Most coffees from Colombia are processed using the traditional washed method. This lot, however, goes through a more complex honey process that involves leaving the bean to dry in its mucilage for 20-45 days, using the heavy, cold winds of the region to help promote an even drying process. The producers of this region, an indigenous community called the Inga, were part of the northernmost Inca empire, which colonized the south of Colombia in the late 14th century. The land here is communal, and the population is ruled by a “cabildo” or group of elders who make sure ancestral traditions are upheld. The population of this area has unfortunately been affected by earthquakes in recent years and has turned to specialty coffee to help produce income for the region.
The honey process, while not common and labor-intensive, adds value to the product. After the coffee fruit has been harvested, the skin is removed and the fruit is allowed to dry on the bean. Drying in the equatorial sun, the sugars in the fruit just multiply. This lends itself to the end, roasted product: a cup with candied notes of red apple, tangerine, and caramel.