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. Honey and dried tropical fruit smells vie for our attention, up-front and sweet, dried mango, tamarind, and a delicate hibiscus flower note. The wet aroma is pretty incredible, divergent from what we tend to think of as Colombian coffee. Tropical notes are of course in spades, and a perfumed coconut/coco-butter smell lifts in the steam when breaking through the crust. 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 Asian pears, and as the temperature dips, shift toward tamarindo and even a hint of pineapple juice. Body is very heavy too, rivaling the weight of grape juice. While I wouldn't call this a high acid cup, it displays a supportive malic to tannic undercurrent, propping up the multitude of fruited top notes. 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.