Q Grade: 86
Region: Sierra Nevada, Santa Marta0
Process: Washed, Sun-dried
Taste Notes: Caramel, Chocolate, Hazelnut and Soft Citrus
Overall Impression: Balanced. Crisp and pointed acidity with some savoury notes developing on the cool.
Rainforest Alliance Certified and Organic.
What is Sierra Nevada?
Sierra Nevada in Santa Marta, Colombia is the highest coastal mountain in the world, located just 26 miles from the sea. Santa Marta city is close to the paradise destination Tayrona Natural Park famed for its beautiful unspoilt beaches and for the adventurous trek to the Ciudad Perdida (Lost city), an ancient town believed to be founded 650 years before Machu Pichu. Lonely Planet lists it as one of the essential adventures in South America!
This mountain abruptly elevates from the tropical weather of the Caribbean coast to the snow-capped peak of 5775m. For a country like Colombia located in the tropical zone and with almost constant climate all the year around, this means a single region all with different thermal floors optimal for growing anything from coconuts, bananas, avocados, sugar cane to high grade, speciality coffee for which the high altitude is particularly suited.
What makes Sierra Nevada a special coffee?
As if the privileged location of the crops due to perfect climate and the ancient cultural aspect were not enough, there’s one further characteristic of the crops of Sierra Nevada; the farmers grow everything together in the same piece of land, all of this for their own livelihood and all the fruits and vegetables bring back to the soil a combination of distinctive minerals that makes the coffee so particular in flavour and aroma.
This coffee is cultivated mostly at 1800 and 2000 meters above sea level which makes the beans harder and denser. With this comes a slower process of maturation and ultimately delivers complex sugars with sweet aroma and notes of caramel and chocolate.
The native community of Sierra Nevada predecessors habited the zone before pre-spanish colony. Living in a community of more than 1,500 families around their religious city of Nebusimaque, keeping their culture and traditions almost intact.
Their main economic activity is agriculture of coffee and fruits. For being close and respectful to nature they should deserve a sustainability prize! This is clearly seen in the celebratory rituals to nature held at seeding, growing and harvest time for all the crops they have during the year. They describe it as a way of asking permission to the earth to be harvested and to thank the elements of rain, air and sun that sustain the growth of the plants.