Our first offering from this summer’s Cauca harvest has a simplistic, fresh, and balanced character. Cups of Popayan are loaded with apricot and spice aromatics and a distinct riesling grape sweetness, supported by a deep caramelized pecan note throughout. The finish has the fresh bitterness of basil and lemon zest, and cups tend to cool clean and with abundant milk chocolate. In our experience, one distinct trait that makes Colombias special is their versatility--their ability to brew well across a variety of methods--and this one, balanced and clean as it is, pleases on the cupping table, shines in filter brewing, and absolutely sparkles as a well-extracted espresso. Regalo de Popayán Producers: Asociación de Productores de Cafés Especiales del Municipio de Popayán (APROCEP) Region: Popayán, Cauca, Colombia Varieties: Caturra (60%), Colombia & Castillo (40%) Process: fully washed; sun-dried in greenhouses and rooftops “Regalo” means “gift”, in this case one created collectively for Handsome by 100 different growers in the municipality of Popayán, the capital of the Cauca region in Southwestern Colombia. This is Handsome’s second crop from the group, collectively called APROCEP, whose members pick and process their own coffee on small personal properties, averaging just 5-8 acres each--very common along the Andes where most of Colombia’s coffee is grown. Chris Owens, one of Handsome’s founders, pounced upon APROCEP during the group’s formation and inaugural harvest in 2012 while traveling in Cauca with Virmax, a small but razor-sharp exporting group based in Bogotá. This lead to the new but promising relationship responsible for the coffee now on our shelf. Caturra (the first listed variety) is a close mutation of Bourbon, a commonly-seen variety of coffee berry grown throughout the Americas. Colombia, like Castillo, is a more recent creation, harvested for the first time in just the past few years. These are both hybridized cultivars bred for disease-resistance and flavor, and were originally designed by the Colombian Coffee Growers Federation (FNC), a national body that unites and represents over half a million producing families across the country, and that also maintains a technology wing for R&D purposes...and yes, also gave birth to the ubiquitous mascot Juan Valdez back in 1958. As roasters we are amazed every year by the sparkle and personality of fresh crop Colombias. Coffees from this country can compete against the best from anywhere else, and their characters are often unpredictable and wildly delicious. Keep an eye out: this origin will slowly be taking over our lineup in the next few months, in the best possible way.