The Asociación de Los Naranjos de San Agustín, from Huila, Colombia, is a 100-member strong association that we last roasted back in 2014 when we were in the habit of blending coffees. Combining the 2014 harvest from Los Naranjos with Buziraguhindwa in Burundi to create our house espresso, we've long since dropped the idea of blends. Instead, we let each producer, association or cooperative's coffee speak for themselves so are happy to share with you this lot comprised of coffee from just nine producers of the Los Naranjos association.
Established in 2001, Asociación de Los Naranjos was created to facilitate the sharing of information and improve as farmers, while also build a brand and secure a market for their coffees, and of course to develop a sense of camaraderie and community. Through identifying different ways to process and dry their coffee, the association was able to tap into the specialty coffee market, resulting in great acclaim when a member's coffee won the SCAA "Coffee of the Year" Award in 2009. Unlike Cup of Excellence, which presents accolades to countries of origin individually, this is an international competition, and the lot representing the Asociación de Los Naranjos out-cupped lots of Hacienda La Esmeralda Geisha and Ninety Plus Yirgacheffe coffees. The following year the same producer's coffee won again! Caravela selected and submitted the winning lots both years, and it is through them we find ourselves purchasing from the association yet again.
The members grow their coffee in the municipality of San Agustín in Huila, which is one of our all-time favourite regions of Colombia. With farms, located between 1,600 and 1,850m in the veredas (wards) of La Argentina, La Llanada, La Muralla and Naranjos, they’re situated around the mighty Magdalena River. Thanks to the way Caravela cup, score and build their lots we have an in-depth traceability report breaking down exactly which producer has contributed how much coffee to the lot we bought. Diego Fernando Imbachi Samboni was the most significant contributor, with just over a third of this coffee coming from his farm. The association's members grow a mixture of varieties, with this lot comprised of Caturra, Colombia, Castillo and Bourbon. Once picked, the cherries are depulped and fermented, before being fully washed. Each farmer may practice variations on fermentation, size of batches and for different periods, so we can't be hugely specific with any fermentation details here. Some of them then use raised beds in a polytunnel to dry their coffee; others use their rooftop patios which can be shaded from the sun or sheltered from the rain by sliding a corrugated iron cover over the drying coffee.
We're impressed with the quality of this coffee, and will be offering it as an espresso roast. It would be all too convenient and obvious to taste orange-like flavours in the cup, but citrus is present along with the incredible sweetness. It's a delicious coffee and testament to the hard work put in by the Asociación de Los Naranjos for the past eighteen years. Enjoy!