There are few projects in specialty coffee more groundbreaking than the Cup of Excellence competition. This competition and auction, which started in 1999, takes place in coffee-growing countries around the world, operating as a tool for the discovery and sale of the very best coffees. Producers submit coffees that are vetted for quality by a series of professional coffee tasters. After several rounds, winners are announced and the top lots are auctioned off.
Since their inception, Madcap Coffee Company has looked to the Cup of Excellence competitions as a means to discover new coffees and relationships. In fact, many of the farmers they source their coffees from are past CoE winners: Ricardo Perez of Santa Lucia, Ellen and Stuart Prentice of Finca De Dios, the Rodriguez’s of El Porviner, and Enrique Lopez of Finca Chelin to name a few. This year Madcap Coffee sourced two more of these ultra-rare, ultra-exclusive coffees: the first and second place finishers in the Colombia Cup of Excellence.
The coffee we’re cupping today was 2014’s grand prize winner—the best coffee of over 900 entries. Carmen Cecilia Montoya Patiño, cultivates her Caturra coffee across two and a half hectares of her farm, Bella Vista, in the very-mountainous Antioquia region of Colombia at just over 2000 meters above sea level.
While expensive, enjoying coffees of this quality, unearthed through the CoE, is a sure way to participate in a system that rewards producers for hard work and achieved, discovered quality. The incentives behind CoE empowers producers across the globe to continue their pursuit of excellence, while the quality of the coffees and the stories behind them incentivize roasters to purchase and showcase these coffees.
Welcome to my Table, here in the corner of this cafe. Today we’re sipping the Colombia Carmen Patino, from Madcap Coffee Company in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Feel free to pull up a chair.
region: Urrao, Antioquia, Colombia
farm: Bella Vista
producer: Carmen Cecilia Montoya Patiño
elevation: 2000 meters above sea level
process: fully washed, patio dried
method: Hario V60
grind: 17, Preciso
coffee: 40 g
water: 400 g
pour: 2:30 concentric pulse pour, :30 drop
The aroma of the Colombia Carmen Patino is absolutely massive, and it booms out of the bag. It’s also a very complex aroma; fruity, sugary, mildly floral, but also pretty savory. It has a beautiful bouquet of rose petals and honeysuckle, bright mixed berries, and cane sugar, but it also featured sun dried tomato.
Taking my first few sips of the cup immediately post-brew, I’m struck by how delicate, complex, and nuanced the coffee’s flavors are while how dense and full-bodied the coffee’s profile is. I mean, this coffee is deep. Even up front, while the coffee is still piping hot, there are incredibly juicy flavors of plum, raspberry, blackberry, red grape, black cherry, and a silky Fuji apple acidity that gushes over the palate.
As the coffee cools these flavors all start blending together and the texture firms up into something more of a jellied mouthfeel. The coffee is very, very sweet, and that becomes even more true in its cool-down phase, as flavors of cane sugar and caramel kick up in the finish of each sip. What saves it, though, from being too sweet is an incredible tartness, with thanks to flavors of raspberry, lime, and spicy sour cherry.
Full body; jelly mouthfeel; malic acidity; clean finish.
Let me preface my final thoughts by thanking my brother-in-law, Tom Sullivan, and my good friends at Lemonjello’s Coffee in Holland, Michigan who sent me a small sample of this coffee to brew for myself. You guys rock.
Now. As for the coffee…
If I tell you that this coffee is fantastic (which it absolutely is), you’ll probably roll your eyes at your computer screen and exclaim, “Duh doy!” Because this coffee is obviously fantastic—it’s the 2014 Colombia Cup of Excellence winner and it was roasted by Madcap Coffee. You and I both expected this coffee to be fantastic going into the review.
What you probably really want to know is if the coffee lives up to its $47.50 price tag. To be honest, I can’t really answer that question for you; you just gotta do you. But if you do have that kind of expendable income, and you’re really passionate about trying very exclusive coffees that you can’t get anywhere else at any other time… Well. I certainly wouldn’t attempt talking you out of buying this coffee for yourself.
Madcap Coffee’s Colombia Carmen Patino is a real treat, and I’m really thankful that I got the opportunity to try it.
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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.