The uniqueness of the Valle de Penderisco, Antioquia is apparent as soon as you crest the surrounding hillside, and begin your descent. For one, unlike most of my experiences driving around the country, the valley, as well as the road that travels through it is completely flat...and straight (I'm talking for kilometers!). On most of the other roads I've driven in Colombia, including this one from Medellín all the way to Urrao, you rarely see more than 1/8 of a mile of straight away. Tightly-wound curves wrap the hillsides making the most stable stomachs slowly edge toward queazy. So this valley is a welcome sight, and a one that is quite high at 1800 meters on the valley floor. It is also unique because cold water springs and cool temperatures make for slightly longer fermentation times (around 24 hours), resulting in fruit-forward characteristics that we generally think to be atypical for Colombia. The profiles are bit "exotic", tropical and fresh fruits, but remain very sweet and without the wine-like characteristics that accompany over-fermented coffees. On the contrary, these coffees from Urrao have big sweetness, are "clean", and with just enough acidity to prop up the sometimes fruit-focused cup profiles. This coffee is the result of an effort spearheaded by our intermediary in Medellin, who have been working with a 20 member farmer group in Urrao. They coordinate deliveries every 3rd week during peak harvests, making on the spot selections as well as paying out premiums same day. Rains persist throughout the year seeing coffee on the trees every 3 weeks or so. Because of this, like Inzá on the opposite side of the country, Urrao has two "peak" harvests instead of the common "main" and then the much smaller "fly" crops.This coffee is part of our Farm Gate pricing program.
Grinding the coffee gives a pleasant, if not accurate, preview of what to expect in a brewed cup of Valle de Penderisco. Honey and dark berry smells vie for our attention, up-front and sweet. The wet aroma is pretty incredible too, a perfumed coconut/coco-buttersmell lifts in the steam when breaking through the crust, along with hints of tropical and berry teas. These fruit tones are heavily weighted in the cup too, and body is as juicy as the flavors. When hot, fruit notes touch on red apple and pear, and as the temperature dips, shift toward blackberry syrup and tamarindo. Body is heavy too, like the weight of grape juice on the palate. While I wouldn't call this a high acid cup, it displays a supportive malic to tannic undercurrent, propping up the fruited top notes nicely. We found that darker roasts tend to shift toward dark chocolate bar, like Sharffen Berger, with dark fruit accompaniment. Cup characteristics find harmony with at around 2 days rest, which is where we had amazing results brewing pour-overs.
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