On the nose, Edwin Cuellar’s maragogipe is beautifully delicate, with mild aromatics of wafer cookie, honey, and marzipan. In the cup, we find sweet cocoa, toasted almond, and a gentle, elegantly structured acidity that is reminiscent of clementine and cooked pineapple.
José Edwin Cuellar is a member of the Divino Niño producer group in Suaza, Colombia and was the 3rd place winner of the inaugural Copa Suaceña competition back in 2019. This selection from Edwin’s farm is a special separation of maragogipe, a relatively rare Arabica variety with dramatically large seeds and a uniquely delicate cup profile.
In a region with no shortage of beautiful coffee farms, José Edwin Cuellar’s Finca Esmeralda is particularly memorable, with panoramic views and an impressive array of coffee varieties under cultivation (colombia, pink bourbon, red tabi, maragogipe, gesha). Passenger’s green buying team first visited Finca Esmeralda in 2019, shortly after José Edwin was recognized as the 3rd place winner of the inaugural Copa Suaceña. Since that year, we have had the opportunity to taste many lots from his farm, but 2021 marks the first year that we were able to taste and contract a small separation of maragogipe, an Arabica variety long known for its giant “beans”, that has become relatively rare in recent years.
Maragogipe is named for the city in Brazil where the variety was discovered in 1870. It is a natural mutation of typica and is characterized by large internodal spacing, large leaves, and particularly large cherries - hence the huge coffee seeds that, whether green or roasted, are simply impossible to miss when encountering this unique variety. While the size of its seeds has long been prized by the coffee market, maragogipe is quite low yielding and highly susceptible to leaf rust and coffee berry disease. Given these challenges, the pacamara and maracaturra varieties were both the result of coffee breeding projects that crossed maragogipe with other coffee varieties to pursue the goal of retaining the marketable size of the maragogipe beans while improving productivity and disease resistance.
Passenger Education Lots are selected to highlight something of interest regarding plant genetics, unique microclimates, comparative or experimental explorations of processing, or coffee producing regions of historical significance. The present selection from Edwin Cuellar is an ideal fit for the menu due to its unique plant genetics, but it also adds further diversity to the already broad catalogue of Divino Niño coffees on Passenger’s offerings list. Along with our other recent addition to the Education Lot Menu (Divino Niño Gesha) this special maragogipe separation takes the total number of coffees on Passenger’s offerings list that were purchased from the Divino Niño producer group to 15 at time of writing. Sharing an expansive but intentional selection of the incredibly diverse coffees produced by this coffee farming community was a primary goal of ours when we began purchasing coffees from these producers back in 2018. While still at an early stage, the evolution of the Divino Niño partnership has been incredibly rewarding thus far and we see nothing but potential on the horizon.