New Coffees: Los Naranjos. San Augustin, Huila, Colombia

Today we feature our Los Naranjos from Huila, Colombia. This coffee has been around in our shops for a month or so now (and in our Espresso for longer), but we haven’t taken the chance to tell you its exciting story. Want more coffee talk? Read up on Papua New Guinea and Peru 

We prize this Colombian brew as one of our favorite offerings right now- both for the quality of the cup and for the incredible story of the innovative Asociación Los Naranjos. Below is the story from our importer, Café Imports (images are theirs as well):

“Through the town of San Augustin runs a river called Los Naranjos. Up the sides of this riverbank in to the mountains is a community of coffee growers with small clean and beautiful farms. Butterflies, Hummingbirds and giant lavender flowers are the norm.

This land is buffeted on the west by a 500 square mile biosphere reserve called Cueva de los Quacharo. It is the place where two of Colombia's three mountain ranges converge and where ancient peoples lived and carved giant stone figures. It is a special place and the people who live here believe that the great forest tracts of the natural preserve protect their land from the violence of weather and give them a calm, peaceful place to live and farm.

In 2001, Some of the farmers of this area got together with the intentions of improving their managerial skills and gaining access to the elusive “specialty coffee market,” and they formed an association called La Asociación Los Naranjos de San Augustin.

Today there are 50 growers/members with about 150 hectares in coffee. Average size of a farm is 2.8 hectares (1 hectare =10,000 square meters). Yield is between 1,500 and 2,000 Kg per Hectare during the main crop and about half that during the fly crop.”

{Read more from Cafe Imports' through this interesting account of their 2011 visit to the Association}

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This Association is becoming widely known for its innovative work to continue improving both coffee quality and quality of life for the farmers involved. All of the effort also shines through in the cup. This particular lot is a blend of various Los Naranjos farmers who produced similar cup profiles.  During the fly crop, not enough quantity is produced to merit microlots, so the top cups are combined into one lovely lot. We taste a well-balanced bright, fruity acidity complemented with a soft, sweet body. It's rich and sweet, and we've noticed notes of pineapple as it cools.

We’ve been featuring this coffee on batch brew for a little while now, but we recommend it as a pour-over if you want to truly experience everything it has to offer!

A little more info:

Producers: 97 small coffee growers, members of the “Asociación Los Naranjos San Agustin”

Origin: Municipality of San Agustin, Department of Huila (Colombia)

Processing Method: Traditional fully-washed process, fully sun-dried in green-house type drying patios

Shade: Cachimbo, nogal and guamo trees (~30% shade cover) - 25 members Rainforest Alliance certified

Green Preparation: Excelso EP (Screen 15+) & Specialty Grade (Hand sorted)

Want even more? Watch a 2010 video from the farms themselves.