The Andes are incredible steep and between the narrow roads you’ll find Takesi. The farm is situated along the hillside in a valley 1,700 to 2,600 metres above sea level which not only makes it beautiful, but it also makes you realise how challenging it can be, to grow coffee in this type of terrain. That said, the people of the region have for generations actively been using the sharp slopes to process their food. For instance, they have grown potatoes in a certain height, then harvested and carried them upwards to dehydrate. This way the potatoes will keep. A method parallel to what used to be practised in Scandinavia, when we would salt or preserve the food in other ways.
Walking the soil at Takesi, it feels soft and bouncy, and what really sets Takesi apart from other farms is the 1,5-meter layer of humus on the mountainside, which is partially decomposed organic matter. This soil is very unique and provides nourishment to the coffee trees, and can be one of the reasons, the leaves are so thick and the coffee so complex.
During my visit, I met up with Marianna Iturralde who is the owner of the farm and Juan Condarco who is the farm manager. They gave me the honour of helping to plant Java trees in 2,300 metres above sea level, with the purpose of testing how the coffee sort will grow in these heights. When planting the trees fertilizer was also given to the soil. The main part got a conventional fertilizer, but 1/3 got an organic fertilizer. A thing that crossed my mind, which probably is a normal thing in this area, is, that they used Lama droppings as organic fertiliser. Whereas in Denmark we would use droppings from chickens or cows instead.
It is usual for Specialty Coffee Farmers to test and experiment. And these days a lot of very interesting coffees derives from experiments of new fermentation processes. However, Takesi has chosen to focus primarily on finetuning the product they have to extreme perfection, instead of making large-scale experiments with new process methods. This results in an impressive refined taste experience, especially among the varieties Geisha and Catuaí, which we have bought to serve in our shops.
The Geisha and Catuaí have been processed by the classic washed method. Takesi has chosen to go back to this method using fermentation instead of the mechanical demucilator to remove the mucilage from the coffee beans. Despite finding the mechanical demucilator consistent, the fermentation gives a higher quality with low oscillations. It put emphasis on the acidity of the coffee adding an elegant refreshing character to the intense floral aromas of their Geisha coffee.
The overall experience has left the positive impression, that the managers of Takesi have chosen their strategy wisely to offer uniqueness by finetuning and refining the good classic washed coffee to an unparalleled level.
If you would like to taste the coffee yourself, you can get it at our coffee shops or buy the beans for a lovely home brew. Here, Peter is making filter coffee for everyone at the Takesi farm.