This coffee excels as part of Cafe Imports’ Regional Select Project. Smallholder farmers brought us a washed crop comprising Caturra and Colombia varieties.
Regional Selects is a new project we are creating in Colombia meant to highlight the unique profiles we have found are inherent in specific microregions within Colombia. The regions they will highlight to start are Huila, Narino, Cauca and Tolima.
Tolima is a Department in Colombia in the center West of the country. This part of the country has been difficult to travel to over the last ten years and is still a little dicey and pretty remote. Coffees from here, when done right, are nutty, tangy and fruity with creamy body and clean lingering acidity.
Farmers in this region have slightly larger farms than most in the south, sometimes 10-15 hectares of land. They pick, pulp, ferment and dry their coffee on raised beds with parabolic covers. They tend to work similar varietals, some old, some relatively old and some new but the style is pretty much the same.
We think that the terroir or soil, sun weather and placement on the planet contribute largely to the flavor of these coffees when picked ripe and handled properly. So these coffees are selected by cup and then blended together like a Rhone wine or a local honey that comes many fields in a 4 mile radius.
Welcome to my Table, here in the corner of this cafe. Today we’re sipping the Colombia Tolima, from PERC Coffee in Savannah, Georgia. Feel free to pull up a chair.
region: Tolima, Colombia
producer: smallholder farmers
association: Cafe Imports
elevation: 1500 – 1700 meters above sea level
cultivars: Caturra, Colombia
process: fully washed, raised bed dried
Brewing the Colombia Tolima fills my nostrils with sweet but subtle scents of chocolate, hazelnut, peanut butter, dried fruits, and wildflowers.
This is a very bawdy, full-bodied coffee with a thick, creamy texture that completely coats the palate and fills every corner of the mouth. Decadent milk chocolate floods over the taste buds carrying with it notes of raisin, fig, and juicy golden delicious apple that leaves a slightly astringent finish, revealing an aftertaste of hazelnut and panela that lingers on the palate.
As it cools, more fruits bubble up from the bottom of the cup but they don’t necessarily make the coffee brighter—no it still has an understated sweetness, it’s just a tiny bit livelier than it was post-brew. Surprisingly, though, the coffee kind of dilutes as it gets closer and closer to room temperature, taking on more of a watery mouthfeel. To get the most satisfaction out of the coffee’s flavors I have to hold the coffee on my tongue for a few seconds before swallowing; when I do that I pick up some nice notes of trail mix dried fruits (apricot, raisin, cranberry), apple, orange peel, pear, cherry, caramelized sugar, wafer, and wildflowers.
Full body; creamy mouthfeel; malic acidity; astringent finish.
THE BOTTOM LINE:
The Colombia Tolima, from PERC Coffee, is a nice coffee but I wish it would have retained its gusto and bravado over its duration. While it started off with such a bold declaration, it ended with a murmur as it just sort of fizzled out toward the end.
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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.