Doña Pilar

Naranja, Melon, Maple Syrup, Juicy

Alfonso – our head-roaster – set out last year to find the best coffees in Colombia. On his 10-day origin trip, he met with multiple farmers all over Colombia. With Fred Bertolone from Plurilateral Coffee, our exporting partner in Colombia, he had the chance to meet Lester Lerner from Old Willow Coffee Co. Lester took over the farm from his father and now runs it as the 3rd generation. He experimented with lots of fermentation techniques and produced some delicious coffees. We secured 3 lots from him; the first one we release is dedicated to his mom, Doña Pilar. It’s a micro-lot Castillo varietal fermented for 96 hours as a lactic fermentation (what is lactic fermentation? Find out more below). Think oranges, honeydew melon, heaps of heavy sweetness and mouthwatering juiciness. You’ll find this coffee only at miró. Limited availability.

Producer  Lester Lerner
Farm  El Imperial
Origin  Namay, Cundinamarca, Colombia
Process  Honey 96 hours lactic fermentation
Arabica Varietal  Castillo
Harvest  October-January 2021/22
Altitude of the farms  1550 masl
Roast Profile  light
Suited for  All Brews but ideal in Filter

Available sizes:


Doña Pilar

The farm

Lester family farm is called Finca El Imperial. It has belonged to the family since 1972 when Jorge Isaza acquired this land that was part of Hacienda Namay, a well-known coffee farm. From 1988, during the national coffee crisis, Vladimir Lerner, Don Jorge’s son in law, took over along with his wife, Pilar, and sow pitaya until 2004 when coffee became once more the main character of the landscape.

The Finca is located in Namay, a village or ”vereda” in the department of Cundinamarca, Colombia, with a temperate climate and an altitude of 1400 – 1900m above sea level. This place is ideal for growing orchids and a wide variety of fruit trees and of course, coffee.

The department of Cundinamarca constitutes a territory with a variety of geographical and ecosystem conditions that make this one of the regions with the greatest diversity of birds in the country. Over 940 bird species are found here.

The fermentation

There are many different yeasts and cultures involved in coffee production, and the one that dominates – meaning, the one that eats all the available sugars and reproduces – depends on the environment created during the fermentation process. To encourage a lactic fermentation, producers aim to create an environment that is ideal for the growth of lactobacillus cultures; the kind used in dairy production that generate lactic acids.

For a lactic fermentation, a coffee producer will select perfectly ripe cherries with the highest possible sugar content, then place those cherries in an anaerobic environment like a tank or sealed barrel. Throughout the fermentation process that follows, the producer will carefully monitor and control temperature, pH levels and available oxygen to achieve the right conditions for lactobacillus to flourish and dominate the fermentation.

Lactic fermentation can be used for whole cherries or pulped beans, so you might see the term combined with other processing methods, such as ‘Lactic Washed’, which means the coffee was pulped (to remove the skin and fruit) before it was lactic fermented and then dried, or ‘Lactic Natural’, which means the coffee was lactic fermented and dried with the cherry skin and fruit still intact. The lot we have is a ‘Lactic Honey’, meaning that a part of the pulp is removed but not all of it. Lester fermented this for 96 hours using this method. Lactic processing often creates sweet, fruity and creamy flavours, but it can also produce a more complex, clean and fruit-forward cup without strong pulpy or winey notes.