Licho's is a coffee that I feel shows our development as a roaster over the years. We first bought this coffee in the Cup of Excellence program (a great way to meet a grower). Back then we bought it from an import broker; they helped us bring this coffee in because we are a small buyer. Now we buy directly from the farm!
Four years ago, I went out to the farm and did the deal then and there with the brothers. I love the fact that I simply walked onto the farm after cupping a particular lot in the exporter's office, asked how much they wanted, and there was a short conference. They came back and told me how much they wanted, and we shook hands. Then we got back into the 4x4 and drove away. That year we agreed to a European-exclusive deal with them for this coffee, and this year we continue the close work we have been doing with them.
Grown by the Aguilera family in the province of Naranjo, in the volcanic Northern Cordiles corridor of the Western Valley, this coffee is cultivated at an altitude of 1,500 metres above sea level.
The Aguileras are twelve brothers and sisters, all of whom are involved in coffee as inherited from their parents. The brothers work the mill and farms themselves with basically no hired labour except for pickers during the harvest. With the help of the third generation, they work the mill and drying patios, prune the coffee fields, fertilise, and so on; and they do it all year round. The Aguilera brothers understand quality at the farm and mill level, and this is why we are excited about working with them.
This is a really elegant example of a naturally processed coffee. There's a creamy body with currants and figs, and just a little shoulder of nut. As the dried fruit slips away, there's a hit of brandy on the aftertaste.