We’re continuing the Feature Program with another coffee from Hex Coffee: La Folie. As with the Ivan Molano that we featured previously, La Folie is also a washed processed coffee. (If you are unsure what it means for a coffee to be a “washed processed,” see the last blog post—Ivan Molano—for more information.) The tasting notes for La Folie are baked pear, caramel, and apricot, flavors of which truly come through on both drip and espresso.
It is a mix of Bourbon and Caturra varieties of coffee. We touched on Caturra beans in our previous post (known for its bright acidity and low to medium body), so we’ll provide a little more information on the Bourbon variety. Bourbon is a varietal of Arabica coffee beans and is known for its overall sweetness. Bourbon coffees generally have a gentle, fruity overtone and a crisp acidity, which is where the pear and apricot come into play. It is also commonly associated with caramel flavors as well. Bourbon is a popular variety among coffee growers, and generally yields quality and well-balanced coffee. (Also, as a side note, Caturra is a dwarf mutation of Bourbon, so the two plants share similar characteristics.)
La Folie is a farm in Antigua, Guatemala. It is a 50%/50% mix of Bourbon and Caturra trees, but the farm’s manager, Byron Orizábal, prefers the Caturra variety for its disease resistance and cup quality. The oldest trees at La Folie are 40 years old, but Byron has implemented a re-planting renovation of the trees; they also undergo an aggressive pruning every three years. The pruning helps with disease resistance, and it helps to increase the tree’s overall production levels.
La Folie is owned by Mari-Ann Urruela, but run and managed by Zelcafé, which is who Hex has a relationship with. Zelcafé is owned by the Zalaya family, who own a farm at the foot of the Vulcan de Agua volcano called Bella Vista. The Zalayas have grown their coffee company by managing neighboring coffee farms, teaching coffee farmers around them how to improve their quality. This, in turn, allows the farmers to make more money on their products. When talking with Tanner Morita of Hex Coffee, he said this of the Zalaya family: “Over time, Zelcafé has been able to successfully transition the business into solely focusing on specialty coffee. For the Zelaya family, their coffee endeavors are not only about business; they aim to provide a good basis for generations of their family and community to come. With this in mind, they are constantly looking for ways to provide jobs to as many families in their communities as possible, as well as supplying the best quality coffee they can to their clients.”
Bella Vista, owned by the Zalayas, buys cherries from farms and manages farms that owners don’t know how to manage themselves. They plan, execute, and monitor the resources of every individual farm they manage. They buy the coffee cherries at a premium, as well as provide any technical assistance and financing the farm may need. They are constantly looking for ways to reduce their chemical footprint as well as ensure sustainability, and they work to provide farms with the knowledge they have gained from years of experience.
Bella Vista encourages its workers to pursue a proper education for themselves, and in some cases, they even provide the funds for that to happen. They also offer different workshops at their facility.
Hex Coffee has been working with Zelcafé (and therefore La Folie) since 2015, and have been first-hand witnesses to the improvement of quality in the coffee that they receive year after year.
We are eager for you all to experience the truly great cup of coffee that is La Folie. We hope to see you in for a cup soon!