Julio Cesar Madrid
Black plum, pear, and chocolate cake.
Finca Milan: Sitting at an elevation of 1600 meters above sea level, Finca Milan proudly sits in Vereda El Hogarin in the municipality of Pereira--part of Colombia's famed Risaralda growing region. Nestled in by the Los Nevados Natural National Park--a 58,300-hectare reserve, the Nevado del Ruiz volcano complex. This bestows on Finca Milan an abundance of native and thriving biodiversity, pollinators, and healthy waterways. With enviable positioning and altitude, the temperature at Finca Milan is stable, ranging between 18-28C all year round!
Varietal variety: In most cases, farms will cultivate one varietal or maybe two. This will generally be a decision not made by farmers but for farmers, dictated by environmental conditions such as altitude, price point, quality, soil and disease. But thanks to Julio's experience and Finca Milan's incredible coffee goldilocks zone, Castillo, Colombia, Caturra, Catiope, Red Bourbon, and Pink Bourbon varietals are all grown side by side.
A family business with a difference: Julio Madrid is a third-generation coffee producer seeking rare and unusual varietals to showcase in Colombia. Varietals displaying nuance and complexity are of particular appeal--Sudan Rume, Yirgacheffe, Laurina and Pink Bourbon, to name a few.
Julio's daughter Maria (are we at four generations now?!) is a qualified biologist who has significantly impacted how Julio picks and processes coffee. With extensive research on the organoleptic impacts of using microbial starter cultures in coffee fermentation, she has become an indispensable part of the Finca Milan team. Her contributions are directly felt...or tasted, as the case may be!
Maria's contributions have further elevated Julio's coffee's quality, consistency and complexity, with Brix sugar content and PH ranges recorded throughout the harvest period. This particular coffee ranges from 24-28 Brix and 5.6 and 5.9 PH. Brix is a measure of dissolved solids in liquid most commonly used to measure the dissolved sugar in an aqueous solution. The Brix scale is traditionally and most widely used in the wine, sugar, carbonated beverage and syrup industries.
Brix in the field: When sucrose and other sugars dissolve in an aqueous solution, changes occur in the specific gravity of the solution and its optical properties. As levels of concentration increase, so too does the extent to which it rotates the plane of linearly polarised light. Julio and his team at Finca Madrid calibrate their pocket-size refractometer to Brix, allowing them to take measurements, maintain control, and ensure consistency easily.
Process: Once Brix and Ph are tested, the cherry is picked and fermented in collection bags. This lasts 36 hours, after which coffee is turned out and floated in fresh water, making removing an unripe or defective cherry easy. Following fermentation, cherries are spread out in direct sunlight for quick and active drying before being moved to shaded beds for 24 days.