ORIGIN: San Pedro de Cartago, Taminango and San Lorenzo - Nariño, Colombia
ROAST LEVEL: Medium
TASTING NOTES: Plum, Green Apple, Hard Candy, Vanilla.
BACKGROUND: Terra Coffee SAS is a young producer group, established in 2016, with a narrow focus on developing high quality coffees alongside select producers in the Huila and Nariño departments, and sharing them with the world. The small company manages one single producer association in each department where they work, “Ecoterra” in Nariño, with 140 producer partners, and “Terra Verde” in Huila, with 120. For Terra Coffee SAS as a whole, quality in coffee is very rationally understood as a direct pathway to well-being for volume-limited, small coffee farming families. Driving their business model is an understanding that quality results from small harvests have direct impacts on not just the farm owner, but the many dependents on each small farm, including young children, older adults, and the women of the household performing essential labor that often goes unpaid. By increasing quality and placing microlots in the market, Terra Coffee SAS plans not only to increase prices to growers and their families, but also increase their sense of pride in the details of their work. The 32 producers contributing to this coffee synchronized on a precise fermentation model which, in the own words of Terra Coffee’s founders, was “designed to obtain the best fruit and citric notes of Nariño, as well as the characteristic sweetness of the region” and “leave us with a brilliant, juicy acidity”. Indeed the municipalities of Cartago, Taminango, and San Lorenzo are all just south or east of La Unión, a very well-known corner of the Nariño Andes for big-bodied and sweet coffees. So this is a direct effort to surpass an already high status quo. The particular processing method devised here involves two fermentation steps at different phases post-harvest. The first occurs in the whole cherry: fresh-picked fruit is bagged and allowed to ferment for 36 hours, for the mucilage fibers to break down and the sugars to peak. The second phase is more traditional but still very specific: the softened cherry is depulped and fermented dry in open tanks for another 60-70 hours. Finally the fermented parchment is lightly washed and dried in the sun. Each of the 32 producers exhaustively monitored temperature throughout to ensure each batch of coffee was homogenous with the others in order to create a focused, precise final profile. The resulting lot is exceedingly clean, complex in acidity, lightly creamy, and with a distinct berry juice to the sweetness. As designed! Northeastern Nariño is uniformly high altitude, dense, and rugged, with regular ridge tops surpassing 2400 meters. San Pedro de Cartago, Taminango, and San Lorenzo are all technically valley towns, and still hover around 1600 meters each, with farmland increasing in altitude on all sides. The participating farms are only slightly larger than Colombia’s national average, at 2-3 hectares each, and all processing is done at a very small scale.
PROCESSING: Double Fermented & Washed - Experimental 36-hour whole cherry maceration followed by pulping, 60-70 hour dry parchment fermentation. Fermented parchment is then lightly washed and dried in the sun.
DRYING METHOD: Patio Sun-Dried
ELEVATION: 1600-1800 MASL
CULTIVAR: Caturra, Colombia
**Photo credits: Royal Coffee**
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