Onyx Coffee Lab – Colombian La Palma Jose Reyes Lot #21

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Photo courtesy of La Palma y El Tucan
Photo courtesy of La Palma y El Tucan

Here’s another one of Onyx Coffee Lab’s micro lots of coffee from Colombia’s La Palma y El Tucan. I received this coffee, La Palma Jose Reyes Lot #21, as a complimentary review sample from Onyx and you can find it on their website for $25/bag. If you want to know more about La Palma y El Tucan’s operation in Colombia, you should watch the video below. They are a cutting edge processing station serving the farmers of the eastern Colombian Andes with experimental processing and more.

This Jose Reyes Lot #21 consists of typica, caturra, castillo and bourbon varietals grown around 1700 meters above sea level. La Palma used one of their lactic acid fermentation processes in the washing of this coffee and Onyx’s tasting notes describe this coffee as, “kiwi, strawberry, winey, cane sugar, juicy melon finish.”

I loved this coffee! I prepared it using my typical 30g of coffee to 450g of water recipe in my notNeutral Gino dripper (basically a Kalita 185). I found that the acidity is really the star of the show in this coffee and it’s complex, layered and delicious! I found lots of flavors reminiscent of strawberry swirling around in this coffee, but there was also a pleasant ferment flavor… the ferment and strawberry fruitiness combined like a just-overripe strawberry but I didn’t find it unpleasant at all. The aroma was sweet, consisting of sugar and milk chocolate.

This is only the second or third lactic acid fermentation coffee I’ve had processed by La Palma but they’ve all had a similar tartness to them that I love. If you’ve had many sour beers that used lactic fermentation in their creation then I think you’d find a lot of similarities with this coffee. Each sip is sweet and fruity but “surrounded” by a soft, round acidity and tartness that I associate with lactic acid fermentation.

This is a very different flavor profile than a sweet/sour candy, for example, as the acidity isn’t harsh or abrasive in the least. It’s a gentle sourness that carries through with each sip throughout the cup and it’s lively, refreshing and pleasant. The fruitiness comes right along with it and I enjoyed this coffee immensely! I think this unique character comes from the lactic acid fermentation processing because I only get it with lactic coffees and not with the acetic acid coffees from La Palma. Wherever it comes from, it’s awesome and interesting and it isn’t a type of acidity that wears me out or makes me wish for more sweetness. Another big win from Onyx and La Palma on this lot!