Pedregal is a fairly small Colombian region, somewhere in the range of what we would consider a "county". Most of the farms in this area are perched up on the surrounding highlands, and range in atitude from around 1700 masl to over 2000 masl. This particular lot comes to us from La Palmera, and is comprised of several small-holder farmers in the area. Due to its isolation Pedregal has escaped a lot of the Colombia and Castillo varietal (catimor) propaganda from the government. Caturra still reigns supreme and we've even found small amounts of Bourbon and Typica mixed in with it. The coffee is processed in a fairly "traditional" manner for this area, with hand cranked pulpers. One tank is used for both washing and fermentation, and then the coffee is dried out on raised, parabolic beds. Pedregal coffees are so sweet and the range of sweetness is maybe what's most impressive. Brown sugar and raw honey perfume the aromatics intensely while, although still present in the cup itself, juicy fruit flavors like green grape and red apple are most apparent. Their completeness and complexity are hard to match in Latin America. Tom, Dan and myself have spent days on end last summer, winter, and into the New Year, evaluating Pedregal coffees and constructing these lots. All this cupping along with three visits already this year, you can believe that were heavily invested in this project. And for good reason. We'll have a fairly consistent supply of these coffees coming through the year due to climate change and the constant rainfall/flowering in Colombia. All of that said, I expect these coffees to be very popular so get them while you can.
The profile of La Palmera has so much in the way of developed sugar sweetness that at times it reminds me of freshly baked goods. The dry fragrance has dried stonefruit and raisins, as well as brown sugar and walnut. Adding hot water brings up a smell of banana bread in the steam - cinnamon, dark sugar, and sweet nuts, with butterscotch candy on the break. The sugar browning aspect is heightened in darker, Full City roasts, and gives off a smell of candied almond, with a note of amaretto. Toffee and toasted sugar are key elements of La Palmera's cup profile, often verging on the pefume-y panela sugar of Latin America. The acidity is definitely green grape, which is such a nice compliment to the juicy body that this coffee offers. This coffee really starts to "show" as the cup cools, and a flavor of fine dutch drinking cocoa really becomes apparent in the finish. La Palmera is versatile and makes a great daily drinking coffee, as well as single origin espresso. This also works well as an option to fresh Guatemalan coffee that is not readily available for a couple more months.