New Coffees – June 2017 (Part 1)

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The coming of June ushers in a bumper crop of new single estate coffees here at Dark Woods. In total there are 6 new arrivals plus a fresh incarnation of our Arboretum blend. Too many in fact to cover in just one post so here is the first 3, with another 4 to follow next week. As ever, please feel free to request samples if you would be interested in taking one of these coffees as a filter/soft brew or single-estate espresso.

 Panama La Huella Don Nery

Producer – Pedro Moss (La Huella)

Farm/Region  – Don Nery (Alto Quiel), Boquete

Process – Natural

Varietal  – Catuai

Altitude -1,600m

Buy it here.

First up is another stunning coffee from our La Huella in Panama – farmer Don Nery’s naturally processed Catuai. La Huella is a group of 10 small producers in the Boquete region who all share access to a micro-milling station called Alpha 1 run by lead processor and producer Pedro Moss. All lots brought to the mill by individual farmers will then be processed by Pedro and released under the La Huella name, with all premiums shared equally by the farmer and Pedro. Dark IMG_9298 (500x374)Woods have been buying from La Huella for several seasons now and roaster Damien has recently been out to see the farms for himself where he was able to see for himself the expertise and passion that goes into producing such high-quality greens.

This natural coffee is elegant and clean with a wonderful balance and clarity of flavour. The soft fruit sweetness that is so typical of a natural coffee is tempered by a grown-up crispness in the finish that resembles cranberries and good Italian red wines. There is also a deep and roasty Brazil nuttiness and some sweet cocoa and strawberry notes which pair really well with milk when brewed as a single origin espresso. Overall this is a coffee that reminds me of the very best Brazilian naturals with just a perhaps the enhanced brightness that you might expect from a higher altitude coffee.

Don Nery’s natural is our first arrival from La Huella this year and is a harbinger of many tasty things to come.

Colombia Clinton Ossa Micro-lot

Producer – Clinton Ossa

Farm/Region – El Penas Blancas, Cauca

Process – Fully washed and sun-dried

Variety – Bourbon

Altitude – 1,800 m

Buy it here.

One of the recent standouts from a table of new season Colombian coffees, this Bourbon from Clinton Ossa is part of a very limited micro-lot that we are very proud to showcase. Good Colombian’s always display crowd-pleasing balance and sweetness but this coffee had something a little extra that made us really excited. Sure, it was sugary and sweet but there was also uncommon depth and richness that really shone, even amongst similarly high scoring lots. Put simply, it just tastes expensive! We were all struck by the dense, dark stone fruits and buttery body that for me resembled damson jam and shortcrust encased frangipane. The acidity is very clean and exceptionally well-integrated – just enough to cut through all those rich flavours without becoming too assertive.

This is has quickly become my favourite lots of the year of the year and it serves as a challenge to anyone who has previously found Colombian coffee perhaps a little too polite to be truly exciting. Also makes a stunning single-origin espresso, where the sweet almond character really shines.

Colombian El Paraiso

Farmer – Various small-producers

Farm/Region –Tarqui, Huila

Process – Fully washed and sun-dried

Variety – Colombia, Caturra

Altitude – 1,600 – 2,000 m

Buy it here.

El Paraiso (meaning “paradise”) comes from various small growers located in the region of Tarqui in the department of Huila. The average farm size is on 3 hectare per grower and this project is a perfect example of how small-holders working together as a team can produce exceptional coffee. Tarqui is a region that is incredibly rich in biodiversity and the coffee is produced in harmony with the local plant, bird and animal life.la-huella-coffee

Roaster Damian picked this out as being a superb example of Huila coffee, and if that is true then goodness me, do I like Huila coffee! The tasting notes supplied by the importer detail, “citrus acidity, notes of orange juice and a well-balanced, sugary-sweet foundation. Perfect balance and clarity.” It’s hard to disagree with any of this so it seems appropriate to just quote in full with my hearty endorsement. I thought I was getting some buttery, pecan notes as well but it’s the sweetness and soft acidity that really drives this coffee. As an aside, the El Paraiso accidently became my favourite ever “cold-brewed” coffee when, in need of an evening boost I lazily chugged some left-overs from my morning cafetiere. I’m not really a fan of cold brew but this was still so sweet, full and balanced that it might just be a game-changer for me.