When I purchased Ruby’s Peru Idelberto, they provided me with another treat as well: a preview of their soon-to-come Colombia Emiro Vargas. Like the Peru Idelberto, the Colombia Emiro Vargas is exclusive to Ruby Coffee—this coffee can’t be purchased from any other roaster in the world. Ruby has been working directly with an exporter and is paying high premiums, which has enabled them to scoop up entire micro-lots; like this one, from producer Emiro Vargas.
Emiro Vargas is a member of a producer group in Colombia that Ruby has been working with over the past year. This particular coffee was grown on Finca El Mirador, located in the highlands of Camenzo, Timana, in Colombia’s Huila province. Emiro mostly grows Caturra on his finca, which is situated about 1650 meters above sea level. His coffee is fully washed and undergoes a 24 hour fermentation before being dried on raised drying beds.
Timana is a municipalty located in the south of the Huila, where coffee production represents the majority income generation. Huila production represents the 16.3% of Colombia’s total production. Because of farmers like Emiro Vargas, over the last few years the production of specialty coffee has increased in Huila exponentially. Over three hundred thousand people in Huila—pepople like Vargas—depend on coffee activities as there are 103,200 direct jobs and 198,000 indirect jobs in the coffee sector.
Welcome to my Table, here in the corner of this cafe. Today we’re sipping the Colombia Emiro Vargas, from Ruby Coffee Roasters in Nelsonville, Wisconsin. Feel free to pull up a chair.
region: Camenzo, Timana, Huila, Colombia
farm: Finca El Mirador
producer: Emiro Vargas
elevation: 1650 meters above sea level
process: fully washed, raised bed dried
The aroma of the Colombia Emiro Vargas is a fragrant mixture of honey, citrus, tropical fruits, and flora.
While I’m taking my first few sips, I’m really not sure what to make of this coffee. Don’t get me wrong—it’s really tasty. But it’s also pretty complex; a very unique and odd melange of flavors present in the cup. This is a medium-bodied coffee and it possesses a soft, buoyant mouthfeel with a somewhat honeyed, texture (possibly suggested by the coffee’s notes of honey and chocolate flavors) that envelops the tongue. Meanwhile, a flood of juicy tropical fruits and citrus comes rushing over the palate, and this is where I’m tasting so many complexities. Sweet blood orange, cherry, pomegranate, papaya, mango, kiwi, kumquat, peach, date, and maybe even the faintest presence of cherry tomato… Am I also tasting doses of tannic and cola flavors…? I think I am! And that makes this experience even more of a head scratcher.
Medium body; honeyed mouthfeel; citric acidity; clean finish.
Wow. I can’t remember the last time a coffee put my palate (and, indeed, my vocabulary) to the test as much as Ruby Coffee’s Colombia Emiro Vargas did. Every time I cupped this coffee it seemed to reveal a little bit more, its flavors becoming more and more identifiable; as a whole, though, this is a really complex, unique offering from Ruby.
The most perplexing thing about this coffee, though, is how approachable, accessible, and sensible it is. As complex and unique as its individual parts are, its sum profile makes total sense. This is a tremendous coffee for seasoned cupping pros and n00bs alike; it offers plenty to geek out over, but it’s also simply a great, balanced, rounded, flavorful Latin American breakfast coffee.