Another Microlot arrival from this small farm. This is cup is very sweet (honey, panela) with glimmering brightness and aromatic fruits such as black currant, dark berry, and plum. The body is dense, but not overwhelmingly heavy. Best at City to City+ roast levels.
I have had the pleasure to visit with Humberto Diaz at his beautiful farm, El Junin, several times. We found this coffee and initially offered it as a special micro-lot through blind cupping, and based on the high cupping scores, and rewarded it with a very good price. Visiting the farm later was a highlight, because not only was the coffee great, but the farm so beautiful. Everything I found there was, without prompting or primping, exactly what you want to see when you visit a small farm. The coffee was being carefully dried on a raised bed, underneath a stretched clear plastic barrel roof, a system that uses warm airflow more than direct sun to dry coffee. Carefully, he had netting stretched over wood planking so to keep the parchment out of direct contact with wood, which can taint it. He had a series of screens placed on a rack to initially dry the wet, freshly processed coffee, before moving into his special drying house. He does most of the harvesting himself, and nearly all of the processing, hiring one young neighbor as an apprentice, and with family assistance. He was both shy in that rural way, but articulate and open about his techniques. And there was no sense he was telling us what we wanted to hear ... he was simply showing us what he did. I know, these details aren't that exciting, but they are precisely what differentiate good coffee from bad. Good harvesting, good pulping, good drying ... that's what a farmer must do to maximize the quality of his or her coffee. And Humberto had it all, not to mention a stunningly beautiful farm at 1700 meters.
I am excited to have this coffee in the warehouse again! The dry fragrance is extremely sweet, as I had hoped. It has a caramel-black currant scent, honey, plum. This is true of the wet aroma too, along with black walnut and cocoa, and on the break a potent sweet-savory accent. The lightest roast I did, City roast, was an irresistible coffee. In fact I kept all my tests at the lighter range, in anticipation of where on the roast spectrum this coffee would really shine. The aromatic fruits come through in the cup flavors; black currant, plum, dark berry, sweet raisin. In the finish is a panela sweetness (panela is the minimally processed sugar with floral and vanilla accents). The body is dense, but not overwhelmingly heavy. Later I went back and did some darker roasts, toward 2nd crack. It has thicker mouthfeel, balance, more bittersweet notes as one might expect. But some of the delicate flavors from the City roast are lost. All in all, it's best at the light roast, where I find it a very elegant cup.