A Colectivo-exclusive coffee, Colombia Paso Fino is created through an intensive search for the best deliveries from hundreds of coffee producers in the departments of Huila and Cauca in southwestern Colombia. Each lot is screened and cupped at origin as well as at our lab in Milwaukee, and the best lots are selected and blended.
“A little background on the Paso Fino name,” Colectivo’s roaster, Cody Kinart, recently explained to me. “What it is, really, is an umbrella brand that allows us to source coffee from the same producing countries, move regions if we need to, and still be true to our packaging. This coffee is a perfect example as why we do this in Colombia (as well as Costa Rica, Sumatra, and…Brazil). All of these coffees are year-round offerings, so if we find something we LOVE that isn’t in Huilla, for example, we don’t need to adjust our packaging.”
Colectivo’s long-time relationship with the Pedro Echavarria’s family and Pergamino Coffee Exporters brought this selection Stateside with forty plus other samples late last year. Normally, Colectivo builds their own lots, but according to Kinart, this Inza, Cauca mico-blend was already skillfully blended by the Pergamino crew Colectivo decided to just stick with it.
The San Jose blend (the blend’s name given by the Echavarrias) is grown by a collection of small farmers in the Inza region between 1,800 and 2,000 MASL. Each lot is picked, depulped, fermented up to 24 hours and dried on raised beds. Thanks to Pedro and his family, these farmers can continue to produce very small, high quality lots while having the confidence that it will be exported.
Welcome to my Table, here in the corner of this cafe. Today we’re sipping the Colombia Paso Fino, from Colectivo Coffee in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Feel free to pull up a chair.
origin: Huila, Colombia // Cauca, Colombia
producer: smallholder farmers
elevation: 1800 – 2000 meters above sea level
cultivars: Typica, Caturra
process: fully washed, raised bed dried
The aroma of the Colombia Paso Fino is filled with fragrances of red fruit, citrus, and sugar brownings. Apple, cherry, orange juice, brown sugar, and caramel.
As soon as I take my first sip from the cup, BANG!—it explodes onto my palate with authority. For such a bright, lively, silky, acid-forward coffee, it has a surprisingly dense, full body. It has a smooth, buttery presence of butterscotch and vanilla that completely envelops my tongue while a surge of juicy fruits comes rushing in over the top. Flavors of bright, tangy, effervescent, sparkling, zesty, and sweet flavors of red delicious apple, blood orange, orange rind, tomato, grapefruit, peach, amaretto sour, cantaloupe, mango, and lemon-lime soda flood my taste buds, with each sip finishing cleanly and leaving behind a fruity aftertaste.
Wow. Wow wow wow. From the very first sip, this iteration of Colectivo Coffee’s Colombia Paso Fino was unreal. This coffee, truly, was off the charts. It was a coffee that featured tons of depth, complexity, balance, clarity, and an absolutely dazzling flavor profile.
I don’t know how I managed to let Colectivo fly under my radar for so long, but when I received this coffee (as a gift from my sister in law) it suddenly occurred to me that I haven’t tried anything from Milwaukee’s most famous roaster since they changed their name and branding from Alterra to Colectivo. And, after trying their Colombia Paso Fino, I’m really kicking myself for it. Have all their coffees been so much better since the re-brand?
This one, I can almost assured you, will make another appearance in January 2017, when I count down my favorite coffees of 2016.
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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.