Your Coffee Subscription – June 2024

Dear coffee subscriber,

Summer is approaching and we are still waiting for the fresh crop coffees from 2024 to arrive our warehouse. In the meanwhile we are almost completely sold out of last year’s coffees, but we have been saving a few gems for you that we are sending out to our subscribers this month.

Among them the Geisha from Finca Tamana, that we have been working on improving with Elias and Bellanid on their farm for several years, as well as late harvest Pacas from Nacimiento. Both coffees are really juicy with fruity flavours that work well in iced coffees (see our recipe here). The Castillo is a bit more rich and chocolaty and if I was to drink it cold, I would prefer to use it in a milk drink or similar.

Next month we will for sure send out the first coffees harvested in 2024. Until then I hope you will enjoy this month’s coffees.

Finca Tamana Castillo Tambo (1st & 4th bag)

Finca Tamana Castillo Tambo

Flavour notes
Herbal, caramel & chocolate
Producer
Elias Roa & Bellanid Sanchez
Harvest
June 2023
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 that 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 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 whether 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 muted 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, chocolate, caramel, herbal and fruity flavours you typically find in these hybrid coffees.

Nacimiento Pacas (2nd & 5th bag)

Nacimiento Pacas

Flavour notes
Winey, red berries & stone fruits
Producer
Jobneel Caceres Dios
Harvest
May 2023
Origin
El Cielito, Santa Barbara, Honduras
Process
Washed
Cultivar
Pacas

For a long time we have asked Jobneel to separate his coffees by cultivar and harvest date. As a result we have not only gotten coffees with different flavour profiles due to the variations in cultivars but we have also noticed that the flavour intensity tend to increase from the start of the harvest in January/February towards the end of the harvest in June. This is most likely due to the later pickings are harvested from the higher altitudes on the farm. 

Unlike the 2022 harvest which was of slightly lower than average in quality, the 2023 harvest was not only larger but also much better in terms of quality. This particular lot is from the last picking from the 2023 harvest and comes mainly from the highest part of the farm at around 1600 – 1800 meters above sea level. We have kept this exclusively for our subscribers as it was one of the best lots from Jobneel last year. 

The coffee has intens winey and fruity notes with a little herbal finish. Normally when I taste these coffees together with the exporters we work with in Santa Barbara, they describe the flavours of these coffees with words like mango and orange, etc. I personally think of red berries and red wine but that is just because we have different cultural backgrounds and references when it comes to food and flavours.

Finca Tamana Geisha (3rd & 6th bag)

Flavour notes
Stone fruits, red berries & floral
Producer
Elias Roa & Bellanid Sanchez
Harvest
July 2023
Origin
El Pital, Huila, Colombia
Process
Washed
Cultivar
Geisha

The Geisha is another ‘new’ cultivar planted at Finca Tamana in recent years. Elias and Bellanid managed to get some good Geisha seeds from one of their neighbours and planted a few hectares of it at Finca Tamana some years ago. Unfortunately it seemed like the seeds they got was a mix of different cultivars as not all the trees looked like Geisha when they grew up which was reflected by an average flavour profile in the cup. 

Because of this Elias and Bellanid started selecting seeds from the trees that looked like Geisha and that had coffee cherries with the familiar sweet papaya flavour that Geisha cherries normally have. They planted these seeds and after a year, when the seedlings were ready to be planted, they decided to replace a few hectares of Caturra with these new Geisha trees. 

Today the trees have grown tall and grow partly under shade. The flavour of the coffee is more intense and much better than the first harvest from their first plantings of Geisha. Having said that, this is not a very intense Geisha and it is still far away from the most aromatic Geisha coffees you can buy from Panama or other areas in Colombia. But instead of focusing on what is not there I tend to appreciate the sweetness and the delicate floral and stone fruit flavours that this coffee has to offer. 

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