Greetings, fellow coffee aficionados. Welcome back to my table, here in the corner of this cafe.
Today, we’re jumping back across the Atlantic Ocean, landing in South America, and climbing the Colombian Andes highlands to their highest heights to sip another coffee from the ever-masterful Stumptown Coffee Roasters. The Wormhole, here in Chicago, has been featuring Stumptown heavily at their guest pour-over bar over the past couple weeks, and we have been the true beneficiaries of The Wormhole’s benevolence. Stumptown has, of course, been pounding the Chicago market with their coffees not only at The Wormhole, but also at Heritage Bicycles General Store, so it only makes sense that we ought to jump at the opportunity to sip as many of their coffees as we possibly can while we can.
So far, we have reviewed Stumptown’s Finca el Injerto from Guatemala and Mordecofe from Ethiopia. Today, we’re going to experience their take on a region that the Table has been adoring lately: Colombia.
Ready to revisit this blossoming area of the world? Feel free to pull up a chair.
Not only is this the third coffee we’ve had from Stumptown in the past month, this is the second coffee we’ve had in the past week or so from the Tolima region of Colombia (the first was Heart Coffee Roasters’ magnificent Colombia Los Pijaos de Tolima), so I’m eager to see what Stumptown did differently with their offering.
The first notable difference is that they sourced their beans from a different cooperative than Heart did. As you may or may not recall, Heart purchased their beans from Asociacion De Caficultores Especiales Del Alto Saldana (or, ASOCEAS) Cooperative; Stumptown purchased this coffee Asociación de Productores de Café Especial El Jordan (or, APCEJOR) – a coop that recently merged with ACEDGA to create the Maciza cooperative. The variety of producers within these two associations creates a rich foundation for the producers to create specially sorted lots during different periods of the harvest.
The main initiative in this merge: entering the specialty coffee market to strengthen their community and improve their income.
Improvements began right away. In 2003, the producers of APCEJOR entered themselves in a project that focused on maximizing the quality of their crops through education and training. Several years later, in 2009, they installed a full-sized cupping lab in Gaitana so that they could taste their coffee for themselves in a more professional manner, offer and receive criticism and praise, then head back into the fields to improve their crops for the next cupping.
Origin: Gaitania de Planadas, Tolima, Colombia
Farm: Asociación de Productores de Café Especial El Jordan
Elevation: 1500-1800 meters above sea level
Cultivars: Typica, Caturra, Colombia
Process: washed, raised bed dried
Certifications: Direct Trade
The aroma of this coffee is already markedly different than the offering from Heart. El Jordan’s aroma has some really nice fruity elements like apple, lemon, and berry; also mixed in is a dash of zesty herbs.
Diving straight in with my first sip and I’m getting a pretty heavy Granny Smith apple crispness and juiciness and the sweetness of strawberries and raspberries, sitting atop a bed of caramel. It’s smooth and creamy and syrup-like, but it also a bit of a tartness to it. As the cup cools down a bit more, the tartness comes out even more with a zesty lemon acidity, but the caramel flavor remains constant, which makes the acidity more rounded and balanced.
At room temperature, the caramel fades a bit and the cup starts to resemble something a bit more candied and salty. It actually reminds me a lot of a certain type of candy; what are they called – gumdrops? They’re chewy and fruity and have that crystallized salt sprinkled on them? This cup is a lot like a lemon gumdrop – it’s sweet, a little tart, and a little salty.
Medium body; bright, tart acidity; smooth, creamy mouthfeel; clean finish with a slight aftertaste of hibiscus and ginger.
the bottom line:
There’s no other way to say it – Colombia is really impressing me. Each cup I’ve had from various regions of the country over the past few months has been so radically different than the one before it, and they’ve all been really good. Stumptown Coffee’s Colombia El Jordan is certainly no exception – this cup had a lot of personality from its caramel-coated apple beginning to its candied, lemon-gumdrop-like end to its floral and herbal finish.
As always, this coffee is available for purchase on the Stumptown website, and, if you’re a Chicagoan, it’s currently available at The Wormhole on North Milwaukee Avenue. It comes highly recommended from the Table.
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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.