partner stories

Colombia - Chiroso: Tres Mosqueteros (2021)

​This immaculate coffee is the work of brothers Leonardo and Felipe Henao and their farm manager, Jorge Cuellar ("the real musketeer," says Leo). Leo and Felipe are the Director of Coffee and Coffee Buyer for Pergamino, our export partners in Colombia. Pergamino is vertically integrated: its purview includes a dry-mill and exporting operation, a roastery, and several beautiful specialty cafes in the city of Medellín.

​Leo studied Agro-Industrial Engineering in the celebrated coffee region of Cauca (where we source coffees for Bedford). In recent years he purchased Finca Los Palomos near the town of Urrao, Antioquia. Combining his and Felipe's knowledge of the industry and their friend Jorge's extensive experience farming, they've turned Los Palomos into a model for quality in the region. At ten hectares, their farm is just slightly smaller than McCarren Park.

​In 2020, Leo, Felipe, and Jorge took first place in Colombia's prestigious Cup of Excellence with their chiroso, the only coffee that year to receive the competition's Presidential Award for coffees scoring at least 90 points. (This year, Leo placed once again with another chiroso from Los Palomos.)

​For years we've nurtured an obsession with the chiroso variety. Only formally cataloged in the last year or so, it is quickly gaining recognition within the wider specialty coffee community. It is more productive than caturra, with elongated, football-shaped seeds. (A less common genetic regression called "bourbon chiroso" is also starting to be cultivated, distinguished by its much taller plants.) Those familiar with our menu in past years will recognize such names as Aidé Garro, Andres Restrepo, and Alexander Zapata, other producers in Urrao growing chiroso who rank among our longest running farm relationships.

​Urrao itself is as incredible as the coffee that is grown there. Nestled in a remote valley in the Andes Mountains, it's a four-and-a-half hour drive from Medellín beyond impossibly vast mountain passes (but just some thirty miles as the crow flies). Arrive and you'll find yourself in fertile pastures along a river valley floor, but at elevations exceeding 1800 meters: abnormal in that the ideal conditions for growing coffee exist at the town's lowest points. This unusual topography creates a unique and ideal microclimate, not just for the slow maturation of coffee fruits, but also for slow (yet steady and controlled) fermentation and drying post-harvest.

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