Your Coffee Subscription – May 2024

Dear coffee subscriber,

This month you will be receiving three different coffees from Elias and Bellanid at Finca Tamana in Colombia. You may already know that I have been working very closely with Elias and Bellanid since 2012 in order to improve the practices on their farm and the quality of their coffees. (Read more about that here.) Over the years we have planted many new cultivars on their land and been able to select and plant more of the better tasting ones. Last year we were able to get good volumes of some of my favourite ones, the Caturron and Bourbon which are tasting really distinct and sweet.

Elias and Bellanid have also managed to tweak the processing of their coffees in the last years by implementing slight longer fermentations and by changing the processing protocol with their new eco-mill. I believe this is one of several reasons why also their “standard” coffee, the Variedad Colombia, is tasting fruitier and sweeter than ever before. 

While we are waiting for new crop coffees from Honduras, El Salvador, Kenya and Ethiopia to arrive very soon I hope you will enjoy these super clean and sweet coffees from Elias and Bellanid.

Finca Tamana Variedad Colombia (1st & 4th bag)

Flavour notes
Sweet chocolate, caramel & red fruits
Producer
Elias Roa & Bellanid Sanchez
Harvest
June – July 2023
Origin
El Pital, Huila, Colombia
Process
Washed
Cultivar
Variedad Colombia

When Elias and his wife Bellanid 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 because of that it has consistently been tasting better compared to the Caturra over the years.

Many buyers are sceptical to the Variedad Colombia cultivar as it tends to be more herbal in the aftertaste than the traditional Caturra. Apart from that, they do taste very similar. (After all, Caturra was used in order to develop the Variedad Colombia hybrid by cross pollinating Caturra with the Timor Hybrid.) However, we have found that when the coffee cherries are picked super ripe at a purple colour, the herbal flavours tend to be more in the background and you’ll get more fruity characteristics in the cup. The meticulous picking and sorting protocols at Finca Tamana makes this coffee super sweet with subtle ripe red fruit flavours. The coffe has a recognisable clean and smooth cup profile that is a result of the thorough processing and drying techniques we have developed together with Elias and Bellanid over the years.

In order to make sure we get the very best coffees from Tamana each year, I taste through all the individual pickings of each cultivar and select the very best ones. Since they produce many small batches of Variedad Colombia, it means that I normally select between 10-15 pickings that gets blended in to 2-3 different lots depending on picking dates, moisture content, quality and cup profile. It has taken a lot of years and work to gradually raise the quality of these coffees, but I believe we have managed to take their “regular” coffee to a new level that is consistently sweet and clean and has a characteristic flavour profile that reflects the cultivar and region this coffee is from.

Finca Tamana Caturron (2nd & 5th bag)

Flavour notes
Herbal, floral habanero & papaya
Producer
Elias Roa & Bellanid Sanchez
Harvest
June – August 2023
Origin
El Pital, Huila, Colombia
Process
Washed
Cultivar
Caturron

This is the third harvest of the Caturron cultivar from Finca Tamana. Caturron is a local cultivar discovered in Huila. I sent a small sample of green beans for DNA testing last year and the results suggest it is a crossing between Hibrido de Timor (Arabica x Robusta) and Bourbon or Caturra. This means it is genetically very similar to Variedad Colombia but the Caturron cultivar is both different and very uniform with distinct oblong beans and it is showing good resistance against leaf rust. 

Elias and Bellanid planted this cultivar a few years back to see if it could offer a better cup quality and to my surprise the flavours were really distinct yet also a bit 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 flavour profile like that in Colombia before. After tasting several different pickings and batches we quickly understood that this was a consistent flavour profile for the coffee. I personally really enjoy the flavours and think it is kind of wild and fruity and have therefore encouraged Elias and Bellanid to plant more of it. The Caturron is for sure a very distinct coffee and I really hope you will enjoy it.

A few months ago I cupped this coffee together with Carolyne Lane which is responsible for the coffee program at restaurant Noma. I think she found a very precise flavour descriptor for this coffee when she said it reminded her of eating habanero chili or ghost pepper. «It is both herbal and floral.» When she said that it made so much sense.

Finca Tamana Bourbon (3rd & 6th bag)

Finca Tamana Bourbon

Flavour notes
Winey, red fruits & floral
Producer
Elias Roa & Bellanid Sanchez
Harvest
June – July 2023
Origin
El Pital, Huila, Colombia
Process
Washed
Cultivar
Bourbon

This is the fifth harvest we have bought of the red and pink Bourbon cultivars from Finca Tamana. I managed to get some seeds from a really nice red Bourbon in 2014 that I gave to Elias and Bellanid. We planted these seeds together in June 2014 and the trees were planted in a small hill at Finca Tamana in August 2015. At the same time Elias had gotten a handfull of seeds from a neighbour of some pink Bourbon (which actually has Ethiopian genetics). The difference is the red and pink colour of the coffee cherries when they are ripe but they also taste slightly different in the cup where the pink one is slightly more floral and the red one is slightly more fruity.

I am very happy that so far it is one of the best coffees we have tasted from Tamana. In fact Bourbon are among my all time favourite coffee cultivars but they need to be grown in good conditions to taste great. Fortunately Tamana seems to be a place where Elias and Bellanid can produce really tasty Bourbon coffees. 

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