Loveshack: Colombia Yacuanquer

  • Loveshack: Colombia Yacuanquer
  • Loveshack: Colombia Yacuanquer
Region Nariño Department
Farm The Cornucopia of Colombian Cultivators of Yacuanquer
Variety Castillo, Caturra
MASL / Altitude 1800-2100
Process Washed
Tasting Notes Apricot Jam, Kumquat, Sweet Sultana


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When I started being fascinated by coffee...I had no idea it would lead me to be interested in cultivars...never a word I thought I'd have much use for! As it turns out, its a very important word! 


Now, this piece goes into a bit of depth about the journey of coffee round the world, but it does have direct relevance to this coffee, so bear with me! 

 From when coffee was discovered its value as a prized crop was realised by the Dutch, they took a variety of coffee plants over to their colonies in Indonesia, via Yemen and India. These are the group of cultivars (wild coffee that has been taken and farmed becomes a cultivar)that became known as known as Typica. In the early 1700s a coffee plant or plants  was taken back to Amsterdam, then in the 1720s made its way by intrigue and circumstance over to the French colony of Martinique. It also came to Brazil from India in the 1760s. 


Bourbon is another general group of coffee cultivars, that was brought from Yemen to Île Bourbon (now known as Reunion, just to the east of Madagascar) by the French in the early 1700s. A number of plants were then taken from there to Brazil in the early 1800s. 

Caturra is a natural mutation of Bourbon, found in Brazil in 1937 and chosen and cultivated because it produced complex and tasty coffee and  its a dwarf shrub so its easy to plant densely, harvest and produces a lot of cherry.  Thus a fantastic plant to use for Colombian coffee farmers, 95% of whom are small holders with less than five hectares. 

Colombia invests massively in researching ways to protect and improve coffee in Colombia, due to the importance of the crop to the country's economy. Because all our beloved delicious coffee flavours from Central and South America come from plants that have descended from the DNA of two groups of plants, Typica and Bourbon, that has left them seriously lacking in genetic diversity, and in peril from disease that can quickly spread through them all. 

The Colombian National Coffee Growers Federation (FNC) developed the Colombia varietal, the love child of Caturra and a disease resistant cultivar called Timor Hybrid. This was then worked on further to produce Castillo, which is now the most planted variety in Colombia. The coffee brains at FNC are continuing to add more sub cultivars to Castillo to add more genetic diversity to provide more resistance to disease and develop more tasty flavour potential. 

 The coffee cultivars in our Yacuanquer is a blend of Caturra and Castillo. 


There has been some suspicion in speciality coffee about the cup quality of Castillo, in that one of its genetic parents is the Timor Hybrid. Timor Hybrid was a naturally occurring mutation of Typica and Robusta that occurred in Timor, and was then developed for commercial coffee purposes, as the robusta element, whilst delivering very little flavour is very hardy and well...robust! As such is resistant to leaf rust that in recent years has decimated coffee crops in Central and South America. However it doesn’t produce very tasty coffee. So the idea being take the Timor, splice it with Caturra, which can produce delicious coffee, and you have the best of both worlds! Tasty coffee, that is more resistant to disease! 

Our view at H&G is just, taste it and see! Our mates over at Schluter have sourced this, so we're confident as to the ethics of the provenance, so from there, its all about how it performs in the cup! 

This coffee is really high grown, between 1800-2100 MASL, Yacuanquer is in Narino, in the very south of Colombia, on the border of Ecuador and as such is very near the equator, with lots of high in the sky sun when required, but also the cool atmosphere of that altitude to allow sugar development in those cherries. The soil is rich with volcanic ash (The Galeras volcano just a few miles to the north is currently the most active in Colombia) that adds to the mineral rich soil in the area, providing nutrients that further make the tasty happen! 

There is real pride in the craft of farming, picking and processing in Colombia, and with each farmer looking after his own small holding and contributing it to the coffee that is milled at Yacuanquer, no one wants to let the side down! So, if Castillo is in with a chance of being tasty, I’d say it has a heck of shot from this lot. 

When we were cupping to suggest flavour notes, we were first hit by the joyous first hit of flavour that combined sweetness, fruit and good body, which is pretty much all we want from a coffee! 

I honestly didn’t want to put kumquat as a tasting note! But when we’re trying to pick flavour suggestions that express different elements of the coffee, it’s sweetness or acidity or body, it’s like going further and further down a sensory rabbit hole! We cupped it, and there was that dark, plum type sweetness that came across as sultanas...and the acidity was somewhere between lemon and orange, but was also soft and sweet...and when someone suggested kumquat...or rather,

’it’s like those little cute orange things on top of cocktails’ we couldn’t not taste that. So there we go. Kumquat!  

It’s got loads of toffee sweetness balancing all that, and a really lovely viscous body to carry it all over your tongue and light up your mouth! It’s a dream of a Loveshack coffee!