Inza is a province located in Southwestern Colombia within the greater Department of Cauca. As you make the drive from La Plata to Inz, you follow the Rio Paez, and an eventual crossing over a suspension bridge lands you on the road to the the villages whose coffees make up this blend. 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 neighboring 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 on par with Caturra at the same altitude. This is not always the case (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 to City+, the dry fragrance displays a nice blend of honey and panella sugar sweetness, with a almond/cherry note that reminds me of Amaretto candy. The wet aroma emits a dense smell of dark honey, near floral, a sweetness that lingers in the steam when breaking through the wet crust. This is accompanied by a fruited smell of raisin or dark dried plum smell drifting up in the steam off the break. Acidity is out front with this coffee, making a lasting impression on the cup profile. It's definitely of a citric nature, with tartness providing a pleasant accent to underlying raw cane juice sweetness. As the cup cools, the raw honey sensed in the aroma comes into focus, capturing the flavor of honey that's been whipped with the comb. The lemon flavor is persistent, and has a flavor of lemonade sweetened with panella sugar (a reduction of raw cane juice that we always bring back from our Colombia trips...a product we dream of making available on Sweet Maria's!). Truly a delicious brewed cup, profuse sweetness, and mild fruit complexity all the way up to Full City. Full City roasts develop syrupy chocolate tones, with cinnamon powder highlights. These deeper roast will double nicely as a single origin espresso too.