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The Portland Project is the passion project of Wayne Oberholzer - two-time and current South African Barista Champion. Working with Wayne is a real treat, not just because of his encyclopaedic knowledge of all things coffee, but because of the fun that he brings to the pursuit of this special beverage. Barista competitions give Wayne the opportunity to express this side of his character in the cup - always with delicious results.
When Wayne took top spot at the national competition in 2015, we were thrilled to be able to share his competition coffee - the very special Bench Maji Geisha. We're now very excited to be able to share the coffee that he took to the World Barista stage in 2016.
Wayne scoured the globe for a coffee that he thought worthy of the most prestigious competition in coffee, and he actually found it in the UK, while visiting the legendary Has Bean Coffee roastery. Has Bean is a celebrated name for people in the coffee industry around the world, and this Colombian coffee that he worked with them on is everything you would want it to be.
Wayne affectionately named his competition coffee after Pedro Claros, the Colombian farmer that grew it, with a tongue in cheek reference that some of you might recognise from the bag and tagline. Finca La Chorrera - Pedro's farm - is run entirely by his family, and this particular lot was able to achieve a score over 90 on the cupping table - an impressive and rare feat.
Here's a video from Steven Leighton, founder of Has Bean, giving a bird's eye view of the farm.
In The Cup
What we love about this coffee is that, while it is complex and delicious, it is still incredibly balanced - no doubt one of the reasons Wayne chose it to compete with. So often rare and special coffees like this one are very "out there" in their profiles, but this one manages to dazzle your taste buds with elegant restraint.
The dominant flavours are apple and black tea, with hints of pomegranate. All of this is underpinned by a syrupy sweetness that we found most reminiscent of Canadian maple syrup - both in the flavour and in the luxurious mouth feel. While the coffee's roast profile has been tweaked for the perfect espresso extraction, we really enjoyed it in any variety of pour-over and also in the Aeropress.
This supreme coffee graded at 90+, and with only 140kg's in existence, is one of the rarest coffees in the world. Affectionately named after the farmer, Pedro Claros, this revered batch was harvested and cared for solely by Pedro and his 6 children in the Valley of Laboyos, Colombia. This Rolls Royce of coffees has been pampered and curated from farm to bag and is as flavourful as it is rare.
- Flavours: Red and Green Apples, Pomegranata, Black Tea
- Farm: Finca La Chorrera
- Owner: Claros family
- Nearest Town: Pitalito
- Region: Huila
- Country: Colombia
- Variety: Caturra
- Processing: Wet fermentation (24-36 hours)
- Altitude grown: 1,735 masl