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 miles!). On most of the other roads I've driven in Colombia, including this one from Medell_n 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 Inz on the opposite side of the country, Urrao has two "peak" harvests instead of the common "main" and then the much smaller "fly" crops.
Grinding the coffee gives a pleasant, if not accurate, preview of what to expect in a brewed cup of Valle de Penderisco. Honeyed sweetness dominates the aromatic profile, with an understated dark fruit smell that reads like blackberries cooked with sugar. The wet aroma is so sweet, a creamy smell of brown sugar and sweetened condensed milk, accents of cream soda and Thompson raisin coming up in the steam after breaking through the wetted crust. These fruit tones are heavily weighted in the cup too, and body is as juicy as the flavors. When hot, fruit notes are subtle, like brisk berry-infused black tea and red raisin. There's a focused raw sugar sweetness that builds in strength as the cup cools down a bit. Here's where the flavor profile begins to expand, notes of tamarind candy and fig jam come through, and our City+ roast showing a shadow of Dutch cocoa powder. Acidity is moderate and tea-like, a supportive malic to tannic undercurrent tying the cup flavors together. We found that darker roasts tend to shift fruit flavors toward dark, sweet berry, along with dark chocolate bar, like Sharffen Berger (probably due to the accompaniment of fruit flavors). Cup characteristics find harmony with at around 2 days rest, which is where we had amazing results brewing pour-overs.