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Jairo Arcila: Ice Process

  • 4 min read

Colombia Jairo Arcila: Shop Here

For this years Glasgow Coffee Festival, we wanted to source a coffee that embodies the magic of the weekend. After searching high and low, and tasting a lot of coffee, we decided on this delicious Pink Bourbon grown by Jairo Arcila, at Villarazo in Armenia, Quindo, Colombia. This coffee utilises a unique processing method called Ice Process. But before we get in to that, let's find out a bit more about this coffee.


Quindío is one of the three departments of Colombia which make up the famed Coffee Triangle (also known as the Coffee Zone or Coffee Belt) in Colombia, alongside Caldas and Risaralda. The Coffee Triangle is known for producing the majority of Colombia's coffee and the cultivation of coffee has resulted in huge development in this area. Armenia, where this coffee is grown, is the capital city of Quindío and despite Quindío being the second smallest Colombian region, it is one of the main centres of the national economy and of the Colombian coffee growing axis. As a result, the historic centre of Armenia was named as part of the Coffee Cultural Landscape of UNESCO World Heritage Site. (Bonus fun fact: Quindío is home to the National Coffee Park, a theme park based around coffee and coffee production)

Terroir & Altitude

The Quindío department consists entirely of mountainous and volcanic landscape. Over a period of time, volcanic deposits leave rich, nutrient-dense, highly fertile soil. In fact, volcanic deposits can develop into some of the richest agricultural lands on earth. Volcanic soil consists of all of the nutrients coffee needs to thrive and is also incredibly light and fluffy, allowing for better drainage. Due to its volcanic soil, Quindío generally produces coffee with fruity and herbal notes and medium acidity. A common comment frequently made by new converts to volcanic soil coffee is that the brew is incredibly smooth with a soft finish and can be deeper and richer in flavour. The altitude of Quindío ranges from 1400-2000m, with this coffee being grown at 1400-1450m. High altitude coffee tends to have better, more complex favours than coffee of lower altitudes. The cooler temperatures at high altitudes and shade provided by the surrounding rainforests delays the growth cycle of the coffee plant, allowing the cherries to
mature slowly and creating much fuller, richer and more pronounced flavours.


Standing out in every way, from the striking pink colour of its cherries to the extremely sweet and complex favour of its beans, the Pink Bourbon variety is a hybrid between Red Bourbon and Yellow Bourbon. It is a rare and coveted coffee. It has greater resistance to leaf rust and other disease than either the yellow or red variety, tends to have a good amount of yield and doesn’t require much fertiliser. Pink Bourbon is also known for its bright, floral flavour and can take on a fruity punch.


Jairo Arcila is the main lead of Cofinet, an importer/exporter, establishing a direct link with the farmers in his network – with this particular lot being grown under the keen eye of Jairo himself. Jairo is a civil engineer and third-generation coffee grower. As a child he used to hang out around coffee plantations with his dad and he even remembers harvesting coffee for fun. Jairo initially worked in coffee at Colombia's second largest coffee exporter as their Mill Manager for 40 years. At that time, he bought his first farm and started growing coffee. He was very curious about growing coffee and very quickly learned how to increase his coffee production by 25%. Jairo also realised how important the use of fertilisers is to plant health and how correct application can lead to higher quality coffees that are suitable for export. In 2014, through his employer at the dry mill, Jairo gained access to Gesha seeds. Despite his lack of knowledge of speciality coffee at the time, Jairo decided to plant 3000 Gesha trees at his farm. Back then, it was only the second Gesha plantation in Quindio and he was one of the first 10 growers to produce Gesha in Colombia. Jairo founded Cofinet with his sons, Carlos and Felipe and the reins of Cofinet are now with them - allowing Jairo to do more small scale projects like look after this micro-lot and develop this experimental coffee processes. He now owns five farms; Esmeralda, Villarazo, Santa Monica, Maracay and Buenos Aires - providing jobs to locals in Quindío.


Ice fermentation is a relatively new, experimental processing method that was developed by coffee producer Jairo Arcila and his sons and co-owners of Cofinet, Felipe and Carlos Arcila. This coffee was exposed to a dry aerobic fermentation of 24 hours. This fermentation begins as soon as a coffee is picked, due to the presence of water, sugar, bacteria, and yeast. Leaving the fruit on the coffee during this phase allows for the sugars and acids in the coffees mucilage to convert into different sugars, acids, CO2, ethyl alcohol, and other compounds. This imparts sweet and fruity flavours on the coffee. The coffee is then placed inside grainpro bags for 50 hours, maintaining a temperature below 22 degrees while fermentation continues. Afterwards, the coffee is frozen for 72 hours, before being placed on raised beds below 35 degrees to thaw and dry until ideal
moisture content is achieved.


This processing method creates a unique flavour profile that has to be tasted to be believed. Check out our Glasgow Coffee Festival programme to find out when we are brewing this amazing coffee on our stand. Even better, you'll get to meet Jairo's son Carlos on the Dear Green stand at the festival!