In my opinion Colombia is part of coffee's holy trinity with Ethiopia and Kenya. (Cue, tomato throwing Guatemalan fanatics i.e. Thompson Owen)
Colombia has such fantastic diversity from north to south in terms of the geographical aesthetic, altitude, micro climates and yes, coffee flavors. Now its important to note that I'm a sucker for sweetness in coffees. Along with absolute cleanliness I really don't think there is any more important sensory component in a coffee's flavor profile. It's an indication of proper cherry selection and, as you all know, we are dealing with a fruit here. 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. These are some of the sweetest coffees. I know them better than most as I've been working with this group for what is now the 7th consecutive year.
Getting out to Pedregal is arduous. In the past year, heavy rains and the resulting rising rivers knocked out a bridge that connects the growing region to the nearest major city with a municipal airport. It has not been rebuilt, and now this "road less traveled" includes a river crossing via motorized canoe. It's all in the spirit of adventure, right? Anyway, we've done more lot separation, on a regional level, this year than we've ever done in the past. Pedregal is the equivalent of what we would call a county here in the states. The coffee is grown in the tiny hamlets perched up in surrounding highlands at altitudes ranging from 1700 masl to over 2000 masl. La Palmera, Agua Blanca, Palmichal, La Venta, La Milagrosa, San Jose, San Rafael, etc each produce coffee that can fairly unique from another. 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.
Folks, these are world class coffees. Their completeness and complexity are hard to match in Latin America. Tom, Dan and myself have spent days on end last summer, and continue to into the winter, evaluating Pedregal coffees and constructing these lots. All this cupping along with three visits already this year, you can believe that we're 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.
This lot from producer Misael Hurtado has a very balanced profile that is defined by notes of fruit, baking spices, and sugar browning. This lot represents a mere 3 bags, and is one of only a few Pedregal microlots that well be listing over this holiday season. If you read the farm notes then you know our Pedregal lots are sweetness driven, both aromatically and in the cup. The dry grounds have an almond essence to them, that with hints of raw sugar and honey, produce an impression of marzipan. Adding hot water really opens up the aromatic profile of this coffee. Floral concord grape skins permeate from the crust. The smell of candied walnuts, and warming spices like mace and clove, linger on the break. The cup profile has an unexpected, but very pleasing lactic quality to it. This is only partially due to the dark chocolate note that is also found in the cup. There's a definite creamy-ness to the coffee, not only as mouthfeel, but also a sweet milkiness in flavor. The dark chocolate note enhances this quality bringing out the flavor of a chocolate milkshake. A note of fragrant red apple dominates the cup to begin with, but the fruits really start to diversify as the coffee temperature dips. Just as in the aromatics, baking spices are also present in the cup, with clove and all-spice at the forefront. This balanced Colombian coffee is a sure crowd pleaser - it definitely jumped off our cupping table! And like most of these Pedregal lots, the balanced sweetness and acidity will make for an amazing SO espresso at the more developed end of the roast spectrum.