Colombia is a coffee heavyweight producing around 11 million bags per year. This volume places it third globally behind Vietnam and Brazil in total production. For this reason, Colombia is often intimately associated with coffee by consumers. Colombia’s coffee production is extremely unique in that it has no easily definable harvest season. The two mountain ranges that run north to south across the length of the country are used as the defining borders between regions. This physical division creates individual microclimates that drastically impact the seasons of the coffee trees and result in an origin that is harvesting 365 days a year.
Production in Colombia is very much dominated by smallholders that band together into cooperatives and growers associations. This means the vast majority of coffee in Colombia comes in big lots that contain coffee from many growers. This is further complicated by the fact that the majority of coffee is processed on the farm by the producers. Depending on the mindset and skill of the individual producer, you may have great coffee being mixed with average coffee. Furthermore, it is common to get variance in humidity level and bean density which can impact the overall quality of the lot. While many of these Coop lots are of extremely high quality, it has been the mission of the speciality industry to isolate and separate the coffee from the very best producers.
The size and complexity of the Colombian coffee industry make it one of the most exciting and undiscovered origins in the world today.
This micro-lot comes from the Narino department which sits in the South West of Colombia and borders Ecuador. It has a really varied climate according to altitude – it can be extremely hot and humid in the Pacific plains but high in the mountains temperatures drop dramatically. Coffee grows here at some of the highest altitudes in Colombia, with some areas reaching 2200 metres above sea level.
The region of Buesaco is known for its quality of coffee producing lots that have placed in the cup of excellence in Colombia. This producer group is made up of 420 smallholders from the towns of Juanambú, Buesaco Centro, SantaMaría, El Naranjal. Of these growers, 52 have been selected to be part of the ‘Café Con Altura’ program run by the producer group. These growers have received extra support regarding infrastructure and education as they have been identified to produce exceptional coffees. The smallholders here typically produce a washed that undergoes fermentation for 12-16 hours before being dried on rooftops or on raised African beds for 8-14 days weather depending. Producers have been experimenting with fermentation times h looking at ways to produce the most interesting and diverse profiles. At the high altitudes in Narino they have opted for longer and slower fermentation times depending on the temperatures.
This coffee scored a very high 85.5 in SCAA cupping. It is roasted to a light/medium profile with flavour notes of lime, orange, peach and cane sugar.
AeroPress, V60, Chemex, French Press as well as Espresso
Big fan. Have to confess these beans did not last me long. I felt quiet conflicted making this coffee for guests. Happy to impress but slightly aggrieved to share. The roast was a day old when it arrived and has really improved over the course of the week. It could be that my taste buds have become accustomed to flavour, it wouldn’t be surprising given how I’ve been scoffing it. Either way the taste has softened slightly over the course of the last 5 days and I’ve just ordered my second bag. Well yum.