Following Colombia’s 2017 main harvest, InterAmerican’s John Mason was invited by the National Federation of Coffee Growers in Colombia (FNC) to help judge a competition of the best coffees from the departments of Cauca and Nariño.
During a few days in September, more than 600 samples were submitted and diligently cupped by a team of judges. After hours of discussion and deliberation, 10 winners were determined.
The competition was incredibly close, though, and after the top-10 microlots were auctioned off at premium prices, there was a strong feeling of responsibility from all involved to bring the rest of these beautiful microlots to market. And so,
the idea of the Competition Blend — an exclusive project between IAC and the FNC, combining the lots of the strong runner-up competitors — was born.
InterAmerican was able to select and combine the best lots from each region — in both cases, from smallholder farmers with less than 1.3 hectares (3.2 acres), on average.
The resulting coffees, each just one container, have far exceeded our expectations! Our La Mejor Taza de Nariño sold immediately upon arrival, and the one container of El Mejor Café de Cauca has landed in New Jersey and is now available.
Cauca Competition Blend / El Mejor Café de Cauca
The Department of Cauca is located in southwestern Colombia, where the Andes split into three mountain ranges, the Cordillera Occidental, Cordillera Central and Cordillera Oriental. These ranges create discreet micro-regions and unique climate conditions that are ideal for high-quality coffee production. Across the area’s approximately 96,000 hectares, more than 94,000 families grow coffee.
Our El Mejor Café de Cauca — washed coffee that was solar dried and shipped to the U.S. in GrainPro — comes from 46 farmers in 17 municipalities. The average altitude in Cauca is 1,760 meters ASL and the primary varieties are Castillo and Colombia.
Cup Profile: Lemon-lime acidity; creamy body; floral, citrus, chocolate.
Nariño Competition Blend / El Mejor Taza de Nariño
Nariño — with growing altitudes between 1,500 and 2,300 meters ASL — is known for producing some of the country’s highest-quality coffees. During the day, hot air accumulates in the steep valleys, and at night it drifts up, allowing the coffee cherry to mature slowly.
Nariño is also situated at the equatorial line, which means plenty of days with year-round sunshine. The high elevation, steep terrain and micro-climates — while enhancing quality —make for challenging farming and harvesting. John and the other judges visited several farms in Nariño, where the sharp valleys are lined with sugar cane, plantain, citrus and beans, and coffee is grown even above 2,300 masl.
Our El Mejor Taza de Nariño — washed coffee that was solar dried and shipped to the U.S. in GrainPro — comes from 48 farmers in 17 municipalities. The average altitude of the farms is 1,783 meters, and varieties include Castillo and Colombia.
Cup Profile: Buttery body, crisp apple acidity; sweet, orange, juicy, balanced. •
These coffees have just arrived in the Continental Terminal in New Jersey (for West Coast customers, we’re delighted to set up a transfer). Please contact a trader for details!