Over the last few years we've become infatuated with the ripe, fruity characteristics of the best coffees from Colombia's Nariño region, in the south-westerly corner of the country near the border with Ecuador. This lot from Yuli packs in tonnes of fruit punch flavours, making for a playful & buoyant cup.
The Farmer & Co-operative
Yuli Rosibel Parades tends to her Castillo coffee trees on her farm, Guacimal, located near the municipality of Ancuya in Colombia’s Nariño region, at an altitude of around 1,900 metres above sea level.
Ancuya is on the north-westerly side of Volcán Galeras, to the west of the city of Pasto. When we travelled around Nariño lots of the producers we visited with have their farms off the main ring round that runs around the base of the volcano, and farms are typically drier and with more volcanic deposits in the soil compared to other producing regions in Colombia.
Yuli is one of around 1,500 members of the Café Occidente Co-operative, who operate a premium program to ensure higher scoring lots are rewarded with appropriately high prices. Founded in 1977 with an initial 50 members this number has grown over the years as the co-operative has expanded to more municipalities and regions. This has enabled some of its producers to place highly and even win the Colombian Cup of Excellence competition several times since 2005.
Around September, Yuli will employ pickers to pass around her coffee trees, working in several stages to select ripe Castillo cherries to be processed. Once depulped, the coffee is dry fermented in the manner typical to the region, for a period of 24-48hrs, depending on climatic conditions.
After the mucilage has broken down sufficiently, but before the fermentation stage has gathered enough pace to begin imparting off flavours to the cup, the coffee is fully washed and scrubbed before being placed on beds in polytunnels to dry down to a stable moisture content.
Yuli ensures her parabolic driers are well ventilated, to allow sufficient airflow so as not to overheat the coffee whilst drying, and after around 15 days the coffee is dry.
Ancuya, Nariño, Colombia
Hinting at sour apple candies, a clean, zippy cup carries aromas of lemon verbena, bramble fruit & vanilla. Sweet tropical notes create a lingering finish.