Colombia - Papayo (2023)

Papayo is one of several mysterious coffee varieties that have appeared across Latin America in recent years. The story almost always follows a similar pattern: a farmer observed some coffee plants that looked strange, assumed them to be a mutation of either caturra or bourbon—depending on whether the plants were short or tall—and isolated the coffee during picking, eventually to learn that the cup quality was especially good. Then, years later, it would often be revealed that the variety in question was neither caturra nor bourbon, but often had a recent genetic ancestor in Ethiopia. We've heard this story first of gesha, but then of varieties like chiroso, pink bourbon, ají bourbon, catiope, mejorado, and wush wush (though there is legitimate reason for skepticism in certain cases).

Whatever the case, papayo was discovered in the southwestern department of Huila, Colombia, near the town of Acevedo. The plants are tall, like bourbon, and very productive, with clusters of oblong fruit that resemble tiny papayas.

This lot, also from Acevedo, was produced by Rubén Correa, a third generation coffee producer. His farm, Finca Primavera, occupies 3 hectares of land at 1,430 meters above sea level—quite high for somewhere like Honduras or Brazil but not extreme at Huila's near equatorial latitudes. The farm is planted with 15,000 coffee trees intercropped with banana, yucca, orange, tangerine, and lemon. In addition to its 3 permanent employees Rubén hires 10 seasonal employees to assist with picking during the harvest.

We sourced this lot in direct collaboration with Cuatro Vientos, a newer exporter focused on Huila that we have come to rely on for dependable volume lots for Brooklyn and Flatiron. Huila's location and climate is perfect for this purpose, with three major growing regions that harvest coffee practically year round. We have been especially impressed with the caliber of processing and drying of their coffees, which can aid in the stability and longevity of a coffee post harvesting.

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