Jose Ignacio Gomez’s farm is located in Vereda el Naranjal near the town of Buescao in the Nariño department. Paraiso’s Caturra variety of coffee grows at altitudes of 1900 meters above sea level and sees an average rainfall of 1800mm per year. Jose grew up in a coffee producing family and has developed a good palate and an eye for good coffee. He grows coffee on six and a half hectares alongside oranges, lemons, and avocados. During the harvest, he, his family and team of trained harvesters hand pick the ripe red cherry and process the harvest in their own micro wet mill on the farm.
Several years ago, Jose Ignacio built a custom solar dryer on the farm near the wet mill. Three tiers of raised drying beds are arranged under the plastic roof, which allows light to enter and the farm’s crosswinds to control the temperature by passing through the open ends of the dryer. Jose oriented the dryer precisely to use the crosswinds for this temperature control purpose. When coffee is first harvested, in the case of Naturals, or dried, in the case of Honey and Washed lots, it is placed on the lowest bed. As it dries, it is moved to the top tier, where it remains until it reaches the desired humidity and is ready to be transferred to the bodega storage area for a period of rest prior to export known as reposo, when all the flavors that will be perceived in the cup stabilize. Carlos Alberto is Finca El Paraiso’s farm manager and a childhood friend of Jose’s. Carlos is in charge of monitoring the drying process and moving the coffees between tiers as the drying process progresses.
Jose is always looking to experiment and improve production, so he was eager to try planting Geisha trees on his property, as several of his colleagues have done. Nestled among the other varietals, Paraiso’s Geisha trees are part of the farm’s greater ecosystem and part of Jose’s ongoing trials to measure the success of different kinds of coffee, both in terms of agronomic performance (yield, pest and plague resistance) and in terms of appeal to final roaster clients, both in variety and process.