Colombia consistently ranks in the top five coffee-producing countries in the entire world. Coffee is a massive export for the Colombian economy and one of their main sources of income.
In such a market, large production conglomerates, cooperatives, and some independently successful fincas are bound to receive more commercial recognition than very small, individual- or family-owned fincas. That is not to say, however, that these much, much smaller farms don’t have the same quality as the larger producers.
The coffee we’re brewing today, for example, is part of a very successful program through which Case Coffee Roasters’ partner/importer, Cafe Imports, set out to search for the very best coffees in Colombia.
At a time when farmers were getting about 500,000 pesos for 1 carga of parchment (125 Kilos), Imports offered 1 million pesos to farmers in the region who could produce an exceptionally high-scoring coffee (around 90 points).
Obviously, farmers were excited to receive such a significant payment, but equally ecstatic just to receive the recognition that they are some of the top producers in Colombia—a country where individual farmers struggle to emerge from the shadows of massive operations.
One such producer was Htelman Rojas, the owner of Finca Esperanza in Pitalito, Huila.
Welcome to my Table, here in the corner of this cafe. Today we’re sipping a cup of Colombia Finca Esperanza, from Case Coffee Roasters in Ashland, Oregon. Feel free to pull up a chair.
origin: Pitalito, Huila, Colombia
farm: Finca Esperanza
producer: Htelman Rojas
elevation: 1500 meters above sea level
process: fully washed, patio dried
The aroma coming off this cup of Colombia Finca Esperanza is sweet, fragrant, and brimming with complexity: chocolate, violet aromatics, citrus, lemon peel, and nuts.
The first few sips are certainly unique, too. It seems like this coffee is throwing everything it has at my palate all at once. It kicks off with a soily earthiness, but then immediately thereafter, the acidity of the cup pushes through the crust and it is already really pungent—it has a lemon meringue pie sweetness to it with savory, crumble crust, but the Meyer lemon has very sharp edges, and it is very tart. Furthermore, it has very distinct notes of Dutch chocolate, cane sugar, pistachio, and bakers spices, and all of this flavor is happening all at the same time. It’s a palate overload.
As it cools, however, all of these individual and unique flavors come together, forming a well-rounded and balanced coffee towards the bottom of the cup. I will say, though, that the flavors in the cup don’t really change; they congeal, and become one unified cocoa lemon candy bar flavor.
Full body; velvety mouthfeel; lemon acidity; clean finish.
the bottom line:
The Colombia Finca Esperanza, from Case Coffee Roasters, is a unique, dynamic, and complex coffee that lays it all on the line from the very first sip.
I make a very conscious effort not to repeat the tasting notes that a roaster provides for their coffees (I don’t even read their tasting notes until after my review is written), but the notes on this label are bang on: Dutch chocolate, lemon meringue, and assertive—a descriptor that makes a lot more sense after you’ve tried the coffee. It is an assertive coffee—it’s a coffee with something to prove. It’s the “Rudy” of Colombian coffee; just because this lot is a little guy from the massive Colombian market doesn’t mean it doesn’t belong on a specialty roaster’s shelves.
In terms of profile, the Colombia Finca Esperanza is a much tastier coffee in the second half of the cup and a much more interesting coffee up front. That’s what makes it such a dynamic coffee.
Oh, yeah—and it’s hella good over ice.
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Andrew is a husband, father, dog lover, craft beverage enthusiast, content creator, and niche market Internet celebrity. Formerly of A Table in the Corner of the Cafe and The Pulitzer Project and contributor to Barista Magazine and Mental Floss, he’s been writing on the Internet for years.