This very special honey lot hails from the town of Aponte, in the optimalcoffee growing lands of Colombia’s Nariño department. The coffee is a result of the perfect marriage of altitude, climate, and persistenthard work by various small farmers living nearby the town –individuals such as Luz Chasoyand Gildardo Martinez, whosemicrolots have graced Mercanta’s offer lists in the past. Most of the growers here are very small scale and sometimes single lots are too small to sell as under their own farm name. This means that blending into a community lot is the only option to place these on the specialty market. This speaks to the potential of blending to create a product that is more than the sum of its parts! The Aponte Honey blend is unique and represents the very best that these small holder farmers have to offer.
The town of Aponte is located nearBuesaco, and most of the growers there are part of the Inga community, an indigenous community that was once a part of the northern-most reachesof the Inca Empirebefore the Spaniards colonised the area. The region is characterised by a very high average altitude-around 2,100 metersabove sea level -and beautiful scenery,with mostly Caturraplanted across the hills. The town of Aponte, itself,has suffered great damage since 2016 due toits location almost squarely ona seismic fault. The townspeople have been reconstructing the town slowly over the past couple of years.
Aponteitself is located in the municipality of Buesaco. Although Buesaco was founded in the early 1700s, its history becomes interesting duringColombia’s war of independence. Nariño became famous as one of the few states in Colombia that sided heavily with the crown instead of the independence armies. Pastowas an important colonial town and was in the centre of commerce between Bogotá and Quito. Residents had every reason to side with peace and stability, not the change of the status quo that Simon Bolivar promoted.
After heavy fighting in different parts of Ecuador and Colombia, the Spaniards and revolutionaries eventually met in the Juanambú Canyon where steep ridges come downmeet at a small river. The fight took place on top of a thin bridge, and after heavy losses the revolutionaries were able to beat back the Spaniards and continue their way south to finalize the battle for independence.
Honey processing isquite unusual in Colombia, where coffee is usually pulped,fermented and washed after it’s picked. In this case, the coffee was pulped and then driedbefore being washed. The intense fermentation process that occurs when coffee is driedwithout removing the mucilage leads to a cup profile of intense red fruit.
Honey processed coffees are complicated toelaborate, as they are susceptible to defects if not dried in perfect conditions. Luckily, weather in the Aponte areais perfect for this type ofdrying, as the heavy and cold windsthat crossthe canyon permit a slow andeven drying process. Coffee is dried in raised beds in a covered greenhouse and is raked regularly. To reach optimal humidity, the processusually takes around 30dryingdays. Thisslow,consistentprocess leads to incredibly complex cup.
Tasting Notes -
Peach, Cinnamon, Caramelized apple
|Region||Tablón de Gomez, Nariño|
|Farms||Various small farms|
|Altitude||2,100 meters above sea levelon average|