A wonderful peaberry lot from the Southern Huila and Tolima regions. Caramel malt, brown beer sweetness, mission fig fruit, creamy mouthfeel, nutmeg, cinnamon, syrupy body, soft milk chocolate--great SO espresso. City to Full City.
Because this is a collection of peaberry coffee from two Colombian departments (states) we felt at liberty to have a little fun with the name. I told someone it was from Huilima but there is no Huilima; that's just Huila and Tolima combined. So we just called it "del Sur" since it is from the southern parts of these departments. Caracoles is the name for peaberry beans in Colombia, which means "snails"! It's comic, yet look at a peaberry and clearly it shares much in form with a snail shell. Peaberry is a small percentage of all coffees, and when it is screened out from the flat beans at the mill, it can take a while to collect enough for a true exportable lot. Since the Colombia farms we work with are so small, this would mean just a couple kilos of peaberry from each. So this is the collected peaberry from San Augustin and Pitalito in the Huila department, and Herrera and Planadas in the Tolima department. I wasn't sure how it would cup out initially, since the nature of it is not a lot you can "build" by approving each of the ingredient coffees, but I tend to like the density of peaberries and their brightness. If they are sourced from great flatbean lots, they tend to be great as well. And that's the case here, judging from the cup.
The fragrance from the dry grounds has a dark sweetness, ripe plum-prune fruit, with baked brown bread sweetness, and an interesting savory (tamari) aspect too. Dark caramel sauce marks the wet aroma from the cup, with strong fudge notes in the Full City roast level. The fruits are winey, Merlot grape in the aroma, with cinnamon bark accent. The cup has a sweet caramel malt roast taste, brown beer sweetness, mission fig fruit, and a creamy mouthfeel. There is a dash of nutmeg and cinnamon, which dry on the palate in the aftertaste. The body seems syrupy but not long-lasting as the coffee passes over the palate; but this effect pairs well with the flavors in the finish. It has very soft milk chocolate sweetness at Full City, but it seems less dimensional than the lighter roast levels. I find that with a relatively light surface appearance, this coffee has a darker roast character. I would err on the side of lighter color, and more ruddy surface texture with this coffee to maintain brightness and fruit notes in the cup. I have never used Colombia much in espresso, and don't really think of it much with peaberries either, but man, this is a great SO espresso! It's like sweet plum syrup and caramel sauce - exceptional!