Colombia Zarza Thermal Shock

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Farm/Producer: Jhonathan Gasca

Region: Colombia, Bruselas, Huila

Process:  Thermal shock washed

Altitude: 1400 masl

Variety: Pacamara

Cup Profile: Vanilla chamomile, cherry bubblegum, jam biscuit

Background info: 

This is our first Colombian release for 2024 and we wanted it to be something special and unique. So we ventured beyond our familiar producers and placed our trust in our Colombian partner and good friends Sabores. They presented us with a new producer making waves in the industry and barista competitions; Jhonathan Gasca and his Zarza farm.  

Zarza Coffee is associated with the family name "Gasca" and relates to the Zarza, a Zarzamora bush that interweaves strength and family unity. The journey for Jhonathan was challenging and early attempts at experimenting with fermentation processes failed which resulted in being turned away by many coffee buyers. In 2018 he was encouraged by friends from El Divisio and Las Flores to give it another shot, and has quickly become a leader in processing innovation in his home country. 

Let's talk about this innovative processing ie Thermal Shock. Essentially it consists of rapid heating of the liquid, i.e. juices in the reactor, and subsequently violently cooling of grains.

The coffee first goes through a floatation process where they sort through the ripe cherries. Then it goes through a 24-hour oxidation process at an average room temp of 25 degrees celsius. It is then placed in sealed containers for 60 hours at an average temp of 16 - 18 degrees celsius.

The coffee is then pulped and goes through the Thermal Shock process,  water at 60°C is added, and then water at 12°C. This process slows down the fermentation process in a cooler temperature preserving the sweetness from the extra sugars without the risk of spoilage. The coffee is then washed and dried in canopies or machines at a maximum temperature of 30°C to 36°C for about 8 to 12 days to reach 11% humidity levels.

What we found in the cup was a burst of refined flavours. An aroma and initial taste of vanilla and chamomile on the filter gets amplified to notes of cherry bubblegum through espresso. This espresso combined with milk gives us a taste reminiscent of strawberry whirls jam biscuits.