September's traditional subscription is a Colombian single origin from smallholders surrounding the village of El Peñol in Antioquia. The coffee and the village are named after the great granite monolith that stands impressively beside a great reservoir. At El Peñol, a group of smallholder farms pick and process their coffee to varying degrees and deliver to one farmer. Sonia Osorio, who dries all the coffee on her own patios along with her harvest, has been sent to Ra Café Green coffee traders for milling and export to the UK.
Colombia is referred to as a country of eternal sunshine, with a temperate, warm climate all year round. This means that coffee cherry is harvested all year, with the main crop being from October to March. The cherries then have ample time to mature in the reliably dry and warm weather, and the taste profiles are therefore consistent, sweet and naturally fruit flavoured.
Tasting notes for this coffee are dark brown sugar, macadamia and vanilla. Colombian coffees are some of the most popular in the specialty world, as they offer a pleasant balance of acidity, sweetness and good body and structure.
This makes them perfect for many brewing methods, particularly espresso style and stove top coffee. The intensity of these brew methods with lots of heat and pressure brings out all the complexity punch and will work well with steamed milk.
Try a one to two brew ratio for these methods. So 18 grams of dry ground should give you 36 grams of brewed espresso. This will reduce any bitterness and showcases the coffee really well.
Best of luck with the brewing. You can check out our stovetop and espresso brew guides on the website and we'll see you next month.
September's discovery subscription coffee is one we also bought last year from the same female led cooperative in Sidamo, Ethiopia. The Bollesso washing station where the coffee cherry is collected, is run by a team of 15 women and is comprised only of coffee from the neighbouring female owned farms. Traditional gender roles typically see women involved in the picking and hand sorting of the coffee with men in positions of ownership, leadership and influence.
But the Bellesso Washing Station is a great example of how this is changing. All contributing farmers are also part of a pioneering support project, providing smallholders with access to health care, education and agricultural resources. With regard to flavour, in many ways, it's a classic Ethiopian coffee, typical of the region and its high acidity, citrus floral aromatics and stone fruit notes.
Our tasting notes are cane sugar, baked peach and jasmine. While this coffee is naturally high in acidity, the roasting process caramelises the natural sugars to a point of balance. So this coffee is ideally drunk black. A cafetière will bring out the body and sweetness of the baked fruit, whereas a pour over will showcase the aromatics, florals and citrus notes.
If heavier, darker coffee is more your thing, you could try our traditional subscription, which this month is a classic washed Colombian well suited to milk drinks. As always, let us know what you think and get in touch via the usual channels and we'll see you next month.