Quindío is a department, or state, in west-central Colombia, crossed by the Andes Mountains, known for exceptional coffee production. Quindío's landscape is dominated by mountainous terrain and lush rainforest. This combined with the region's climate of cool nights and warm, sunny days, makes the region ideal for coffee cultivation.
Because of ideal climate, terrain, and rich, volcanic soil, Quindío's coffee production has been heralded as Colombia's best for well over one hundred years. In fact, the country's most successful coffee harvest in history, the Bonanza Cafetera of 1954, is attributed to the Quindío region, specifically. In addition to coffee, Quindío is known for production and export of plantain, cassava, and sugar cane.
We fell in love with the coffees of Quindío when we began working with Finca El Ocaso, outside of Salento, several years ago. El Ocaso gave us the first opportunity to explore the flavors of coffees from the region, while also pushing the limits of those flavors with lot separations and experimental processing. The first featured coffee of the Quindío Collection is a product of this partnership - the Finca El Ocaso 18/18 Red Tabi.
Finca El Ocaso grows, primarily, Castillo and Red Tabi varietals, which make up the El Ocaso Classico we've loved for years. We began our experimentation by isolating the Red Tabi, which we found to be incredibly refined, delicate, fruity, and floral. We then worked with Santiago Patino, son of farm-owner Gustavo Patino, to develop a processing method that would take the Red Tabi's inherent beauty and augment it to produce a truly special and unique cup. Santiago developed the 18/18 Process, which combines 18 hours of fermentation with full fruit on, followed by 18 hours of washed fermentation, and finally drying on raised beds. The result is an incredibly vibrant coffee with delicate clarity and exceptional balance.
The next coffee featured in the Quindío Collection is produced by Noralba Velandia, owner of Finca El Nogal. We first learned about Noralba when our partner, Daniel Velasquez of Campesino Specialty Coffee, secured an auction lot of her coffee for us in the Best of Quindío competition auction. We loved the complexity and unique acidity of this coffee last year, and were lucky enough to be able to visit Nora's farm while working with Finca El Ocaso in 2017. Nora's tiny farm produces some of the most sought after coffees in the Quindío region. Her three children help her cultivate and harvest coffee, and she, personally, handles the processing of every single lot. After visiting Nora and seeing her farm, we had to bring in coffee from her next harvest. This year's harvest from Finca El Nogal is deeply sweet, rich, and fruity like guava jam, but still delicate and crisp, like orange blossom.
After finding such an exceptional coffee in Finca El Nogal from the Best of Quindío competition auction, we asked Campesino Specialty Coffee to find us another coffee gem. This year, we were able to secure our third coffee in the Quindío Collection from the Best of Quindío competition auction: Finca El Porvenir of Buenavista in south-central Quindío. Farm owner, Rosaura Cardona Henao, and her teenage son have been working together for the past several years to improve their harvesting and processing techniques to produce top quality Colombian coffees. Their efforts paid off this year when their submission was the highest valued auction lot in the Quindío competition. El Porvenir's coffee is complex with intense characteristics of black tea sweetened with cane sugar and hints of dried fruit.