Tulio Cotacio - 2022

Tulio Cotacio - 2022

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    Browning sugar notes of molasses and raw honey on the nose introduce this deeply sweet and inviting cup profile. Flavors of plum, red apple, and marzipan in the cup are beautifully accompanied by a base of black tea and a refreshing lime and sour cherry finish as it cools.

    This variety colombia separation from producer Tulio Cotacio was the only Copa de Oro winning lot that Passenger selected from the west of Huila, specifically from the region of La Plata. Producer Tulio Cotacio’s impressive skill and attention to detail resulted in a deeply pleasing and tenacious competition coffee that stood out impressively within a crowded field of “showier” single-variety entries.

    Since 2019, Passenger's green buying team has had the privilege of joining the judging panel at a series of Copa Suaceña competitions in southern Huila, Colombia, organized by our sourcing and import partners at Osito Coffee. Each annual edition of the "Suaza Cup" has pursued the goal of identifying and recognizing the highest quality coffees produced by the Divino Niño producer group: a community of farmers that has been one of Passenger's Foundational Partners since 2018. As a result of COVID-related restrictions, it was sadly impossible for us to travel to Colombia in 2020 and 2021, and we continued to support the Copa Suaceña as best we could as remote participants in two decentralized editions of the competition. Given that two-year hiatus, we were especially excited to return to Colombia in December, 2022 to serve as judges at the most ambitious regional cupping event organized by our hosts to date: an expanded competition dubbed the "Copa de Oro”.

    In addition to remaining open to submissions from all the familiar names we've come to know and love in Divino Niño, this larger competition expanded its regional scope to welcome entrants from other sub-regions of western, southern, and central Huila that are areas of particular focus for our partners at Osito. Twenty lots from each of these broad geographical regions were screened and pre-selected by Osito's Colombia-based cupping team. The 60 lots that were entered into the competition were rigorously evaluated by an international team of judges (from Colombia, Brazil, Japan, Canada, the Netherlands, England, and the U.S.) across three days of blind cupping. At the end of competition week, the top 20 lots were cupped one final time to determine the ranking for the top 5 coffees from each of the three regions. And when all was said and done, the highest scoring coffee among these regional champions was ultimately recognized as the overall winner of the inaugural Copa de Oro.

    This coffee, from producer Tulio Cotacio, represents the only selection that Passenger made from Copa de Oro winners representing the west of Huila, specifically from the region of La Plata. This lot was additionally notable as one of the very few competition winners to not be composed of the pink bourbon variety. Tulio Cotacio cultivates a number of different arabica varieties on his farm including castillo, caturra, tabi, as well as "variedad Colombia" - the variety that he chose to submit to the Copa de Oro. "Variedad Colombia" is a hybrid variety developed in 1982 by the Colombian Coffee Growers Federation (FNC) and its national coffee research institution Cenicafé. In this context, the term "hybrid" implies that the variety is intentionally composed of a mix of arabica and robusta plant genetics. The variety is now widely cultivated by coffee producers throughout Colombia thanks to its appealing balance of hearty disease resistance (robusta plant genetics) and impressive cup quality potential (arabica plant genetics).

    With so many of the Copa de Oro contestants choosing to submit pink bourbon selections (while the precise genetic lineage of pink bourbon has not been established, its sparkling cup qualities support the hypothesis that it is some kind of Ethiopian landrace variety), the success of Tulio's var. Colombia submission through multiple rounds of blind evaluation by the competition judges is all the more impressive. The tenacity and consistent quality of this coffee throughout the competition speaks not only to the care that Tulio devotes to processing and drying, but also to the research and experimentation that contributed to the development of a hybrid variety that is well suited to the specific challenges of Colombia's producing regions.

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