“It took a long time, decades really, before specialty coffee buyers felt comfortable having hybrids like these share the spotlight with darlings Caturra and Bourbon. “
Colombia Variety, named presumably after the nation it resides in, has a backstory entertaining enough for a Netflix documentary (ps why no coffee documentaries Netflix?).
This hearty cultivar is a variety developed by the National Center for Coffee Research in Colombia (Cenicafe), which was put on the market in 1983 after more than 15 years of research.
It all began in 1968 with the crossing of Caturra and Timor Hybrid (a spontaneous mutation of species Arabica and Robusta), to make a cultivar that was productive and resistant to rust and that could also be planted in high density just like tasty Caturra.
This variety has been improved over the years and has been the basis of reproduction of different sub-varieties, one of which is Castillo.
So, what’s the big deal? Why is this original hybrid steeped in controversy? That’s easy. Flavour bias. It took a long time, decades really before specialty coffee buyers felt comfortable having hybrids like these share the spotlight with darlings Caturra and Bourbon. The general sentiment was these varieties can’t possibly taste as good as their pure Arabica counterparts, and don’t belong in the specialty arena. It was to the point where, when a hybrid won the Cup of Excellence some people even claimed Colombian national body interference in order to promote Hybrids like Colombia Variety and Castillo. In my time as a buyer, I’ve seen the pendulum swing and today, we’re way more relaxed with these varieties, mostly because we’ve tasted enough excellent examples to realize they can be delicious! Just as there are stellar and terrible examples of Caturra (depends on the grower), its the same for the coffee you’re enjoying right now.
Ok, let’s talk about Lisandro.
Our friend Andrea from our export partner, Azahar, writes:
“Lisandro Cardenas has proven to be a bit of a mystery. Don Lisandro is one of our pioneering producers meaning that we have been working with him for close to three years now, but due mostly to poor cell reception at his two farms, La Esperanza and Las Brisas, we have not been able to catch up with him recently. He is a self-proclaimed “life-long” coffee producer who is interested in experimenting with different varieties of coffee. He is one of our first producing partners to plant and grow the Geisha variety in the municipality of Acevedo, where his two farms are located, in the neighbourhoods of El Rosario and La Primavera, respectively.”
Lisandro’s Colombia variety shines in this micro-lot for Lüna that we bought while in Colombia in November – grown at 1650 meters, picked selectively ripe, de-pulped and fermented for 24 hours. After washing, the parchment coffee was dried on raised beds for around 20 days, finishing the process for this lot in October 2018. This coffee is a delightfully weird mix of cantaloupe, elderflower and pineapple cake.