Rio Chiquito has flavors of raw sugar and fruit pulp, like grape and cherry skins. Muscovado sugar up front gives way to bittersweet chocolate in the finish. Nice at a wide range of roasts. City to Full City.
This coffee is the result of a new project that has sprung up in the La Plata Municipality of Huila, Colombia. This particular lot was collected from the Rio Chiquito region, just south of La Plata town, where the association is located. Rio Chiquito lies in the foothills of the Cordillera Central mountain range, the farms in this group spanning a range of 1800 meters to 2000 meters above sea level. The average farm size is about 2 hectares with less than 10,000 trees planted, Caturra being the dominant cultivar grown, with some Variedad Colombia, and Castillo mixed in. Initial samples from the La Plata group have been very promising.The price we pay for this coffee is very competitive for the region, due in part to demand, but also because each farmer's lot is kept separate in order to help us identify areas of quality, and pay accordingly. This means we are cupping coffee lots as large as 10 bags, all the way down to 30 kilograms (the average lot size is about 2 bags). This season, the intermediary we work with in Medell_n are helping to finance the buying so that farmers are paid an initial premium up front when the coffee is delivered, and then a second payment once quality tier is determined.
The dry fragrance has a complex sweetness, suffused with rustic, raw sugar sweetness that takes the form of palm sugar, barley malt, and dark agavae in the ground coffee. Adding hot water elevates this sweetness, coming off more like toffee covered nuts, or caramel almond bark. The cup has a fruit pulp flavor tucked under a base sweetness that's a big like brown rice syrup. It becomes more apparent as the cup cools down a bit, and has aspects of fruit skins from grapes and cherries. It's that sweetness that comes with what's left of the fruit flesh put up against the less-sweet outer layer of skin. Bittersweet chocolate flavors come up, and with a muscovado sugar flavor, make up a sturdy base coffee flavor. We roasted to City and Full City, and Rio Chiquito holds up well at both roast levels. Those looking for more chocolate roast tones will be pleased with Full City roasts (and I imagine a shade darker too), the cup profile brimming with smokey roasted cacao butted up against a rustic molasses sweetness, along with a hint of pipe tobacco in the 'nose'.