Here at Norfolk Coffee we love a good Colombian coffee, as do so many coffee drinkers. In our experience from selling coffee beans at our shop, The Black Apollo, that a majority of people are drawn to a Colombian coffee without even knowing what the tasting notes are, or which area it is from.
This is no bad thing and probably stems from adverts over the years and consumers knowing that Colombian coffee tends to be a safe bet. No nasty surprises. The Colombia coffee industry recognised the value of building a brand very early on and it has certainly paid dividends and stuck in people’s minds.
Colombian coffees have an enormous range of flavours, from the heavy, chocolate coffees to the sweet and fruit lots. The enormous variation between and within the regions is one well worth exploring.
There is a huge amount of generic Colombian coffee which is often labelled ‘Supremo’ or ‘Excels’. These terms relate to the size of the bean and have absolutely no relation to quality. These beans may come from hundreds of farms and are blended before being sorted to the necessary sizing grade.
Fortunately there is an excellent speciality section of the Colombian coffee industry that works hard to maintain traceability and to grow high quality beans. Lots of the growers wanting to grow quality coffee to benefit from the higher prices paid form associations, which enable them to access markets that would otherwise be difficult for them to get a foothold in.
One such association is ASORCAFE (Asociación de Productores de Café del Oriente Caucano),in the region of Cauca. ASORCAFE was founded in 2004 by 10 coffee growers with an entrepreneurial spirit who were tired of private parchment buyers who were paying them below national prices.
The region’s violent past, with a heavy presence of FARC guerrillas had historically prevented the FNC (Colombia’s national coffee board) and speciality focused exporters from establishing a base in the region. Now that the violence has diminished, it has allowed the growers to seek increased access to quality focused markets.
ASORCAFE represents around 450 producers but the beans we have just purchased are from a microlot produced and processed by Carlos Alberto Ulcer, a smallholder member of the association, on his farm Finca Las Brisas.
Produced at 1,900 metres above sea level, this very special lot was selected from the rest of the association’s producers as being of exceptional quality, a great showcase for what this remote and often overlooked region of Colombia has to offer.
For the next few weeks you will be able to buy Finca Las Brisas as a single origin or as part of our brand new espresso blend, Sally’s Blend (£1 of every bag sold goes to funding an Admiral nurse for dementia care in Norfolk)
We hope to bring a variety of different Colombian coffees to our online shop over the coming months so keep your eyes peeled.
Hopefully, the work of associations like ASORCAFE will mean that Colombian coffee is remembered more for it’s excellent and diverse speciality coffee rather than it’s generic coffee.