Like the other Tolima micro-lot coffees, the cup is very balanced between milk chocolate roast notes and caramel apple sweetness. This lot also works well at slightly darker roast levels, or even a melange of a few different roasts. City to Full City.
Jose Ider Zapata 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, nomatter 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. This lot from Mr. Zapata is impossibly small, and we must limit it to 1 lbs. only.
Like the other Tolima micro-lot coffees, this has a wonderful sweetness in the dry fragrance of caramel, with cocoa and vanilla accents. The wet aroma is much the same, caramel and vanilla, with an added spice accent of mulling spices; cinnamon and a bit of clove. The cup is very balanced between milk chocolate roast notes that develop at City+ stage, and caramel apple sweetness. I roasted this to Full City as well and really enjoyed the more aggressive roast tone, turning toward semi-sweet chocolate but still with underlying caramel. The apple note had diminished, but it had such a nice bittersweet balance. I actually blended the two roasts for a "melange" and enjoyed that even more! The mouthfeel is very silky and elegant.