I was really impressed by Encore Coffee Co.’s Yirgachefe Aricha from last week and really enjoyed finishing off the bag as a single origin espresso. It was super balanced and pulled like a blend with a thick, beautiful crema and tons of body. So, I’m excited today to be trying out Encore’s Colombia Tatamo Excelso Organic. Links to everything you need are below!
ENCORE COFFEE COMPANY COLOMBIA TATAMO EXCELSO ORGANIC
Today’s coffee is an organic selection from the village of Apia in the Risaralda district of Colombia. It comes from a co-op called Asociacion de Cultivadores de Apia, a group of 450 coffee growers founded in 2005 that collectively cultivate coffee on 1900 hectares (about 4700 acres). Apia is located in the middle of three natural parks, giving it natural biodiversity and lots of different birds. I imagine that’s a good thing for coffee, but then again I don’t know if birds eat and propagate coffee seeds or not. Hmmm…
In any case, these coffees are grown in the 1500-1900masl range and they are washed in typical Colombian fashion. If you look closely at the bag photo above you’ll see the varietals listed as Catarina and Chinchina, but this is a typo. Those are soil types. Rather the coffee varietals in this selection are Caturra, Castillo and Colombia. Colombia uses a “grading scale” based on bean size, similar to Kenya’s grading scale. I hesitate to call this coffee “grading” because it implies there is a difference in quality and taste and there is not. This type of grading is based entirely on bean size and it really has no bearing on how good the coffee it. In any case, this coffee selection is “Excelso,” which is the second largest bean size in the Colombian system next to Supremo. A Colombian Supremo is equivalent to a Kenyan AA, so I presume that Excelso is similar to a Kenyan AB. All these beans come from the same trees, they’re just sorted out by size.
OK, back to this coffee, Encore gives us tasting notes of, “Bright, golden raisin, cocoa finish.” The bag calls is a medium roast and I would agree with that. It has a nice, deep mahogany color and there is a little bit of oil here and there to be seen on some beans. The grounds were very light in my notNeutral pourover (using my usual 1:16 ratio of 28g of coffee to 450g of water) and the extraction went noticeably faster than it does with a heavier bean (often a lighter roast) that tends to sink and prevent water from moving as fast through the filter. In any case, it made a nice cup every time, so no complaints from me!
Like with the Ethiopian coffee I enjoyed so much from Encore, this one walks a line between a light roast that highlights brightness in the cup and a darker roast that brings out the sugars and sweetness. This one leans a tad more toward the darker part of that balance than the Ethiopian did, but again, this is not a “dark roast” by any stretch of the imagination and there is plenty of “origin character” to enjoy here. I’ll remind you that Encore Coffee Co.’s market is the everyday home coffee drinker, so roasts tend to be a little deeper than the Nordic style used by some “third wave” roasters.
This coffee is big and full with a substantial mouthfeel and it has a long, lingering aftertaste. In the sip I do get a little roastiness and there are some chocolate and cocoa flavors to suss out, for sure. There is a ton of sweetness in this cup. Sometimes it hit me as more chocolatey and other times as a caramel note, but like Encore’s description, there is a raisin and dark fruit character in the cup that is delicious, too. I was getting a little bit of a lemon-lime acidity in the front end of the sip that brightens up the coffee, giving it a little balance and keeping it from being cloying in its sweetness. A lot of the Colombian coffees I love are super bright and light and intense in their fruitiness and this one is definitely all about sugar development and getting the sweetness from the roast more than the fruitiness of the cup.
I really enjoy this coffee. I love a super bright Colombian, too, but this is so sweet and so easy to drink it’s impossible not to enjoy it as a morning cup of coffee! This definitely hits the part of my brain that still loves a good dark roast without it really being a dark roast, as there is plenty of non-roast character to enjoy in this coffee. I could see this being a popular selection in grocery stores and with “normal” coffee drinkers as well as we coffee geeks!