Our coffee offerings have changed greatly over the last few weeks. We are at a point in the season where our efforts in Colombia and Sulawesi are bearing tangible results in the café.
The Colombia Andino is the result of relationship building in Bruselas, a town in the Huila region of Southern Colombia. Over the last several months, we have been able to offer an array of distinct single-farmer microlots from several producers in Bruselas. During Jeremy and Tal’s recent visit to Colombia, they met up with these farmers that would contribute to a larger lot exclusively for Four Barrel.
The Andino group comprises 100 producers that surround the town of Bruselas. The group was established by farmer Helio Rico during the crash of the coffee market in 2002. During this market crisis, many coffee farmers were moving down from the mountains to grow more profitable coca. Thils the group has been able to sell at a premium to buyers such as Nespresso, this last year marked a growth for them in the direction of quality with the establishment of a cupping lab at the buying station by Four Barrel’s sourcing partner, Virmax. All coffees delivered are scored and approved accordingly: if a lot of coffee is not approved for grades A (84-85 points) or AA (86-87), farmers receive constructive feedback as to what inhibited their coffee from yielding higher scores. Lots receiving grade A, AA, and AAA (88-90) are paid a premium higher than any other exporter in the region. Lots scoring above 90 points qualify for farmer lots which fetch an even higher premium, and become the small microlots we have featured before. With Virmax’s cupping lab in place, the potential of an understanding and achievement of quality is sustainable and long-yielding. Four Barrel purchases as much AAA as we can, in addition to a small amount of AA to support farmer development.
This particular lot is from the smaller first semester harvest of the two harvest cycles of Southern Colombia. While the deliveries were slim from the Andino group during this smaller harvest, we found coffees from four producers that we scored above 88 points: Helio Rico, David Burbano, Norbey Macias, and Robiro Muñoz. These farms are small, most of them only a couple of acres of Caturra, so we expect this limited to go fast.
In the cup, cherry pipe tobacco, dark chocolate, and dried cherries introduce the layered acidity, silky mouthfeel, and excellent structure. The Colombia Andino is a great introduction to a group of farmers that we will be seeing more of this coming winter when the larger second harvest arrives.
Helio Rico on his farm
In July, Jeremy traveled to Indonesia to meet with a number of producers we have featured in the past, as well as to establish new relationships. The first coffee from these efforts has arrived and is an exciting prelude of more to come.
The Sulawesi Toraja Sapan is derivative of a coffee we offered in the Spring, the Sulawesi Toarco. PT Toarco Jaya is a private company in the Tana Toraja region of Sulawesi. Local farmers hand-pulp, ferment, wash, and dry their coffee before submitting it to Toarco Jaya, which then performs the final drying, milling, and grading. Many smallholder farmers in the town of Sapan contribute their coffee to Toarco, and this lot represents a narrow selection of the best coffees from the region. Unlike most coffees from Indonesia, this coffee is fully washed, which is far cleaner and more revealing of the terroir. Consequently, in the cup the Toraja Sapan is surprising for an Indonesian coffee. Dried pineapple, rosewater, and concord grape mesh with a dense body with tropical wood notes and a resonant, balanced structure.
A small-holder farmer in Sapan