There’s no doubt that the coffee beans of Colombia are synonymous with the traditional flavor of coffee. Most cafés keep Colombian brewing day and night. Roasters love its versatility, and it blends with other coffees exceptionally well! People tend to think it’s the coffee that tastes most like how one might expect coffee to taste. Colombian beans are used as a base in many blends, and while we use Colombian coffee in many of our own Artisan Blends, we also believe the brew is amazing on its own.
Tolima is the third-largest coffee-producing region in Colombia, with its clear skies and rolling, verdant mountains—it’s a coffee oasis. Our Colombian Supremo is grown by various associations and indigenous tribes in Tolima, but sadly, goings haven’t been so easy. 50 years of war tore Colombia apart and claimed millions of lives, uprooting generations of families from their farms and communities. But the conflict never took Colombians’ resiliency. Today, Tolima farmers are harvesting very-high-altitude coffees with consistently high cup scores.
Grown at 1,600 – 2,000 meters above sea level, this crop matures more slowly, which helps it maintain its delicate notes of floral wine and spiced berries. But this coffee’s laurels aren’t just due to its impeccable flavor, it’s also about how coffee has benefited the Tolima community. The farms are careful stewards of the environment, big on training, and provide housing for temporary workers.
Washing and Drying
Our Colombian Supremo is fully washed and sun-dried in parabolic dryers or on patios. Fully washed is typical of high-quality coffee. Washed coffee is all about the seed, not the cherry. Most specialty coffees are washed because this process gives the most true-to-origin experience, as the mucilage can impart syrupy flavors if left intact during processing. Parabolic dryers use sun rays and air to dry coffee, which is preferable when drying outside on patios isn’t possible due to weather.
Also produced in Tolima, our Organic Colombian is grown by the Association of Agricultural Producers and Marketers of Santiago Perez (ASOSPAC), which is made up of micro-lot farms. Currently 44 producers strong, the ASOSPAC produces high-grown coffee with juicy body, medium acidity, and chocolatey citrus notes. In addition to growing impeccable coffee, the ASOSPAC is also Fair Trade and organic certified, which puts them in a better position in the international coffee market to attain higher prices.
North of Tolima lies the town of Santa Bárbara, where one of our newest Specialty Reserves calls home. The Santa Barbara Estate is proudly owned by Don Pedro Echavarria, who established it nearly three decades ago. The Estate is fully integrated, meaning all production is closely monitored and the coffee is traceable down to the seed. The environment in Santa Bárbara is prime for coffee growth, with its abundant tree cover, volcanic soil, favorable climate, very high elevation, and of course, constant care thanks to the Echavarria family. Echavarria believes in his employees, which is why he incentivizes them to prioritize quality over quantity with educational resources.
Washing, Drying, and Daily Cupping
The Santa Barbara Estate fully washes, sun-dries, and cups their coffees daily to ensure quality. Coffees dried in the sun are spread out in long rows and turned every 30 – 40 minutes to promote even drying. The fact that Echavarria and the Estate cup their coffees daily is a true demonstration of commitment. Cupping helps producers not only assess their current crop but also keep track of past crops and data to address potential issues or recreate successes.
Fresh Roasted Coffee
Coffee from Colombia is sacred to us. We have seven different offerings of Colombian origin, all roasted to retain and highlight their fruity, sweet origin notes with a little Maillard (aka brown, delicious flavors like chocolate). Our Supremo, Organic Colombian, Santa Barbara Estate, Water-Processed Decaf, Water-Processed Half-Caf, and Decaf all get the medium-roast treatment to give you a cup that’s equal parts nutty fruit and rich chocolatey caramel. We take Supremo a bit darker for our Dark Colombian Supremo, but the cherry and honey flavors still shine through the bolder brew.
TL;DR we do right by Colombian coffee.