Colombia

Colombia is a diverse group of growing regions spread from North to South along the three "cordilleras," the mountain ranges that are the Northern extensions of the Andes. Colombian coffees can be outstanding. Most coffee, especially from the Southern growing areas of Huila, Cauca, Narino and Tolima, comes from small family farms, and when the picking and processing are done well they can be exceptional: Silky body, cane sugar sweetness, floral hints and traces of tropical fruits are found in the best Colombia coffees.

Colombia Familia Guerra - La Gallineta
$6.50
$12.35
$28.28
Clumps of unripe Caturra - Colombia
Arrival dateMarch 2014 Arrival
Appearance.2 d/300g; 15+ screen
GradeExcelso
ProcessingWet Process (Washed)
RegionAntioquia Departemento
Varietal(s)Caturra
Intensity/Prime attributeMedium Intensity/Juicy fruits, developed sugars, layered cocoa
RoastCity to Full City is great for brewed coffee; Full City and beyond works well as SO espresso.
The Guerra family are 3rd generation coffee farmers in the Antioquia Departemento in the central region of Colombia. Their farm, "Las Mercedes", is on the large side (around 150 hectares for coffee alone), and is split into several plots, which are even then broken down into separate lots within the plot. It gets a little confusing, but for instance, La Gallineta (this coffee) is from the plateau of Plot #10. There are many plots and lots, and needless to say, it can be quite a chore to keep track of all this separation. So they're enlisted the help of a local cooperative to make sure lots are separated (as well as with exporting), and then tagged so they can be traced back to that particular part of the farm. This is quite a system, and of course affords the buyer an opportunity to taste the different levels of quality coming out of the various farm sectors. La Gallineta is comprised entirely of Caturra. It's fully washed, fermented for 15 hours, and then sun-dried. We picked up another lot from a different part of the farm as well, and they're cup profiles are quite divergent. We'll have some up a little later in the Spring.
This coffee has a structured sweetness in the cup that is alluded to throughout the aromatic profile. There's a smell of butter cookies in the ground coffee, with a culmination of butter and unrefined sugar. This sweetness is found in both light and darker roasts, along with dried fruits like apple and plum. The wet aroma also has a sort of cookie smell to it, most like butterscotch brownie. Breaking the crust reveals notes of dried stone fruits, and maple candy. This coffee is truly candy sweet, and the cup boasts heaping doses of buttery caramel and honey. Light roasts have a refreshing flavor of apple juice, golden plum replete with the tart skin, and also vibrant, malic acidity. Flavors of cocoa also come about and are especially present in the already sweet finish. Even at Full City, this coffee's sweetness is like fruit nectar - thick and syrupy, and with caramel sugar and malt chocolate. This is a full bodied cup of coffee, and at Full City and beyond, this makes a fantastic SO espresso - viscous, chocolatey, and with a apple juice-like brightess.
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Colombia Familia Guerra - La Isla
$6.70
$12.73
Final flowers just above a clump of coffee cherry; Colombia
Arrival dateMarch 2014 Arrival
Appearance.2 d/300g; 15+ screen
GradeExcelso
ProcessingWet Process (Washed)
RegionAntioquia Departamento
Varietal(s)Caturra
Intensity/Prime attributeMedium to Bold Intensity/Fruit forward, structured sweetness, refreshing acidity
RoastCity to Full City, this one's versatile in the roaster.
The Guerra family are 3rd generation coffee farmers in the Antioquia Departemento in the central region of Colombia. Their farm, "Las Mercedes", is on the large side (around 150 hectares for coffee alone), and is split into several plots, which are even then broken down into separate lots within the plot. Sound confusing? Well, for instance, one of the coffees we picked up from them this year came from a plateau within one particular lot#. La Isla is from another part of the farm, and the small area is perched at about 1700 meters, and planted entirely in Caturra. The Guerra family is working with a local cooperative to help them with ensuring that lots are not only kept separate through the processing stages, but also properly identified in order to retain provenance within the rather large farm. It's a big job, but in the end gives the buyer an opportunity to taste the different levels of quality coming out of the various farm sectors.
Wow, the dry grounds really set the tone for what has turned out to be one of the more exciting Colombia coffees we brought in this year. Light roasts have a big scent of honey and florals, with sweet fruit notes like raspberry, white grape, and Valencia oranges. The wet aromatics are so sweet and bold, with floral honey and allusions to ripening stone fruit. There's a real retronasal response to be experienced here, you can nearly taste honey, butterscotch, and tropical fruit candies when breaking through the crust. The cup is very fruit-forward, with notes of Comice pear, honey tangerine, white grape juice, and plum jam. There's a structured sugar sweetness too, like simple syrup. City to City+ roasts are very complex, and with acidity that lies somewhere between pear and apple juice. Dark roasts harness more roast flavors and develop a cocoa powder, chocolate note, but still remain very complex and fruited. Body is also definitely bolstered with roast, and Full City roasts as espresso are extremely creamy, with thick sweetness, and with a tart cranberry-like acidic 'pop' (and this was a pretty fast pull!). Great dual-use Colombia.
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Colombia Narino Buesaco
$6.10
$11.59
$26.54
$50.63
$96.94
Coffee cherry selection in Narino
Arrival dateDecember 2013 Arrival
Appearance.2 d/300gr, 15+ screen
GradeSHB EP Prep
ProcessingWet Process (Washed)
RegionBuesaco, Narino
Varietal(s)Bourbon, Caturra
Intensity/Prime attributeMild Intensity/Complex sugar sweetness, fruit pectin, malic
RoastCity+ through Full City+ works well

The small town of Buesaco is on the Pacific Coast side of Colombia in the greater Departament of Narino. This is a very unique part of Colombia in that coffee can be grown at extremely high altitudes due to the climate that is a result of being in close proximity to the Equator. This particular lot is made up from a few small-holders in the area, all producing coffee on less than 2 hectares each. Production involves hand-crank depulpers, and the coffee is fermented and washed onsite, and then laid out on covered drying beds. A simple method producing very solid results.

This coffee from Buesaco has an interesting scent to it, lightly fruited and sweet, and with a uniquely sweet smell of fresh bread right out of the grinder. There's an inciting smell of fresh pumpernickel, like dark sugars and caraway seed. It combines well with notes of caramel sauce and with plum fruit and concord grape. Hot water brings on a smell of Pecan pie, deeply sweet like it's saturated with brown sugar and butter. There's a maltiness in darker roasts, that is like sugar in the raw. The cup is smooth, sweet, and with a touch of malic tartness in the acidity. There is a lactic quality too that reminds me of fresh cream caramel, which plays off flavors of apple juice nicely. At Full City roasts have a juiciness to them with a slight tart note, like cranberry grape juice. The mouthfeel is silky and with a finishing flavor of sweet cocoa. City+ is about as light as I'd take this coffee with Full City roasts really developing potential sweetness.

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