep evolving.
Diego grows in his farm Bourbon, Laurina, Gesha, Castillo and Colombia and plans on growing more varietals. He expects to keep participating in this kind of contests as this has been the way to promote his work and establish new commercial relationships.
FINCA EL PARAISO
Diego Bermudez is a multi award winning Colombian coffee producer, he has carefully selected and processed a small lot of 200kg of his best cherries with his innovative fermentation and experimental anaerobic washed process.
El Paraiso is located in the department of Cauca Colombia. It is characterised by its climate - humid with high incidence of Pacific winds that contributes to the solid growth of quality coffee cherries.
As he likes to say, Diego has been adopted by the coffee growing industry! Diego’s family did not grow coffee, but he has been fascinated by his friends’s farm from a very early age. As he studied Agri-Business Management, Diego convinced his family to let him plant coffee trees on a small parcel of their farm (2,5 hectare plot). This is how Diego started in the coffee industry: he cultivated his trees and sold his cherries to local cooperatives, which allowed him to pay for his studies.
In 2012, after graduating, Diego and his family funded Indestec, which now owns and operate five Fincas across Cauca and cultivate coffee trees over 70 hectares. Their goal was to develop and promote a competitive and sustainable agriculture through the development of technology solutions.
Coffee is a natural product, but much happens during its processing - from cherry to cup. To be in a position to ensure a stable quality coffee harvest over harvest, Diego and his team started to analyse all processing steps. Diego became a certified Level 2 Q Processing Professional, which allows him to see and understand how pH, temperature and microorganisms affect coffee cup profiles.
After tackling the drying process, they developed fermentation labs where they grow microorganisms, like Saccharomyces, Lactobacillus, Leuconostoc, and built fermentation tanks. Every variable of the fermentation is controlled and optimised: from the yeast they add, to the time the cherries ferment, the temperature of the tank or of the water. One of their process includes, for instance:
- 48 hours anaerobic fermentation of cherries in tanks with relief valve at 18°C
- 96 hours anaerobic fermentation of pulped cherries (with mucilage) at 18°C
- first wash at 40°C to create a thermic shock
- second wash at 12°C
- 34 hours drying at 35°C and 25% humidity, until the beans reach 10-11% moisture
Indestec is also - and maybe foremost - a family story. The Bermudez are a very tight knit family. Diego works on the farm alongside his two brothers and his wife. His children are still going to school, but keep an eye on their Dad’s business.