Combining coffees produced in four of Quindío’s twelve municipalities, this blend from small producers stood out amongst both decaffeinated and regular lots when we first encountered it during our travels in Colombia in September last year. We're thrilled to offer it as both espresso and filter roast styles.
The municipalities of Calarca, Cordoba, Génova & Pijao run throughout Quindío, close to the capital of Armenia. These lush evergreen hills are known not just for coffee growing, but also plantain and yuca production, and Pijao, one of the regions, has been recognised by the Slow Food Movement for their dedication to local and sustainable agriculture. These particular municipalities in Quindío possess a microclimate very conducive to producing complex, delicious coffees. The smallhold farmers, whose coffee has been bulked together in this lot, tend to a range of varieties, including Caturra, Castillo and Variedad Colombia, which are hand harvested before being depulped and in the traditional manner are left to spontaneously ferment for between 12 and 24 hours. Once the fermentation phase is deemed complete, the coffees are fully washed, and put out to sun dry in parabolic dryers for up to 12 days.
We met with Iliana Delgado Chegwin and Jairo Muñoz from Azahar Coffee during our travels in Colombia last September. Through cupping and visiting producers we made a selection of two decaffeinated lots (the Quindío being the first that we will release this year) as well as a lot from Yacuanquer in Nariño that we will roast as a single origin espresso. Azahar Coffee work closely with dedicated coffee producers, aiming to highlight the value and cost of the hard work that goes into producing specialty coffee.
The Decaffeination Process:
Over the last five years we’ve solely purchased decaffeinated coffees that have undergone the Sugar Cane Ethyl Acetate process. Not only does this method provide a secondary income to the producing country, but the green coffee only needs to be transported once rather than twice. Obviously more eco-friendly and less costly, it has a huge impact on cup quality too. The conditions in which coffee is transported are rarely conducive to preserving quality, and so avoiding this process from happening twice is always beneficial for the cup. The coffee, having been shipped only once unlike most decaf options that arrive into the UK via Mexico, Canada or Germany, tastes all the fresher for it.
The actual solvent doing the work of decaffeinating the green coffee at Descafecol is derived from fermenting and making an alcohol from predominantly sugar cane, but other sources include blackberries, beetroots and grapes. This is combined with acetic acid (a simple vinegar) and spring water and is used to wash the caffeine out of the steamed green coffee until less than 3% of the original caffeine content remains.
Please enjoy this delicious decaffeinated option from the smallholders of Quindío.
Calarca, Cordoba, Génova & Pijao in Quindío, Colombia
Expect a round & balanced cup with dried fruit notes like raisins & papaya. Hints of warming ginger & milk chocolate linger in a clean, sweet finish.