Inza de Cauca is a great dual-use coffee, City+ and beyond showing convincing fruit flavors and acidity, along with central characteristics of burned sugars and fine dark chocolate. City+ to Full City+. Good for espresso.
Inza is a province located in Southwestern Colombia within the greater Department of Cauca. Like much of Colombia, Cauca is home to some very high altitude farms, many breaching the 2000 meter mark. This particular lot is a blend of coffees from farms ranging 1700 - 2000+ meters, from a few of the different Veredas within the region. The way we make up these regional blends is by cupping several samples from the individual farms, separating out those that meet a certain cup criteria, and then blending them together. It's a great benefit to us (and not to mention the cup) having this level of quality control with our Colombian blends. Wet processing is traditional in the region, many using old-style hand cranked pulpers, fermenting and washing in the same tank (the first pic is of a dual-use tank), and then drying out on raised, covered beds. This last part is key in facilitating even and gentle drying of the parchment, helping to keep the protective parchment layer intact as the internal moisture dips to 11% over the course of a few days to 2 weeks (depending on the micro-climate). Most farms have a healthy amount of Caturra planted, as well as some Timor hybrids (like Variedad Colombia and Tabi) in response to the major leaf rust outbreak in the 1980's. In cupping varietal separations we've found that cup quality is less tied to varietal than we imagined, meaning, we've found Timor hybrids that cup better than Caturra at the same altitude. This is not always the case (I'm finding that there are rarely "one size fits all" examples in growing coffee!), but it is an important for us as buyers to keep in mind when approaching the ever-growing varietal debates.
City roast proved to be a tad too light for my taste, bringing out more roasted grain notes than sweetness. City+ is where this coffee starts opening up, and really it does well on into Full City and even beyond (this one can take the heat!). City+ roasts show a malty sweetness in the ground coffee, like maltose syrups and red raisin. Full City roasts build out dark chocolate smells and allusions to dry fruits. The wet aroma has a thick caramelizing sugar and vanilla bean smell, a dark fruit paste smell drifting up in the steam off the break. Acidity makes a lasting impression on the cup profile, not overly bright, but an ever-present fruit juice mouthfeel in both our City+ and FC roasts. And while the more central cup characteristics are burned sugars and bittersweet cacao, top notes of cooked fruits are persistent and build momentum as the cup cools. Pluot, red grapes, and cherimoya fade to a sort of powdered cocoa and black tea finish. Darker roasts establish hefty body, and work great for single origin espresso - Scharffen Berger chocolate, fruited hints, and a nice touch of citrus brightness on the tip of the tongue.