Nariño has become one of the most recognized and important coffee-producing areas in Colombia. Not long ago, Nariño was very inaccessible due to violence from FARC rebel groups, which terrorized the local population. Many coffee farmers fled their farms, finding work elsewhere while their farms went unattended. Only recently have coffee farmers begun to return to their farms and begin cultivating again. Because of this tumultuous history, much of Nariño remains a mystery to coffee roasters, and we are just beginning to see the potential for extraordinary coffees from this unique microclimate.
Coffee farms in Nariño can sit at some of the highest altitudes in the entirety of Colombia, with some farms situated well above 2000 meters. It’s at these extremely high altitudes that coffee cherries can mature slowly, producing the densely sweet and sugary flavors we love and covet. We find lots of complex chocolate characteristics, among fruit-forward nuances that make these coffees so lovely.
Carlos Estrada Pismac is one of the producers working with Toldopamba Coffee. Carlos has cultivated coffee for over 20 years, and in this time has learned to express some very unique flavors. The Toldopamba team connected with Carlos Estrada nearly 5 years ago through a cooperative, and at that time he was just selling his coffee to the cooperative and not growing his farming operations. Since then, Carlos has decided to work independently with Toldopamba to cultivate higher quality coffee and sell more directly to roasters, with the hopes of growing his farming operations over the next several harvest seasons.
From Carlos Estrada Pismac:
“Before growing coffee, we used to grow beans, but cultivating coffee was a change of life for me because now I have more income and also better security for my family. Growing coffee, I hope to have a better life for tomorrow, an organized future, and savings for my child, Andi. I would like people to know that I am proud, and knowing that they enjoy my coffee makes me happy. This is a motivation for me to give it my best!”
Through Toldopamba, we were able to purchase 5 bags of Carlos’ Maragogype variety, which is a very unusual variety to find in Colombia. Maragogype is a mutated cross-variety tree that produces extremely large seeds (nearly double the size of typical coffee seeds!). These larger seeds tend to display a different flavor profile than what is typically found in heirloom variety trees, resulting in a one-of-a-kind experience in the cup. Thanks to our partnership with Toldopamba, we paid 4.5 FOB for this coffee, which at the time of purchase was 250% above the commercial coffee price.
To us, this coffee expresses the complex fruit and chocolate tones we love from Colombia, with notes of spice in the finish. We taste dense dark chocolate, complex nutmeg, and cinnamon spiciness, with citrus and blackberries in the finish.