Colombia Narino Perla del Sur
Narino is the southernmost province in Colombia, bordering Ecuador. Due to its close proximity to the Equator, sitting roughly 1 degree north, coffee can be grown at extreme altitudes. I've GPS'd farms in one particular area of Narino with coffee trees planted at over 2,200 masl. Outside of a few small pockets in Cusco and Puno, Southern Peru, I can't recall ever coming across coffee growing at these heights in Latin America. As propaganda in favor of the higher yielding, more disease resistant and lower quality yielding 'Colombia" varietals such as Castillo continues we've been fortunate to work with farmers who find the value in Caturra. Where Bourbon has trouble withstanding chilly evenings and traditional Typica yields continue to be tough on sustainable farming Caturra transcends all other varietals above 2,000 masl in terms of viability of production and cup quality are concerned. Our Narino lots are a testament to that.
Colombia has about as interesting a cultural dynamic as far as coffee production is concerned as any other country in the trade. I draw similarities to Guatemala considering the class differences between an area like the Coffee Grower's Axis towards north-central Colombia vs. the smallholder production in the South. Gigantic Estates, with coffee sometimes grown on several thousand acres of land, are commonly found in the Antioquia, Risaralda, Caldas and Quindio. Across Cacua, Tolima, Huila and most of the south you'll typically find coffee grown on just a few acres. However, Narino is home to the smallest average landholders in Colombia'a coffee production with a large of the farmers we work with operating on less than 3 acres. Processing is simple but when clean its every bit as thorough as it needs to be. Manual depulping machines remove the coffee beans from their cherry skins. These beans are left to ferment for periods of time normally ranging from 12-18 hours. After washing, which can happen in the same fermentation tank or a secondary tank next to it, the clean beans are most often dried on raised parabolic beds. Parabolic beds are nothing more than your standard raised beds with a clear plastic covering that protects the beans from the elements. Being so close to the equator there aren't distinctly different weather seasons. It can rain in Narino on any given day. The plastic is left open on each end of the apparatus to allow for proper airflow as well as ensuring that precipitation isn't trapped on it's inner roof.
Perla del Sur are a series of lots comprised of coffees from the San Gerardo, San Lorenzo, Taminango and La Union veredas and departamentos in Northern Narino. Tom, Dan and I have spent many an hour constructing these lots on the cupping table this summer and we're quite proud of what we have to offer you all. These are world class coffees and I'd assume we'll be rotating through them rather quickly. Luckily, the harvest is almost constant in Narino so with even more luck on our side we'll be able to offer various lots to you all with some frequency.
-AlecoThis coffee is part of our Farm Gate pricing program.
Honey is the without question the dominant player in the flavor profiles of our Narino coffees. The perfumed, ripe fruit scent of white honey explodes out of the cup in the dry grinds. Fresh stone fruit i.e. white nectarine, peach and even bing cherry burst from those grounds along with it. Caramel, brown sugar and sweet spices encompass the break on these coffees. As far as roast profiles are concerned Perla del Sur is extremely versatile. That raw honey note is most exposed at lighter levels but is still easily perceived at more developed levels as well. The acidity of these coffees, while sweetly citric in some instances, clearly revolves around the notion of tartaric fruits like nectarine, peach and green grape. They're a cornucopia of fruit. The weight of apple juice comes to mind when thinking to the mouth feel of these coffees. They're not heavy nor do they have much viscosity or even creaminess but there is substantial body to note. As Perla del Sur cools its almost like sipping on the flavors of a melted snickers bar. Caramel, nougat and roasted nuts are lovely to taste in a room temperature cup. These coffees leave us with the sweet yet effervescent notes of honey in the after taste that lingers nicely.