Welcome to Bright Jenny’s Producer Spotlight! As a roastery that purchases coffee through Canadian coffee importers, we don’t have the face to face opportunities with producers that come with direct purchasing relationships. Fortunately for us, many of the importers we work with prioritize sharing producer’s stories in depth! So, to kick things off on this new series - Imported by Apex Coffee Imports, we couldn’t be more excited to share Frank Torres’ Natural Caturra (and story) with y’all!
“Frank Rivas Torres is a coffee producer, Q Grader, and the primary manager of his family’s estate, Finca La Indonesia, in the Nariño department of Colombia. Frank has two brothers (Juan Angel who helps at the farm and Gabriel who is a chef and owns a hamburger restaurant in the town of La Union) and a sister (Yorgeny who is a pastry chef and recently started a specialty cupcake bakery in La Union).
Frank is now in charge of all coffee production across the La Indonesia property, which was handed down from their grandfather, Marco Antonio Torres. The estate comprises several plots of land located just outside of La Union and is farmed conventionally although with great care and attention to environment and sustainable land stewardship.
The family has a long history in coffee, with Frank’s grandfather being one of the first people to cultivate coffee in La Union more than 80 years ago. Frank and his siblings grow coffee alongside fruits and many different trees for shade at La Indonesia, with an emphasis on preserving soil quality and responsible water management. He hopes to continue re-investment in his farm and is currently working to save money to construct a new wet mill facility to better process washed coffees for himself and for the neighbours that he assists.
New this season for Frank is the formation of a brand new export company called Native Seeds which is a partnership between himself and his business partner, Francy Castillo (of Finca El Uberrimo in Berruecos). They started this business to better profit from the sale of their coffees as well as help other farmers in their area with access to a market of specialty coffee buyers since there are very few international buyers operating in an equitable way in the areas of La Union or Berruecos. Apex is their first client and we are so proud to support them in this new venture.”
- Jeff Fleming, Apex Coffee Imports
The Torres family is no stranger to Bright Jenny, with Frank’s coffee being the third we’ve had the fortune of featuring over the years. You may remember Frank’s sister Yorgeny Torres’ coffee back in the spring of 2021, with it’s deep hibiscus, plum, notes, balanced by a unique bartlett pear sweetness that had our heads practically spinning.
In the summer of 2022, Frank & his brother Gabriel’s blend graced the shelves as ‘Hermanos Torres’. We were blown away by the punchy Maraschino Cherry-ness in the cup, followed suit by this crazy Citrus Candy situation. Many of us here at Bright Jenny have a thing for Colombian Coffees; the Torres family has produced some of the finest we’ve had the opportunity of indulging in over the years.
"I enjoy experimenting with processing and finding exotic and perfectly layered flavors in coffee, but I have learned over the years that the successful experiment is the one that you can repeat which means to understand each step and make it efficient. The rest is a matter of taste preferences. Indeed, there is nothing like a perfectly balanced, bright and sweet coffee that stands out for unique flavors brought by a complexity of the terroir and genetics of the variety with a bit of care and knowledge into the processing.”
- Frank Torres
Natural processed coffees have a bit of a reputation of being all over the map where flavour is concerned, but when you have the opportunity to taste one as refined, controlled, and picture perfect as Frank’s - it tends to be quite memorable. Of the top, we were stricken with intense Fruity Pebbles notes, followed by that unmistakable Neapolitan Ice Cream sweetness, which slowly transitions back into a rich Dark Chocolate.
To achieve such clarity and vibrance is only a further indication that Frank’s operation is one that is refined and highly technical. Largely, this type of expression in a coffee can be a reflection of not only the farm’s terroir, but also an indication of the refined and mastered practices throughout the production process. Jeff expands more on this coffee’s specific journey below:
“Harvested cherries are measured for their sugar content, ensuring a reading of 22 degrees Brix is reached before picking. Selected ripe cherries are floated in water to remove defects before being washed in a mixture of water and alcohol. The cherries are then put into food-grade plastic tanks where they undergo a period of fermentation for 100–120 hours. Afterwards, the cherries are rinsed with clean water and alcohol and dried for approximately 20 days on covered patios until the humidity level reaches 10-11%.”
Frank’s coffee is available in-store & online today! Visit either Bright Jenny Laurel or Kirschner, and you’ll also find it on the pour over menu if you’d like to give it a go :)