Colombia Single Origin - Alvaro Urbano - Huila
This month we return to Colombia. In fact we return to Huila, the same region as last July, and even to the same cooperative - Cadefihuila Cooperative, where we have selected a coffee grown by Alvaro Urbano at 1700 - 1900 metres above sea level.
This coffee is so full of character - incredible clean and full of red fruit flavour that it may challenge how you think of Colombian coffees.
Varietals: Castillo & Caturra
2 varieties of arabica coffee are offered in this cup combining the lemony acidity of Castillo and the juicy sweetness of Caturra.
Altitude: 1700-1900 masl
Process: Fully Washed
Cupping Score: 87.25
This coffee is sweet and juicy with tons of red fruit flavours bursting over your tongue - red cherry and redcurrant notes abound while mango and apricot flavours round out the profile.
The mouthfeel is smooth and slightly creamy.
Huila is the region in Colombia with the biggest production. It’s all about smaller farms, normally from 1 – 3 hectares. Coffees from here offer combination of tons of fruit - sweetness, richness and complexity. But there is also a wide flavor spectrum! There are bright citrus like profiles as well as funky and jammy coffees tasting towards honeys and naturals.
This coffee comes from a small farmer that is a member of Cadefihuila Cooperative. Cadefihuila is a Cooperative working in the north, south and western Huila. They were founded in 1963, and have thousands of producers with between 1-3 hectares of coffee.
Coffee is picked in 3-4 passes. Meaning the producers/workers pick the more or less ripe cherries in one block. Then they might wait a few weeks until it’s again a descent amount of ripe cherries to pick in that same place. Generally the first and last pass is of lower quality, and the second and third will be considered as the best, with more ripe cherries and uniform quality. When we can, we try to buy coffee harvested in these two passes.
The coffee from Huila is generally fully washed, meaning pulped and fermented the traditional way. There is a few exceptions where farmers are using eco-pulpers with mechanical removal of mucilage, and/or are doing honeys, but it’s still not to common.
This is the most common and widely used method. The farmer will have a small beneficio, a small manual or electric pulper and a fermentation tank. They pulp the cherries in the afternoon. The coffee is going straight from the pulper in to the fermentation tank. It can sit there from one to two days, depending on the temperature. Higher temperature will speed up the fermentation process, and lower temperature will slow it down. Some producers do intermediate rinsing with water, that can also help them control the process.
Washing and grading
They normally stir the coffee in tanks or small channels before they remove the floaters. For the ones without channels it’s common to wash the coffees in the fermentation tank and skim off the floaters before it goes to the drying.
For the smallholders in regions like Huila the coffee is commonly sun dried in parabolic dryers that almost works as green houses. The better producers have well ventilated facilities. There are many different variations and constructions, but generally they are all systems that is able to protect the coffee from rain. We have generally seen that the producers that have constructions with good ventilation and manage to dry the coffee down to below 11% in 10 – 18 days often have very good and consistent coffee. Drying in Huila is a big challenge due to rain and high humidity. During drying the producers hand sort the parchment coffee for impurities and defects. By receiving premium payments, the producers can improve their facilities, by building new or reconstruct the dryers to increase ventilation and potentially add shade nets to slower drying, and hence improve the quality and longevity of the coffee.