Colombia is one of the most prolific countries when it comes to coffee production, with a rich history and tradition of the trade. It’s the second-biggest producer of coffee in the world, right after Brazil, focusing on predominantly growing high quality Arabica beans.
Pineapple, dark chocolate, & brown sugar
Roasted for balance, not acidity
Origin - Colombia
Altitude - 1500 - 2070masl
This coffee does contain beans grown at a pretty broad range of altitudes, but overall would be considered high-altitude. The higher-grown coffees within this particular coffee have likely brought forward the acidity and fruit-notes, whereas the coffees grown at lower altitudes will likely have balanced those out with chocolate and sweater flavour elements.
This coffee isn’t produced on one single farm, but blended from 5 different farms to achieve a higher consistency and overall better quality coffee – The whole is greater than the sum of the parts, so to speak.
Variety - Castillo & Colombia
Both of the varieties present in the coffee are a result of developments by Cenicafe – considered as one of the most important coffee research centers in the world. Both varieties were developed to resist coffee-leaf rust, a highly destructive disease caused by the fungus Hemileia vastatrix.
Variedad Colombia, often known simply as Colombia, was released in 1982 and was the result of the mating of Caturra and the Timor Hybrid (itself a natural hybrid of Arabica and Robusta coffee). Caturra is small and compact, allowing for plants to be grown more densely, and the Timor Hybrid is naturally rust-resistant.
The Castillo variety was a further development by Cenicafe, not released until 2005 after 5 generations, and developed with the goal of increased productivity, greater resistance, larger beans, and better quality. All these goals were certainly achieved, with the Castillo variety still proving resistant to both rust and coffee berry disease after 15 years, and scoring well on cupping tables. Castillo is known its smoothness, aroma, and clean acidity.
Processing method - Washed
For many within the coffee world washed coffees are considered the gold standard.
Coffee cherries are first pulped in a machine called a pulper (creative, I know) which removes the outer layers of the fruit leaving behind the bean and mucilage. The coffee is then fermented in water for a time (usually one or two days at least) and then washed to remove the mucilage.
The washed process is regarded by many as producing a superior coffee compared with other processing methods, however the process requires a great deal of skill and water to produce, making it costly and also far less environmentally friendly than the Natural method.
As the fruit of the cherry is removed so early in this process the flavour profile is quite unaffected by the fruit meaning varietal, soil, weather, ripeness, processing skill, and drying are of the utmost importance in determining cup quality.
It is for these reasons washed coffee is considered so highly amongst coffee professionals - a good washed coffee displays a level of care and skill, an attention to detail, and a love of coffee that can't be ignored.
Popayan Reserve is a program involving 67 selected farms in the region of Cauca, giving work to upwards of 400 people during harvest. One of the key purposes of the program is to give farmers a better deal than they might otherwise get, while helping them and educating them on how they can improve their cup quality and farming practices to be able to achieve even greater returns. An agronomist visits the farms every four months and the farmers are invited and encouraged to cup their own coffees so they may better understand how to improve cup quality. Coffees are selected for quality and consistency and the growers are payed based on quality, often reaching premiums of 20% above the market value. Once they consistently achieve a cupping score of 85 or more, they get paid a better premium and join one of Cofinet’s regional programs.
Origin photographs provided by Cofinet.