We’re thrilled to welcome back for the third time a coffee produced by the Asociación de Los Naranjos de San Agustín, from Huila, Colombia. This 100-member strong association are consistently producing clean, fruited coffees that we love to roast for espresso.
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 situated between 1,600 and 1,850m in the veredas (wards) of La Argentina, La Llanada, La Muralla and Naranjos, they’re located around the mighty Magdalena River.
In 2019 we returned to Colombia and met with Caravela in Pitalito before driving to San Agustín. We were able to meet with some of the farmers whose coffee contributed to last year’s Los Naranjos selection as well as this latest harvest. The first stop was José Hernando Dorado and his niece, Marcela, whose farm straddles the main road to San Agustín.
Growing Caturra and Colombia, alongside oranges (Naranjos), cacao, avocado and plantain, José manages the family farm and is currently teaching Marcela the ways of farm management and processing. Utilising washing channels to help remove the less dense beans, they ferment for around 24hr before transferring to the drying facilities José plans to rebuild in the coming months.
Like José, most of the farmers are tending to predominantly Caturra, with Castillo and Variedad Colombia as well as small pockets of Pink Bourbon and other varieties that are kept separate to process as premium microlots.
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.
The Association & Exporter
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 from Panama and Ninety-Plus Yirgacheffe coffees from Ethiopia.
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.
San Agustín, Huila, Colombia
A velvety espresso with a rich, complex sweetness like maple syrup. Notes of fig, raisin & vanilla lead to a lingering, butterscotch finish.