Colombia El Vergel "Guava Banana"My Friend's Coffee
Guava, Banana, Framboise, Champagne Truffle
We'll cut to the chase: this is one of the best coffees we've tasted all last year. It's an anaerobic natural, sugar-sweet, tropical bright, and packed, as its name suggests, with notes of Guava and Banana. We sourced this directly from one of the world's best farms: El Vergel Estate in Tolima, Colombia. To call El Vergel's coffees mind-blowing underplays their complexity. They're flavor-bomb brews that smack of prodigy production. (It doesn't hurt that the El Vergel folks are insanely nice, too).
So what makes El Vergel's "Guava Banana" so good? Well, first, there's the coffee itself: a blue-chip batch of pure Caturra. The quality of the harvest alone is enough to elevate the brew, but the processing kicks the whole thing into an otherworldly space. Shady Bayter, El Vergel's boundary-pushing producer, describes his method as "Anaerobic Natural," but the label minimizes the complexity. Detailing every process step would require a leather-bound tome, but here's a (woefully simplistic) breakdown.
First, El Vergel put the crop through a 60-hour, temperature-controlled, oxygen-suppressed fermentation. Once the coffee reached target PH levels, the El Vergel crew went about drying it, halting the process at different moisture levels. These pauses allowed the coffee to dwell, increasing complexity and teasing out explosive flavors. Next came a silo stage to bring the beans down to finishing moisture levels. Finally, the coffee was set to rest for a 45-day homogenizing period, yielding uniformity of flavor.
The tropical notes in this Guava Banana sing like Opera stars; they're loud, stirring, and wonderfully defining. But there's much more to this cup than island fruit. The processing yields flavors that recall a Framboise, a signature pairing of raspberry sugars, and delicate fermentation. There's chocolate on the finish, but not the usual uppercut dark you get from most Colombian crops. Instead, it lands like a Swiss chocolatier's take on a champagne truffle. The flavors are remarkable in isolation, but the gestalt becomes a jaw-dropping affair. We could go on, but it's probably better just to leave it like so: Grab a bag, because coffee doesn't get much better than this.
- Region - Tolima, Colombia
- Process - Anaerobic Natural
- Farm/Producer - El Vergel/Shady Bayter
- Varietal - Caturra
- Altitude - 1,500 MASL
- Pour Over
- French Press
- Drip Machine
- Single Origin Espresso
Unless otherwise stated, all bags are sold in 12 oz quantities.