What's in the box: Antioquia Perlitas and Limu Gera
We have 2 beautiful coffees this month to share with our subscribers. Cherry taffy might seem like a bold note but it is, no joke, what we taste in the Colombia Antioquia Perlitas. The washed Limu Gera from Ethiopia is back this year with airy notes of lemon, mango, and green tea. This blog will focus on the Antioquia Perlitas as there is so much to discuss!
Las Perlitas is a gem from Colombia, in the department of Antioquia. This is a region that produces a lot of bulk coffee, but not a lot of growers are producing specialty coffee. What I mean by that is there are bigger farms here, and growers are focused more on quantity over quality. An emphasis on quality is starting to emerge, quality in terms of picking only ripes, improved washing techniques, and good drying practices. There is a lot of potential here with the high elevations and favorable climate. This coffee is grown at 1,700 - 2,200 meters above sea level (masl) and it is comprised of Caturra, Colombia, and Castillo varieties.
Our partners in Colombia, Coffee Quest, sourced this coffee from many smallholder farmers. It is called Perlitas because it is the cream of the crop, the best of the best. It’s a blend of many small lots from producers in the municipalities of Giraldo and Caicedo. These are lots that are not big enough to separate out on their own for export. This is great for the farmers because they are rewarded premium prices for their quality. In order to achieve this, Coffee Quest sample roasts and cups through many lots as they flow through their buying station during the harvest. This is tedious work but the pay out is tasty coffee, better prices to farmers, and incentives for quality.
In terms of sustainability and ensuring that there is a future for coffee we value working with partners like the Coffee Quest who buy coffee based off of quality. What this means is fixed price premiums for different quality levels. The coffee arabica commodity market (C-market) fluctuates up and down, but this past year it has been at a shockingly low price per pound. Right now as I write this it is at $0.92, this is below the cost of production for the majority of farmers. In Colombia there is a local price in pesos for coffee that is set based off of the C-market. Antioquia Perlitas represents some of the highest quality you can find from this area, so the farmers were paid close to double the local price. If their lots scored a few points lower the price premium that Coffee Quest pays them is still higher than the fair trade premium, and we buy these coffees as well for our blends. Not all coffees will be micro lot quality, so we value finding a home for good and great coffee to help do our part for sustainability. Enjoy this fruit bomb of a coffee!