Our first ever espresso from Nariño comes from the municipality of Yacuanquer, located close to Volcán Galeras in the South-West of Colombia. It’s as close to drinking a chocolate brownie as we’ve ever experienced in an espresso.
During our first ever visit to Nariño in September 2019 we visited many producers whose farms circled the base of Volcán Galeras, located west of Pasto, as well as spending a day travelling through Yacuanquer. We connected with several farmers whose Caturra and Castillo coffee cherries make up this community blend of coffees that we are naming after the region.
One such farmer was Javier de la Rosa whose farm Finca San Javier is managed by Jorge Hernando Morales Daza. Incredibly fertile soil is flecked through with large rocks, which makes tending to the coffee trees and picking a slightly more treacherous task. We witnessed a team of three workers renovating an entire field of stripped coffee trees, wielding their pickaxes in the 33° heat to dig out the old, tired coffee plants.
Once dug out the next step was replanting the entire section of the farm with young, vigorous plants from their nursery, which would take them the best part of two weeks. Renovation of this scale is hard work and a big investment and shows a dedication and commitment to continuing in coffee production for many years to come.
Passing swathes of eucalyptus and potatoes on the drive from Pasto, the farmers in the high elevation region of Yacuanquer are predominantly working with coffee, a shift away from the more traditional crops of corn and beans. The topography is extreme and the terrain troublesome to navigate. Driving down from 2,760m in Yacuanquer town itself, the farmers whose coffee has contributed to this blend are growing their coffee at between 1,900 and 2,000 metres, all tending a combination of Caturra and Castillo varieties on their small estates, typically no larger than 4 hectares.
Once harvested each farm will process their own coffee cherries, first depulping and then leaving the sugary, mucilage covered parchment to ferment and break down in tanks for around 24 hours. After thoroughly washing the parchment to remove the sugars the coffee is dried in the sun for up to 12 days, typically on patios and rooftops.
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 this lot from Yacuanquer as well as two decaffeinated coffees from Quindío and Huila. 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.
Yacuanquer, Nariño, Colombia
Like drinking a rich, chocolate brownie rippled through with caramel. This creamy bodied espresso with hints of red fruit is super satisfying & balanced.