Madcap Coffee Co.’s Colombia Tasting Series ”a collection of eight coffees from producers throughout the country ”is available now in limited quantities
FROM STAFF REPORTS
There are myriad variables that affect the flavor of coffee. It’s impossible to say that one thing specifically makes a coffee taste the way it does, and our favorite coffees are often the result of a happy accident of variables coming together, be they climate, elevation, processing method, shipping method ”the list goes on and on. Although these variables play together in sometimes unpredictable ways, there are some we understand better than others. A coffee processed one way will yield a certain result. A coffee grown at this elevation will taste like this.
But the one factor we still have yet to scratch the surface on is terroir, or the influence that the region or soil a coffee is grown in, has on the final flavor profile. It’s easy to tell that an Rwandan coffee and an Guatemalan coffee taste different, but to articulate how growing regions can affect a cup’s final flavor profile is still a conversation we struggle to find words to describe.
The new Colombia Tasting Series from Madcap Coffee Co., which is based in Grand Rapids, Mich., however, is a giant step forward in our community’s collective effort to pinpoint and articulate some of those factors. Featuring coffees from single-producer farms from all over Colombia, Madcap’s tasting series was developed to highlight the ways in which even small changes in terroir can affect the final flavor of a coffee. œThe reason behind doing this, for us, is that Colombia is easily one of our favorite coffee growing countries, says Ryan Knapp, green buyer and co-owner of Madcap. œThe more we explore Colombia and taste coffees, we are amazed at the diversity we’ve seen across the country, and realize how few people get to experience and really digest these differences.
Climate is a large component of what makes a land’s terroir, so it’s not surprising that diversity and frequent changes in weather conditions would produce coffees of varying taste profiles. All the coffees in Madcap’s tasting series are grown between 1,700 “2,000 meters, and have all been harvested, processed, and dried by the producers themselves on their farms (for a list of the producers, see below). By offering coffees from such small sub-regions of Colombia, consumers can focus singularly on the diversity of growing regions in Colombia and enjoy the myriad flavor profiles that can come from all over the country.
Think of it as a super tasty science experiment, which is something Madcap has done in the past (see here and here for more information). œThe closest series we’ve done with something like this is the Varietal Series, which was highlighting multiple single varieties from the same farm. However, this is quite a bit different since with that, we were working with one family instead of eight individual producers that are spread apart, Ryan continues.
By controlling a number of variables, most importantly processing and lot separation, Madcap and their partner producers got much more intimate with the coffees ”through the Colombia Tasting Series, you can, too. The flavors from a coffee grown in Hulia, for example, versus Tolima become more distinct, and Madcap has clearly worked hard to procure and provide some of the best coffees the country has to show. Madcap has some famously strong ties to farmers in Colombia, specifically Luis Reinoso, whose coffees have been a mainstay on the Madcap menu since 2010. Today, Luis sells solely to them.
And Ryan continues to grow Madcap’s relationships with farmers throughout the country, sourcing some of the best coffees that Colombia has to offer. œThese aren’t eight random samples that we’ve picked,” he explains. These are “eight outstanding coffees that we’ve chosen as the result of cupping thousands of Colombian coffees. We’ve selected these coffees as we believe they highlight exemplary examples of the top quality from the different micro-regions, produced by top tier professionals.
Ryan hopes to share the individual stories and lives of these producers through these coffees, and feels they can communicate the complexity of how varied farms in Colombia can be. œMy hope for this series is that people will be invited to understand how much diversity there is across this country. I’ve often heard, ‘Colombia coffees taste like…(fill in the blank).’ I want to open folks’ eyes that the very best coffees from Colombia can have a huge array of characteristics, Ryan says.
Madcap’s Colombia Tasting Series features 45 grams of eight coffees from farmers all throughout Colombia, and is priced at $55. The series will only be available online for three weeks, and coffees from each producer will be rotated throughout retail Madcap locations throughout the rest of the year. Although some of the lots purchased for this series are small, Madcap plans to continue to buy coffees from all these producers, so you’ll see them on the menu again soon. But an opportunity to taste these coffees side by side, roasted specifically for this purpose of the tasting exercise, is rare, which is why the Colombia Tasting Series has been super popular.
Madcap Coffee has two more roasting dates scheduled for this very special series: Monday, December 21 (tomorrow!) and Monday, December 28. Order yours today!