COLOMBIA JOSÉ IGNACIO PARDO, THE COFFEE COLLECTIVE, DENMARK

This coffee was a surprise early Christmas gift from my sister and Danish brother-in-law, and seeing as it’s the holidays and I am, coincidentally, on holiday, I think it’s worth departing from my usual Scotland-centric approach and taking a closer look at this distinctive offering from the Coffee Collective.

Think of this review as a Christmas special, of sorts.

Having lived in America for five years, returning only recently to the country of my birth, I have not had a lot of experience with the Scandinavian approach to roasting. While there are a few companies in the States experimenting with the extremely light roasting technique it is not something that has meshed with America’s more ingrained coffee tastes. At least not yet.

It is, obviously, much easier to get hold of coffee from Scandinavian roasters here in the UK - in fact, anyone interested in sampling the Coffee Collective’s offerings can head to Baba Budan in Edinburgh, which is currently the only UK-based cafe serving their coffee.

Needless to say, I was intrigued by the prospect of trying a light-roasted Colombia from Denmark.

As a disclaimer, I managed to forget to pack a digital scale so have been reduced to using an analogue kitchen scale which I found in the holiday home. It seemed to work pretty well, but obviously it will never be as accurate as I would like.

That done, on with the show.

The bag is a matte white stand-up pouch with simple black writing (heavy on the writing), all of which is, naturally, in Danish. Luckily the website is also in English, and it tells me that José Ignacio Pardo is a third generation owner of the remote Finca La Cabaña in the Huila region of southern Colombia. It is a Direct Trade coffee, which means that the Coffee Collective pays 25% above the Fair Trade price, and visits the farm every year (a great account of their last trip to Colombia can be found here).

It is obvious straight away that this coffee is exceedingly light. The beans are small and light brown, and the dry fragrance is a little savoury, a vegetal suggestion mingling with cocoa and orange zest.

The coffee has a pleasingly light acidity, and more vocal fruitiness than most Colombians I have tasted recently. A cherry note pairs nicely with an agreeably prolonged finish, as the floaty brightness and delicate body linger on the palate like a whisper.

It is definitely a departure from my experience of American-roasted Colombians (generally darker, more conventional offerings) but this Coffee Collective approach is surely laudable. They roast light not out of any pretentious need to be different, but to bring out the flavours inherent in the bean. They put a lot of work into sourcing the coffees that pair best with their approach, and they pay the farmers they work with a good price for their crop.

Their attention to detail and clear passion for coffee shines through

in the brewed cup. While its extreme lightness will not please everyone, this is clearly not their goal. They want the coffee to speak for itself, and in this case it absolutely does that. It’s a Colombian stripped back to its essence.

Region: Huila

Altitude: 1700

Process: Washed

Varietals: Caturra, Colombia and Typica

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