Colombia El Eden
Process: Fully washed
Varietal: Castillo, Colombia
Tasting notes: Chocolate, Berries
Forming one trisect of what is known as the Coffee Triangle (with Pereira and Manizales as the other key conurbations) Quindio sits within the rural Paisa region of Colombia, famous for producing coffee. The second smallest department in Colombia there is a high concentration of coffee producers in the area, and it is one of the key production areas in the country. El Eden itself is situated in a privileged position amongst the Cordillera Central, one of three veins of the Andes as they run through the country north to south.
Coffee in Colombia is generally picked by smallholders with their families and neighbours and washed and dried on the farm, often at high altitudes on steep slopes, or brought to a nearby beneficiary for processing. This coffee is collated at the dry mill facility managed by local farm owner Hernan Israel Ocendo Usman in Armenia. It is sourced from a group of 10 farms within the Quindio department, all from more technically advanced farms that focus a large amount on the quality of the coffee they grow.
Castillo and Caturra are two very common varietals in Colombia; Caturra originated as a single gene mutation of Bourbon leading to dwarfism, increasing yield due to greater planting density and was though to represent nearly half of the country’s production up until 2008. Castillo was introduced en masse to combat the ever-increasing reach of the Basidiomycota Hemileia vastatrix, otherwise known as Roya, or Rust. The fungus appeared in Colombia in the early 1980’s, just after the release of the Colombia varietal by Cenicafe, the national coffee research centre in Colombia. Continuing their work on improving Caturra and cross breeding with Timor, the polygenic robusta/arabica cultivar, Castillo was released in 2005, the culmination of their research at the time. Three years later a large outbreak of the disease lead to the mass replanting of Caturra and other traditional varietals with Castillo. Research was done in 2015 addressing the subsequent arguments of superiority and speciality that showed the two varietals as similar point scoring overall, though crucially having different attributes to get there. Caturra more citric and floral, Castillo more fruity over nuts and cocoa. This coffee is an even split between the two.