Featured Coffee: Colombia Nariño

Coffee of ColombiaNo one is sure when the first coffee plants reached Colombia but it is often though that they arrived with Jesuit missionaries in the second half of the 18th century. By the 1830s, coffee was making an appearance as a commercial product and by the 1850s it was being exported. It wasn’t until the first quarter of the 20th century, however, that coffee experienced tremendous growth. Today, perhaps no country is as associated with coffee as Colombia. This has much to do with both the high quality of the coffee and the large amount produced.

Our Director of Coffee, Brad Kirby, cupped six Colombian offerings before choosing the Colombia Supremo Nariño. “They were all very good Colombians,” he said. “But its malty arose and flavors of pear and honey, the Nariño really stood out. The entire roasting team decided pretty quickly that this would be our single-origin Colombian.”

Colombia has 32 departments (essentially states) and coffee is grown in at least 20 of them. We sourced our Colombian Supremo (the highest grade) from the country’s southernmost department, Nariño. Bordering the Pacific Ocean and the country of Ecuador, the finest grades are grown in the foot-hills of the Andes, in altitudes from 3,500 to 4,500 feet above sea level but in some places coffee is grown at elevations as high as 7500 feet. Coffee can be grown at these extreme altitudes because of the region’s proximity to the Equator (roughly 1 degree north). Temperatures in Nariño average 61-79° F with precipitation totals of around 75 inches, well distributed throughout the year. Around 700 trees are usually planted per acre, and most farms have native trees furnishing shade to the coffee plants. Many farms produce a crop year-round, with several harvest cycles in a year.

The Supremo Nariño, which we are excited to offer as our single-origin Colombian coffee, is a blend of beans from several farms, each averaging about 6 hectares with 5,000 trees per hectare. Because the farms are so small, the harvested coffee is blended together at the source and exported as one type. The quality control at source is outstanding because these smallholder farms are known for their commitment and dedication to the craft of growing great coffee. Beans are hand-picked at the peak of ripeness, wet processed using traditional fermentation and sun-dried on patios. When it reaches us in North Carolina, our team roasts it to a level determined to be optimal for flavor. The result is an undeniably delicious coffee.

For more information about our Colombia Nariño or any of our other specialty coffees, call us at 800-835-5943 or email orders@stocktongraham.com.

 

Introducing our new Colombia Supremo Pitalito

Colombia, the second largest producer of coffee in the world, is perhaps the best recognized source of specialty coffee. The town of Pitalito, which lies in the Valley of Laboyos in the Huila region, produces superior graded Supremo. The Colombia Supremo Pitalito shows off one of Colombia’s richest coffee micro-regions—its perfect blend of weather, altitude and soil producing some of the best coffee in the country.Colombia Supremo Pitalito Stockton Graham & Co craft roasted coffee

Our new single-origin Colombia Supremo Pitalito is a blend of beans from several farms, each averaging about 6 hectares and 5,000 trees per hectares. Because the farms are so small, the coffee is blended together at the source and exported as one type. The quality control at source is outstanding. These smallholder farms are known for their commitment and dedication to the craft of growing great coffee. Beans are hand-picked at the peak of ripeness, wet processed using traditional fermentation and sun-dried on patios.

Roastmaster Brandon Riggs and Head Roaster Brad Kirby cupped six Colombian offerings this season before choosing the Pitalito Colombia Supremo. “They were all very good Colombians,” Brad Kirby said. “But the Pitalito shined through more. The entire roasting team decided pretty quickly that this would be our new single-origin Colombian.”

The Colombia Supremo Pitalito had both the flavor and the balance that the roasting team was seeking. “Of all the Colombians we cupped this season, this one was a bit more balanced,” Brandon Riggs said. “I like the fruitiness, sweetness. It is a good, solid Colombian that could stand on its own as a single origin or could work well as a blend with other varietals.”Colombia Supremo Pitalito Cupping Attributes Stockton Graham

The flavor is complex, Brandon noted. “It has a sweet, caramel flavor upfront and a dry, malty spiciness on the back end.”

The aftertaste is long and lingering, Brandon added. “The aftertaste is similar to an East African in that it stays with you. That’s a good sign of a well-processed Latin America coffee.”

Learn more about cupping protocols from the Specialty Coffee Association of America here.

Investigating New Latin America Coffees

Our new Colombia Supremo Pitalito was selected after an extensive process our roasting team is undergoing to investigate new Central and South American coffee crops from Colombia, Costa Rica and Guatemala. Stockton Graham & Co. tries to purchase coffee with the harvest cycles so that it is as fresh as possible.

But, of course, as coffee is an agricultural product, its quality and availability changes from season to season. “That’s one of the things I personally love about coffee,” said Brandon Riggs. “It’s agricultural so it is constantly changing. So we never know exactly what’s next.”

To help ensure the coffee we purchase for our customers is of the highest quality, the Stockton Graham & Co. roasting team undergoes extensive cuppings of each crop before we commit to bringing it in. “A good coffee roaster is never done researching, adjusting and refining the coffee,” Brad Kirby said. “We use regular cupping as a tool to assess the quality of the coffee, and refine the roast levels, to ensure that the roasting process is bringing out the very best that a coffee can be.”

The roasting process happens in our Raleigh, NC coffee facility where we craft roast coffee for our own Stockton Graham Coffees brand, as well as for Dilworth Coffee and for hundreds of private label customers around the nation.

For more information on our Colombia Supremo Pitalito or to order samples, please call our customer care team at 800 835 5943.