Southern Tolima is our favorite coffee regions in Colombia. The Tolima microlot offerings we evaluate from ASOCEAS Cooperative in Herrera, Tolima are some of our highest rated. Most of the lots are from a relatively remote area. Part of the issue is that Tolima was one of the last active FARC areas where the conflict between the government and the rebels continued until recently. Still, we work through this cooperative to access their best coffees, and have designated our specially crafted blend as "Los Pijaos de Tolima" in tribute to the indomitable tribe that held the area before colonization. (It's also the nickname for the well-regarded Desportes Tolima soccer team). The coffees here are lots that were either too small to ship separately, or rated between 86 and 87 points. But the overall blend seems to surpass its constituent parts, a very pleasant surprise. It might be that when we approve these they are very fresh coffees, not fully rested, or the way that heterogenous lots compliment each other and result in greater complexity. I cannot say which, but this coffee comes in over 88 points. It's the quality level I would look for in our farm-separated micro-lots.
The dry fragrance has an intensely sweet malty caramel scent, tropical fruit and hibiscus floral hints. Adding the hot water, the fruit has a slight winey aspect, purple grape, and a tropical fruit I remember distinctly from Sumatra: snakeskin fruit! (Obscure, sorry... but it is between over-ripe white grape and pineapple, roughly). There is a nice caramelized sugar whiff on the break, like panela sugar. This same raw sugar sweetness dominates the cup, from the first sip through the long aftertaste. It's a notably juicy coffee too, with pear and plum being the main flavors, turning to peach skins in the finish. On re-cupping it a day later, with more rest on the roast, flame grape seemed to best characterize the fruited flavors. There's an aromatic quality to the aftertaste (they call it afternose in wine), that borders on floral; rose-like.