Finca La Mata de Guadua is in the vereda of Aguacates, outside the town proper. It is a fitting name, as Urrao is the "Salad Bowl of Colombia", and of late the local price of avocados has incentivized many farmers in the area to tear out their coffee trees in favor of this new lucrative crop. Alexander Zapata is a young man, and this raw potential of decades of work ahead is magnified by his unwavering commitment to coffee. The property at its lowest point, where it adjoins the road, sees diversification: passionfruit, pineapple, some cattle, and yes, avocado. But across the Río Penderisco via a small wood and earth footbridge, the property quickly rises and here coffee remains entrenched. With 6,000 trees on just under two hectares, Don Alexander is a producer of an especially small-scale sort which is common to the area. What is lacking in quantity from farms here is more than made up for in quality, his chiroso is grown and prepared in the old manner with careful, attentive ripe pickings, long, controlled fermentation times, and finally dried slowly on infrastructure well-suited for quality.
Andres Restrepo has long been the coöperative buyer for the Urrao office of COOCAFISA, the association from which many of our purchases in this area originally passed through. His vetting work in this capacity, grading and cupping the thousands of samples he receives each harvest, has been the first step in our discovery of every one of our Urrao producer partnerships. He was among, along with Pedro and Léo of our exporting partners Pergamino, the first to recognize the unique taxonomy and flavor profile of chiroso. Having grown his experience, gained some financial independence, and started a family, Andres decided that the time was finally right to fulfill his lifelong dream of owning a farm. He has named it Asmodel (" Az-mo-del ") after the saint of patience. His time at the coöp exposed him first hand to the successes and failures, strengths and weaknesses, of his neighbors' farms. He chose to plant chiroso, drawing on this knowledge to apply the perfect processing to complete the stunning flavor profile. He cultivates 4,000 trees over 1.5 hectares, depulping then fermenting ripe cherries for 48 hours before washing, then drying on raised parabolic beds.