Colombia Huila Monserrate
Cupping Notes: apple, hazelnut, chocolate, brown sugar, overall nutty and brown sugar flavors with some apple and chocolate notes.
Consisting of a single paved road, the community of Monserrate straddles a ridge in the beautiful Cordillera Central mountain range in the southwestern state (departament) of Huila. At the top of the road is a large, brick church that houses a shrine to the Virgen de Monserrate, a statue of a black Virgin Mary that’s become a regional tourist attraction. Most residents of Monserrate and surrounding communities are small-scale farmers who grow coffee as a cash crop.
While the blended coffee from Monserrate has always been fantastic, it didn’t take long for us to realize that certain producers were taking a little more care with their farming and processing practices than others. In 2008, Atlas facilitated the first “Lo Mejor de Monserrate” microlot competition, in order to give farmers the opportunity to have their lots cupped and scored independent of the rest of the group. Once Monserrate producers realized that coffee buyers would pay even higher premiums for top quality lots traceable to an individual farm, the friendly competition took off. Those first farmers that built relationships with roasters served as models of success for the rest of the community, and each year brings higher quality coffees, freshly motivated farmers and an opportunity for roasters and producers to connect in a uniquely personal way.