As mentioned recently Pedregal could quite possibly be my single favorite producing region in all of Latin America. Pedregal is tiny. Its the equivalent of a county in the Unites States. Agua Blanca is a village within Pedregal. There may be a few dozen people living there and you'd be hard pressed to find many folks not named Penna in the hill or two that make up "town". Agua Blanca is one of the pearls within the shell that is Pedregal; maybe the crown jewel itself. I've spent 7 years traipsing through the area and have become quite close with the Penna family. Walter, his brother Juvenal and their uncle Miguel Angel produce lusciously sweet coffee with tremendous mouth feel and complex acidity. These three and a couple of their neighbors make up this 8 bag micro lot.
What's their secret? There isn't one. Walter and Co. pick some of the ripest coffee cherry that I've seen anywhere in the coffee world. They manually depulp their fruit on hand-crank machines, ferment in tiled tanks, wash thoroughly in a second tiled tank and dry their coffee gently on covered, raised beds. Its a simple process but a beautiful one. With farms ranging in size from 2 acres to 10 these folks are in complete control of their farming and processing down to the point of picking their coffee cherry themselves. OK, so there is one lil' secret in Agua Blanca. If you spend an afternoon walking from farm to farm you'll notice that virtually all of them have a small percentage of Bourbon and Typica mixed in with the Caturra. That a true rarity these days in Colombia.
Although we'll have more Pedregal coffees coming through the pipeline in the months to come this lot is unique. At 8 bags total I don't expect it to last. Get it while you can.
Agua Blanca is a complete coffee. Its equipped with brilliantly perfumed aromatics, well rounded mouthfeel, heavy sweetness and elegant acidity. Sweet spice, toasted dark sugars and honey set the tone aromatically for a coffee that has layered sweetness from start to finish. Agua Blanca is a dense coffee. It's flavors are well engrained in the cup profile across the roast profile spectrum. It's a flexible coffee. Warm, Agua Blanca has heaps of muscovado sugar. If you've read my cupping notes for the Colombia Pedregal lot you'll notice our correlation between Colombian produced panela flavor and that of muscovado sugar. This lot is a perfect demonstration of that notion with red delicious apple, raw honey and clove encompassing it. As the coffee cools that malic notes turns towards more tartaric fruit. Green grape and slight hints towards peach open up as the cup approaches room temperature. The complexity between sweetness and acidity is so interesting here because it integrates so well in the sense of the aforementioned fruits while still being enhanced by the sugar browning flavors. However, its the mouth feel of Agua Blanca that makes this coffee truly one of the more special lots. Its rare, maybe only top Kenyas and handfuls of washed Ethiopians have this, to find such complex coffees on the high end that also have such tremendous depth of mouth feel.