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While it's best known for its well-established, industrial & mechanised coffee production practices, Colombia has also become a centre for experimentation at the cutting edge of specialty coffee in recent years. Enterprising coffee producers are testing out new ways to process and produce coffee that are yielding all kinds of different flavour experiences. El Mirador in Pitalito, Huila is the home of just this type of producer.
Elkin Guzman is the latest in a long line of coffee growers, but rather than just follow tradition, he has dedicated himself to developing post-harvest processing techniques. He has experimented with many different approaches including lactic and acetic natural processing, as well as carbonic maceration. This particular lot was processed using a natural hydro-honey process that you can find described below.
In addition to employing unique processing techniques, Guzman and his team have also experimented with growing lots of different varieties including Catiope, Mokka, Gesha, Bourbon, and Caturra. This particular lot is comprised entirely of Tabi, a cross-breed of Bourbon, Typica, and the Timor Hybrid released in 2020 by Cenicafe.
This type of experimentation and innovation in both cultivars and post-harvest processing have helped Guzman and El Mirador achieve notoriety in the specialty coffee space. We are all very excited to taste the latest results.
Phaedon's tasting notes
After my first couple of brews of this coffee, I quickly messaged Warren, the owner of Quaffee, imploring him to buy more of this green if he could. I don't think it's exaggerating to say that this is one of the standout coffees of the year so far. It's delicious, in pretty much every brew method.
My tasting notes from my experimental brews read like a poor attempt at poetry rather than the usual prosaic flavour-wheel references. I don't think I was able to do it justice with words, but certain themes definitely stood out. The coffee's floral quality is a good place to start. It struck me as floral in the purest sense of the word; it really smelled like flowers at times, roses specifically. In some cups, that aroma was a bit more like herbal tea, and like our friends at Quaffee, I picked up rosehip specifically. That florality combined with the sweetness and syrupy mouthfeel reminded me of high-quality raw honey.
There was just as much to discern in terms of fruit flavour in most of my cups of this coffee. I picked up strawberries quite often, and occasionally peaches. Sometimes these reminded me of the fruit themselves, but sometimes I was made to think of chewy candy (think toffee) with those flavours. Occasionally I also picked up something more effervescent and tropical.
Needless to say, I'm enamoured with this coffee. This is one of those lots that you should definitely not miss. Thank you Quaffee!
- Characteristics: Cocoa, immediately followed by peach, which becomes strawberry (or rose hip) with an almost honeyed finish. The mouthfeel is medium to full.
- Roast used: Light
- Our brews:
- Espresso: 1:2.3
- AeroPress: 17.5g:200g
- Plunger: 48g:600g
- Pour-over/filter: 18g:300g
El Mirador Farm employs a 3-step process called Natural Hydro-Honey for this coffee. First, they dry and ferment the coffee for 8 to 12 days to reach its natural phase. Then, they place the coffee in water tanks to humidify the cherry and rehydrate the skin for 24 to 36 hours. Finally, they de-pulp the cherries and subject them to a honey-drying phase that lasts 15 – 20 days.
According to Elkin Guzman, the producer, this process results in a unique flavour profile that combines the caramel and chocolate notes of the natural process with the sweetness and floral notes of the honey process. This makes it an ideal option for those who enjoy washed coffees but may not be ready for fully natural coffees, as it strikes a balance between the two.
- Producer: Elkin Guzman
- Farm: El Mirador
- Region: Pitalito, Huila
- Country: Colombia
- Processing: Natural hydro-honey
- Drying: Dried in parabolic driers
- Species/Variety: Arabica Tabi
- Growing Altitude: 1,680 masl
- Cupping Score: 88 (Sabores)
Quaffee's transparency information
- Sourced from: Direct from Sabores
- FOB price: US$7.50/pound
- Cupping score: 88 (Sabores)
- Producer / Organisation: Elkin Guzman
- Lot size: 1x25kg Bag
- Relationship: Our relationship with Sabores goes back to 2019 and this is our first coffee from Elkin Guzman