Surrounded by the peaks of Huila and Tolima, Cauca spreads across the Macizo Colombiano, or Colombian Plateau. Lying close to the equator, Cauca is a major catchment basin for water running down from the Andes combined with rich soil at roughly 1785 masl, offering coffee the prime ingredients to thrive.
For the final stop of our Colombia Regional Collective, we turn to Inza, a valley known as the gateway to the Tierradentro archaeological park at the heart of Cauca. Once home to the Tierradentro, an ancient pre-Colombian civilization who dwelled in these valleys between 200BC and the 1700s, the area’s rich cultural history runs deep.
As was the case with Tolima, due to its remoteness and dense jungle environment, Inza and other valleys within Cauca were difficult to access leaving its people vulnerable to violence. As a result, Inza missed the surge of the spreading and cultivation of newer pest-resistant coffee varieties offering higher yields. One of the few areas in Colombia where you can still come across an abundance of older, classic varieties such as Bourbon and Typica, truly defining the region’s speciality offering.
Introduced to the Island of Bourbon now Reunion Island, from Yemen, by the French in the 1700s Bourbon made its way to Colombia on the trail of missionaries in the early 1800s. Typically recognised for its floral, red apple and red-fruit notes; honey, brown sugar sweetness and balanced, juicy body, Bourbon has played a central part in shaping the taste profile of coffee grown in Inza.
Growing up on his family farm in Inza, Johany Quilindo has coffee running through his veins. In 2015 he turned his focus to speciality coffee as a means to secure better prices and improve his livelihood. Seeing variety as key to differentiating his cup quality, Johany grows Colombia and Bourbon, paying close attention to post-harvest processing. High up in the mountains, his farm is a total of 2.5 hectares, with 2.2 of them for coffee. Working hard to improve the post-harvest infrastructure of his farm, Johany shared the following with us:
“I’d like people to know that we are honest people, and that growing coffee requires a lot of dedication and sacrifice for us. We have a good climate in our area, so we don’t suffer from pests and diseases.
Growing good coffee is planting a variety that has a good cup but also a good yield; then the drying process is really important to make sure you end up with a clean coffee.
What makes my coffee so good is my dedication, the picking and the fermentation. It tastes really sweet and smooth and I’d like people to feel at ease when they drink my coffee so that they want to drink more of it.”
With great complexity, a velvety mouthfeel, elegant blackcurrant-like acidity with fig, marshmallow and pecan notes shining through the cup, sipping El Guayacán all day, any day won’t be hard. Thank you Johany. We hope you enjoy!.