Mammoth Coffee Company
El Obraje (Colombia)
Grape Candy, Blood Orange, Chocolate, Lively
Producer Pablo Andres Guerrero
Elevation 2,200 masl
Drinking El Obraje is a remarkable experience. The initial pop of acidity is akin to red grape, and gives way to a lovely citrus note of blood orange and a candy-like sweetness. The flavor of dark chocolate compliments and balances the acidity with a pleasant sweetness and silky body.
Hacienda El Obraje has been in Pablo Guerrero’s family for many years, though it originally produced wheat and other grains. In 2000, Pablo became the first to introduce coffee to the Tangua area outside of the city of Pasto in Colombia’s Nariño Department. By 2009, he had built a facility to process his own coffee, and entered into the specialty coffee market. Pablo was unsure how productive the coffee would be at such a high elevation, but his coffee trees flourished and now others are following in his footsteps.
The climate and terrain of Obraje are major contributing factors to its coffee’s unique cup profile. Temperatures vary greatly in a day, from 32 degrees Celsius at noon to 8 degrees or less at night. In the rainy season, the humidity is high and it is nearly impossible to dry coffee on raised beds. Initially, planting shade trees would have been disadvantageous given the humidity, as they would have trapped too much moisture and caused diseases, but the coffee has adapted to its conditions and Obraje now has low-density shade trees planted along with coffee trees. The drastic daily change in temperature impacts the density of the coffee beans and also causes trees to be smaller and more compact than trees of the same varieties in other regions of Colombia. Obraje often does not receive adequate rainfall and must irrigate select lots using water from the farm’s retention pond.