An inspection of the coffee plantation of Sergio Tobón in Ciudad Bolivar is only possible by mule. The slopes full of coffee fields at an altitude of 1750-2100m are extremely steep.
Tobón used to be a lawyer in Medellin until a few years ago but he wanted a change; work with more satisfaction and a closer contact with nature. He finds it essential to run his business in a sustainable and environmentally friendly way. “My coffee has been certified by Rainforest Alliance and UTZ,” he explains proudly. “I find it very important to stand out from the crowd so I do focus a lot on environmental protection and reforestation of my property.” He is also very active promoting his quality coffee locally and even hires a barista to brew coffee for visitors to taste at the weekly towns’ market and other events in town.
Tobón has a medium sized plantation of 140 hectares. Eighty hectares are used for coffee, most of the rest is covered in different types of trees: eucalyptus, bamboo, cedar, and dozens of indigenous varieties. The steep slopes where the coffee grows to about 2m high are best inspected on mule-back. He does not grow any other crops in between the coffee like banana or plantain. “Because the plantation is at a very high altitude we need all the sun we can get to ripen the berries,” he explains. But the altitude, and slow ripening, aid in creating a wonderfully good coffee.
Welcome to my Table, here in the corner of this cafe. Today we’re sipping the Colombia Vuelta Bonita, from Kuma Coffee in Seattle, Washington. Feel free to pull up a chair.
region: Antioquia, Colombia
farm: Vuelta Bonita
producer: Sergio Toban
elevation: 1800 – 2100 meters above sea level
process: fully washed, patio dried
certifications: Rainforest Alliance, UTZ
method: Kalita Wave
grind: 18, Preciso
coffee: 32 g
water: 475 mL
pour: 2:00 pour, 2:00 drop
The aroma of the Colombia Vuelta Bonita is heavenly—rapturous, even—and it has me swooning. Cherry, apple, stone fruit, honey, caramel, and brown sugar make for a beautiful, lively, and sweet aroma.
Taking my first few sips of the cup immediately post-brew, a honeyed (both in terms of flavor and texture), medium-bodied coffee lazily rolls over my palate. Rich and dense flavors of raw cocoa nibs, toffee, and palm sugar spread themselves over the taste buds.
As the cup cools off… Wowwy zowwy. This coffee just got incredibly complex and very, very unique somewhere between the previous sip and this one. Wow. Okay, let me try to explain what’s happening here, because it really was a very unexpected turn this coffee just took and it’s really difficult to pinpoint exactly what’s going on in my cup right now…
The coffee still has all of the flavors from up front showing up here in the second half, but there are an awful lot of elements that have come to the surface, making its former notes more secondary, and each sip presents my taste buds with something different that wasn’t there before. No flavor is replaced and no note drops off; rather, the coffee just keeps getting more and more intricately layered. It starts off with a bouquet of floral aromatics (rose hips and honeysuckle), a splash of sweet iced tea, and those are closely followed by peach, strawberry, cherry, passion fruit, coconut, apricot, ginger, and a beautiful, sweet, and mildly tart clementine acidity.
What an incredible experience this has been.
Medium body; velvety mouthfeel; citrus acidity; clean finish.
THE BOTTOM LINE:
Great googly moogly.
I’d just like to point out that every time I try a new coffee from Kuma Coffee, I publicly exclaim, “This is the greatest coffee ever!” I know, I know—I’m becoming the Boy Who Cried Kuma. But, here’s the thing—each coffee I try from Kuma is incredible. In the three years I’ve been reviewing coffees, I’ve tried a lot of Kumas and I’ve never had one that was “just meh.” Each and every coffee they’ve sent me has been amazing.
Wouldn’t you know it—their Colombia Vuelta Bonita is no different. In fact, this coffee may very well be the best I’ve had all year. And, to echo a famous political debate, “There [I] go again…”
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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.