Introduction by Chris Kornman
Autumn is, in my opinion, the best season for coffee. Mornings are dipping into sweater weather, a few of our favorite Northern Hemisphere coffees are still tasting great, and new crop is landing from South America, Sumatra, and southern East Africa. While Colombia’s proximity to the Equator means that part of the country is harvesting coffee at nearly any given time, it’s the late-year landing Colombias I find that taste the sweetest.
Such is the case with this delight from farmer Arlex Olave Victoria. 4 of the 7 hectares on Olave’s farm, “La Laguna” are dedicated to coffee production, boasting about 20,000 trees in total. Arlex Olave was raised in a coffee-producing home, his father continues to grow it on a separate plot, and his nephew and mother assist with the work on La Laguna. Arlex likes to pick his coffees a little riper than average, and then prefers to sundry the pulped coffee on his patio, where he believes the airflow is best, for a few days under close watch from his home. After he’s confident the parchment has a solid start, usually about 5 days, he moves it to finish its cycle on parabolic raised beds.
The farm itself is located in La Calera, a community within Popayán, the capital city of Cauca. Cauca is in the far Southwest of Colombia, just north of Nariño, and is probably one of the most famous coffee growing regions of the country. Sr. Olave’s coffee is an instant classic – juicy bright notes of lemonade and plum with hints of floral and savory characteristics than add complexity to a lovely, clean coffee.
Green Analysis by Chris Kornman
This coffee from La Laguna is dense, and nicely screened. While it falls outside the standard Supremo or Excelso designations frequently seen in bulk lots from Colombia, it retains a high degree of precision, keeping the majority of its size between the 16 and 17 screens, slightly larger than the average. Moisture numbers and water activity are both in the usual range, and agreement was good between the Sinar and Kett moisture meters. This is a nicely prepped, dense, fresh coffee.
Sr. Olave’s trees offer a classic mix of Colombian cultivars, including the original rust resistant hybrid named for the country, as well as its predecessor, Caturra, and its successor, Castillo. Colombia’s coffee cultivar story often centers around the Caturra vs. Castillo debate – one a dwarf tree descended from naturally occurring mutations to heirloom Bourbon, the other a human-manufactured hybrid. Rust fungus resistant and heavily pushed by the FNC, Castillo is part of the new wave of Colombian coffees, and appears to be here to stay. I often see Castillo farmers opting to pick a little riper than they would have for their Caturra plants if they seek high quality, as Arlex Olave has done with this lot.
Roast Analysis by Jen Apodaca
A nice coffee with lots of mature fruit flavors, both of my roasts were very similar. I was hoping to stretch out the second roast a bit more, but the coffee quickly caught up to my original roast even though I doubled down by lowering the charge temperature and delaying the heat from the first roast. The smaller 16-17 screen size and high density of this coffee gave it a consistency in the drum that was delightful and certainly a benefit to any roaster.
On the cupping table there was slightly more tropical fruit and floral notes in roast one than in roast two, but they were ultimately very similar in character and both displayed a balanced sweetness. The higher acidity in roast one is likely due to the the shorter drying stage and Maillard stage since the post crack times in both roasts are identical.
Roast one: Cherry, kiwi, rose petal, butterscotch
Roast two: Dried fig, red apple, salted caramel, plum
Behmor Analysis by Evan Gilman
Unless otherwise noted, I follow a set standard of operations for all my Behmor roasts. Generally, I’ll use the 1lb setting, manual mode (P5), full power, and high drum speed until crack. Read my original post and stats here.
This incredibly dense coffee had plenty to offer, but I ended up taking it just a little too far (for my own particular tastes, anyhow). Crack was very persistent with this coffee, and continued for well more than a minute. In fact, the coffee was still popping when I took it out of the Behmor for cooling! Another thing I noticed at this moment was that the coffee held on to a good deal of chaff.
While syrupy sweet and chocolatey notes prevailed at the cupping table, there was a distinct roasty note – something I expected at 14.4% loss percentage. This coffee was developed for 1:35 after first crack (not really my longest development time), but apparently it took on a lot of this heat.
In retrospect, I would recommend dialing back the heat a bit as your roast approaches first crack when roasting this coffee. I think you’ll find that you can coast through first crack and come out with a gentle and lively coffee. If you’re into the chocolaty and syrupy notes, I would dial back the heat immediately at first crack, allowing the exothermic tendencies do the work for you.
Brew Analysis by Sandra Elisa Loofbourow
At first, I thought that a slightly heavier brew ratio on a Kalita Wave would bring out the heavy sweetness this coffee had to offer. I was looking for the chocolate, raisin, caramelized sugars that were presented so elegantly on the cupping table. But at a 1:16 brew ratio I found this coffee to be a little compacted or muddled, with a slightly astringent finish. My favorite of these first three brews had the highest extraction percentage, allowing for hints of ripe plum and marmalade. I had a hunch that opening up my brew ratio would allow for more of these clean sweet notes to come through.
Sure enough, at 1:18 Arlex Olave’s coffee was was silkier, cleaner, and juicier across the board. Instead of dried fruits and black tea astringency, we found mild florals, persimmon and plum sweetness, and a pleasant backbone of cocoa and brown sugar.
The important thing to note here is that throughout all brews and all roasts, this coffee remained uniquely drinkable. I found the phrase “easy drinking coffee” particularly accurate. You’re sure to enjoy slurping this delicious late crop Colombia from Arlex Olave and his team.
This coffee may be available in full size bags as well. Contact Us to find out more.