William Martínez has over a decade of coffee growing experience in Southern Colombia. His farm, La Cueva (“the cave”), is located in El Tablón de Gómez. Just up the road from Buesaco, in Nariño, the microregion has become a target for high quality speciality coffees in recent years. Colombia’s equatorial southwestern most department with borders on both the Pacific Ocean and Ecuador is ideal for coffee and other agriculture.
William’s farm is typical for the region – just two hectares. In addition to coffee he is growing beans and corn to help feed his family (which includes his wife and three children).
His coffee, however, is anything but ordinary. Exemplifying some of the best traits of Nariño, William’s coffee seamlessly integrates bright citric fruit character from the cultivar and elevation, the bold berry, currant, and grape notes that indicate exceptional cherry ripeness and small scale pulping and fermentation. Held up by a dense, chocolaty backbone, there’s really not a whole lot left to be desired from a Nariño coffee… except for there to be more of it.
William’s coffee is 100% Caturra, a naturally occurring mutation of the heirloom Bourbon variety. First identified in Brazil in the early part of the 20th century, Caturra is a dwarf tree with resistance to windy conditions. It has proliferated extensively throughout the Americas, in part due to its high productivity (despite above average fertilization requirements) and the fact that the trees can be planted more densely than comparably yielding cultivars. It continues to be a popular choice in Colombia, however there has been a push to replace it wholesale with the more resistant variety Castillo. This has met resistance from some cuppers who believe Castillo is incapable of achieving the same quality of flavor.
Coffees from Nariño are frequently small and dense, and the coffee from Finca la Cueva is no different, exhibiting on-trend numbers in both departments. Note the somewhat widely distributed screen size, which might (along with the high density) require a little extra push in the roaster. Also of note are the nicely stable moisture content and the great looking water activity number. The dry moisture indicates a nicely dried coffee, and the water activity brushes up against ideal for Maillard reactions during the roast without indicating risk of premature fading. It’s a good bet this coffee will remain delicious for some time.
A very dynamic coffee with a remarkable level of consistency in flavor notes between the two different roasts. At first glance you notice that PR-429 is 43 seconds longer in total roast time than my second roast, PR-430 and PR-429 finished with a 3.5 °F higher end temperature. On closer inspection, PR-429 also has a longer Maillard reactions stage from the onset of color change to first crack by 47 seconds, with post crack development time relatively similar with only a minor difference of 10 seconds. Notes of watermelon, hibiscus, and stonefruit were prevalent in both roasts on the cupping table. PR-429’s blackberry and chocolate transformed into orange and caramel in our lighter roast, PR-430.
This is a really clean southern Colombia with a wide spectrum of flavors. In lower dosage Bonavita brews, the coffee offered up more of its floral notes and delicate fruit tones like hibiscus tea, honeydew melon, and lemongrass. In a higher dose Chemex with a higher TDS (but very similar extraction % yield), the coffee was a little more effusive with its stone fruit flavors and brown sugar sweetness.