Hernan Arias is a coffee producer near the town of Herrera, Tolima. The cup has honey-butter, panela sugar, and vanilla, with yellow apple (aka Golden Delicious) fruit notes that persist into the finish, unique rounded mouthfeel. City to City+ is ideal.
Hernan Arias is a coffee producer near the town of Herrera, Tolima. We work here with the ASOCEAS cooperative to identify small lots of coffee with special qualities, and reward the farmer with higher prices for their coffee based on cupping scores. The first (and most important) screening of the incoming microlots happens right in Herrera, where the local cupper Newerly Gutierrez uses a Behmor roaster (with amazing skill, I might add) to evaluate the coffees. Each coffee lot, no matter how small, is kept separate and scored on its merit. I visited Herrera for the first time last week and it's a beautiful town set high up in a fairly remote area of Tolima. I could not visit before because, sadly, concerns about instability persist in these more remote parts of Tolima, where the FARC Guerilla and their enemies in private armies, the Paramilitarios, kept the farming families in a state of constant fear. I can report that everything seems peaceful and prosperous in my visit, but reminders of the war are not so distant; I saw a village of bombed-out houses where paramilitary lived, locals too afraid to rebuild their structures for fear of retribution. It was the coffee farmers trapped in the middle of these disputes. The fact we have stability, there is a cupping lab in the town, and we can get on with discovering and rewarding the great quality of the coffees in this area is a testament that times are changing for the better. Hernan is a farmer I had met once before, and I was really happy to discover that a coffee we had selected in blind cupping was indeed from Arias farm.
The dry fragrance is really stunning, especially in the lighter roasts; honey-caramel sweetness, wildflowers, toasted hazelnut. In the wet aromatics, again it is the sweet honey quality that dominates, very intense, with accents of toasted bread and sweet butter. The cup is interesting because it is not so bright and acidic as other coffees from the area, but has more body, and the mouthfeel has a syrupy quality. The cup has flavors that were suggested by the aromatics; honey-butter, panela sugar, vanilla. There are yellow apple (aka Golden Delicious apple) fruit notes that persist into the finish. But the headline here is the persistent sweet qualities, rounded mouthfeel, namely honey.