Your Coffee Subscription – May 2022

Dear coffee subscriber,

May has arrived and your subscription coffee has just left our roastery. This month, we have three wonderful coffees from Finca Tamana – a farm owned by my dear friend Elias Roa.

Elias joins me in this month’s coffee subscription video, which we recorded together on the farm. In the video, we talk about our journey working together over the past ten years, and of course about what you can expect from each of this month’s subscription coffee’s.

You can watch the full video above and learn more about each coffee below.

Finca Tamana Caturra & Variedad Colombia – 1st & 4th bag

Flavour notes: Sweet chocolate, caramel & red fruits
Producer: Elias Roa
Harvest: June – August 2021
Origin: El Pital, Huila, Colombia
Process: Washed
Cultivar: Caturra & Variedad Colombia

When Elias Roa bought Finca Tamana in 2011, most of the farm was planted with the two cultivars Caturra and Variedad Colombia. Since then the Caturra trees have been attacked by leaf rust almost every year and the quality and production has therefore been a bit up and down. The Variedad Colombia is resistant to leaf rust and has consistently been tasting better compared to the Caturra over the years. That is why we have recommended Elias to replant most of his Caturra trees with either resistant hybrid cultivars or better tasting traditional cultivars like Bourbon and SL28.

There are still some Caturra left on the farm and probably always will be, but since the production is very small and the flavour is very similar to the Variedad Colombia, we are normally blending the two based on harvest date and quality. In general, the lots we buy from Tamana are mixed like this because separating them into daily pickings is normally not practical in terms of milling, packing, etc. I still feel that we are able to preserve the uniqueness in these coffees and this lot is an excellent example of the «standard» quality from Tamana.

2021 was another great year for quality with good growing conditions that resulted in an overall high quality of the coffees from Tamana. In addition to good growing conditions Elias changed the process slightly based on experiments we have done together with Diego Campos.

He is now fermenting his coffees in cherry for 16-20 hours prior to de-pulping the coffee. After de-pulping, the coffee continues to ferment  in stainless steel tanks for another 24 hours before the parchment is washed by using a mechanical mucilage remover. Still, the coffees are soaked in clean water over night before they get dried under shade. This slight tweak in process has brought out a bit more fruity flavours in the coffee.

A fun fact is that during the whole 2021 harvest, all the coffees were carefully processed by Elias’ son in law, my good friend and also the 2021 world barista champion, Mr. Diego Campos. Diego worked closely with Elias during the whole harvest and as you might expect, he has an extreme attention to details. I think it really showed in the quality and consistency of all the lots we cupped and bought in 2021.

Finca Tamana Castillo Tambo – 2nd & 5th bag

Flavour notes: Herbal, caramel & chocolate
Producer: Elias Roa
Harvest: June 2021
Origin: El Pital, Huila, Colombia
Process: Washed
Cultivar: Castillo Tambo

Castillo is the advanced variedad Colombia hybrid developed by the Colombian research organisation Cenicafe. The researchers spent over 30 years breeding this cultivar which is resistent to leaf rust and has potential to produce a very good cup quality.

Since it’s launch a few years ago, Colombia experienced a huge outbreak of leaf rust, but most farmers recovered in record time as the Colombian coffee growers federation helped by supporting them with new Castillo seedlings to replace the traditional susceptible cultivars like Bourbon and Caturra.  It means that over 60% of the coffee grown in Colombia today is Castillo cultivars. But what about the cup quality?

There has been a lot of scepticism among the quality driven coffee professionals and a fear that the tasty Caturra will be replaced by an inferior hybrid like Castillo. I will not debate here wether one is better than the other, but all I can say is that I have both tasted exceptional Caturra and Castillo coffees as well as terrible versions of both in the past. A lot of coffee tasters say that in general the hybrids can have a slight more herbal aftertaste, which can be true, but we have found that when the cherries are picked at a deep purple colour, the herbal flavours are tamed and you get more sweetness and fruity flavours in the cup. I personally believe it all boils down to how you harvest, process and roast the coffee and of course how healthy the coffee trees were during production. 

This particular Castillo comes from the regional selection named Tambo. There are several different types of Castillo and this is one of three types being produced at Tamana. I have been fortunate to be able to taste many of the different Castillo selections over the years and in my opinion the one that has been consistently tasting better than the rest is the Castillo Tambo. It can sometimes have a delicate floral flavour in addition to the well known sweet, caramel and fruity flavours you typically find in these hybrid coffees. 

Finca Tamana Caturron – 3rd & 6th bag

Flavour notes: Intense herbal and tropical fruit
Producer: Elias Roa
Harvest: June – August 2021
Origin: El Pital, Huila, Colombia
Process: Washed
Cultivar: Caturron

This is the very first harvest of the Caturron cultivar from Finca Tamana. Caturron is a local cultivar discovered in Huila that to be honest we don’t really know the genetic background of. Most likely it comes from either a Variedad Colombia or Castillo selection, but the cultivar seems to be uniform with distinct oblong beans and it is showing good resistance to leaf rust.

Elias planted this cultivar a few years back to see if it could offer a better cup quality and last year we were able to taste the first real harvest from these trees. To my surprise the flavours were really distinct and also hard to describe. It tasted really herbal but at the same time very fruity like tropical fruits. Some of the local cuppers we showcased the coffee to thought the coffee was over-fermented or that there was something wrong with the cups as they had never tasted a profile like that in Colombia before. We quickly understood that this was a consistent flavour profile of the coffee after tasting several different pickings and batches. I personally really enjoy the flavour and think it is kind of wild and fruity and have therefore encouraged Elias to plant more of it. This is the premiere for this coffee from Finca Tamana and you are one of the first persons to ever taste it.

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