Corazón de Colombia
Fall is officially here in the great Pacific Northwest, and that means it’s time to start trading in our favorite iced cold brew for a hot cup of coffee to warm our mornings. Equiano Coffee brings us another outstanding single-origin Colombian coffee to delight our taste buds.
“Finca Villa,” named after the farm on which it grows, is part of the Asotbilbao cooperative located in Planadas Tolima. The Department of Tolima, located in the center-West of Colombia, is the heart of coffee production in this country famous for its high-quality coffees.
Farm To Roaster
Okon Udosenata, Roastmaster at Equiano Coffee in Eugene, Oregon, personally hand-selected the Finca Villa from among a long list of excellent coffee offerings from small farms in Colombia. The Finca Villa is made up of two distinct coffee varietals, the Castillo varietal, and the Caturra varietal. Each varietal delicious in its own right, the combination of the two grown, harvested and processed together marry to create a well-balanced and exceptionally flavorful coffee.
Fans of Equiano’s coffees may remember last year’s harvest of the Finca Villa that was offered by the roaster a year ago. Nature loves variety and variation, and this year’s crop is especially intense and flavor-packed.
The baristas at Equiano Coffee’s tasting room in Eugene’s hip Whiteaker commercial district have even had to carefully adjust the “dose,” or amount, of coffee grounds they use to brew shots of espresso to compensate for the Finca Villa’s intensity. Scaling back the dosage of coffee grounds by just three grams was all that was needed to bring out the perfect balance of flavor characteristics in this unique Colombian.
After listening to Udosenata’s description of the Finca Villa, I just had to taste it for myself and made my way down to the tasting room, where I waited with understandable anticipation for the little shop to open. I wasn’t disappointed.
I ordered a shot of the Finca Villa espresso from the barista behind the counter, who promptly served up the tiny cup accompanied by a small glass of carbonated water to help cleanse the palate for my impending taste experience.
True to the roastmaster’s claims, the shot of Finca Villa was indeed intensely flavorful, well-balanced, and even smooth as it managed to avoid the acidic characteristics that are so often prevalent in more intense espressos.
There aren’t many coffees that I can enjoy as a straight shot of espresso, but the Finca Villa was a smooth, delicious exception to my usual espresso experience. The coffee experience is subjective to a great degree, and for me, it’s even romantic. To my delight, sipping from my tiny demitasse cup suddenly reminded me of Christmas! Christmas?
Maybe it was a subtle hint of a “piney” aroma that I detected. Or perhaps it was an aroma of roasted nuts that I was picking up. Whatever characteristics came together to trigger thoughts and feelings of the “Christmas” season for me, the important thing to a coffee lover such as myself was the enjoyment of the experience; unique, delicious, and comforting.
As Roastmaster of Equiano Coffee, Okon Udosenata has the tasty job of cupping and choosing the coffees that will be roasted and offered to fellow coffee lovers and fans of Equiano everywhere. “Cupping” is industry jargon for the scientific approach that specialty coffee buyers take when tasting and scoring coffee samples based on characteristics like coffee bean quality and various flavor standards.
Udosenata has visited Colombia and personally worked on coffee farms and co-ops in the country famous for coffee production. Working alongside the farmers and other industry professionals there was the first step in building valuable relationships with small independent coffee producers and gave him insights and understandings of Colombian coffees that many coffee roasters here in the States don’t have.
Equiano Coffee’s Roastmaster and co-owner Okon Udosenata working on a small coffee farm in Colombia.
Udosenata tends to favor coffees from the Tolima and the Huila regions of Colombia and has roasted and sold both of the single varietal beans that make up the intensely flavorful Finca Villa, the Caturra varietal and the Castillo varietal. And while he tends to offer single varietal coffees by themselves to highlight their uniquely individual flavor profiles, the combination of the two in the Finca Villa was so outstanding that he just had to share it!
Have you ever wondered what makes one coffee different in flavor and body from the next, or why coffees from differing countries or growing regions can vary so greatly in characteristics like bean size, aroma, and flavor? The short answer is that the differences are largely affected by environmental factors.
These environmental factors are usually both naturally occurring factors and man-made factors. Some of the naturally occurring elements that can make a coffee unique to where it’s grown include:
- Growing elevation
- Grown under shade or in direct sunlight
- Distance from the equator
- Average year-round temperature
- Annual precipitation and humidity
Some of the man-made factors that can help to make a particular coffee unique to its country of origin or growing region can include:
- Farm landscaping such as planting shade trees around the coffee shrubs
- Selective breeding
- Spraying fungicides and insecticides
- Coffee processing method
Farmer Jairo Lopez grows his 4,500 coffee trees on 16 hectares of land at an elevation of 1,800 Meters above sea level. The co-operative’s website describes the processing method used to harvest and prepare the green coffee for shipment to prospective roasters, “At this farm the pickers make a manual collection, selecting only the mature beans, afterward the coffee is left in cherries 36 hours for a dry fermentation for and after that they move the coffee to a drying beds for 28 days depending on the weather.”
More Coffee Please!
The bottom line for the Finca Villa, as with any coffee, is the overall flavor and experience of the coffee drinker. According to Okon, Equiano’s Roasmater, the Finca Villa touts “the mouthfeel of red wine and flavor notes of dried cherry and baker’s chocolate.
Some of the additional tasting notes given by the coffee growers include; “cherry, creamy body, delicate clean, floral, fruity, grapes, malic acidity, red fruits.”
The Finca Villa, Colombia pairs well with great music and warm ambiance.
So stop reading all about it and get down to the tasting room and taste this fantastic Colombian coffee for yourself! From the espresso machine, the Finca Villa is wonderful as a straight shot of espresso, as an Americano coffee or in a Cappuccino or chocolate latte. If a traditional cup of coffee is more to your taste, your friendly barista will be happy to brew a single cup of the Finca Villa by hand pour-over style.
And as always, you can buy this coffee in bulk in either pre-ground or whole-bean form. Now you can take it home or to the office to brew up at your leisure.
The Equiano Coffee tasting room is located at 300 Blair Blvd in Eugene’s Whiteaker commercial district. Hours of operation for the tasting room are listed on the company website at equianocoffee.com and their Facebook page here. Cheers!