Producer: 8 smallholder producers
Origin: Popayan, Cauca
Varietal: Colombia, Castillo
Altitude: 1720-1900 metres above sea level
Process: 16 hours dry fermentation, then washed 3-4 times
Flavours: Plum, Stone Fruit, Cherry, Nutmeg, Treacle
SCAA Score: 85
Where is it from?
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 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 Popayan regional lot is made up of 8 small producers in the region and harvested between May and July. Popayan is the capital of the Cauca Department; the name comes from the indigenous Quecha people from the word "Pampayán" meaning ‘Valley of the River’. The altitude of 1700 masl and fertile soils provide the perfect conditions for growing coffee, though in an area that was until quite recently, heavily influenced by guerrilla activity.
Through agronomy training and support the farmers have learnt optimum picking practices, selecting only when it is at its ripest, depending on the varietal. After picking, the coffee is de-pulped on a small machine on the individual farms before undergoing a dry fermentation for 16 hours to loosen the mucilage. After this the coffee is then washed 3 – 4 times to clean it before being dried in parabolic tents for between 8 – 12 days where they move the coffee three times a day to ensure an even and consistent drying. Once the coffee has dried down to below 11% the farmers then let the coffee rest for 20 days before delivering to the local collection point. Here it is graded and checked for the correct moisture before being cupped and allocated to the corresponding quality level.
This coffee scored a very high 85 in SCAA cupping. It produces a sweet cup body with flavours of plum, stone fruit, cherry, nutmeg and treacle. Perfect for both espresso and filter.
AeroPress, Cafetire, Pour Over, Espresso