Single Origin – June – Sumatra Orang Utan

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Country: Indonesia
Region: Aceh, Sumatra
Farm/Co-operative: Orang Utan Coffee
Altitude: 1,750–2,100m above sea level
Species: Arabica
Varietal: Gayo Highland Grade 1
Processing Method: Wet Hulled
Supplier: Direct Trade

Tasting notes: Strawberry, juicy berry, brown sugar, pawpaw, herbaceous, lavender, honey, stone fruit.

Owing to intensive agricultural development and rapid deforestation, orangutans loose their natural habitat. The greatest threat is the rapid expansion of the palm oil plantation industry at the expense of rainforests.

The advancing destruction of tropical rainforests is threatening the existence of both orangutans and farmers alike. The Orang Utan Coffee Project helps farmers operate ecologically friendly coffee plantations without clearing rainforests.

Profits from the sale of Orang Utan Coffee are invested in organic certification, trainings such as organic farming methods, coffee production and processing, marketing, infrastructure and facilities such as processing, storage, and transport.

The Orang Utan coffee growers receive a bonus of at least 0.50 EUR/kg of green bean for their commitment to protect the tropical rainforest and cultivate the coffee according to the strict Orang Utan Guidelines. PanEco receives a bonus of at least 0.50 EUR per kg green bean of exported Orang Utan coffee to support the Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Programme (SOCP).

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Single Origin – May – Panama Don Quijote Microlot

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Country: Panama
Region: Chiriqui
Farm/Co-operative: Cafe De Eleta
Altitude: 1,750–2,100m above sea level
Species: Arabica
Varietal: Criollo (Typica)
Processing Method: Fully washed
Supplier: Direct Trade

Tasting notes: A very clean and sweet cup with notes of peach, shortbread, vanilla and hazelnut.

Cafe de Eleta is situated in Panama in a region called Piedra Candela, two hours north of David and one kilometre from the border with Costa Rica. The beauty of this special coffee farm is that it is set within a rainforest in La Amistad International Park. The farm was established in 1972 to breed cattle, sheep and pig livestock. It wasn’t until 1995 that the Eleta Group started growing coffee. Over the following years, the group bought more land and the farm grew to 420 hectares. The first coffee export from Cafe de Eleta took place in 1998 and was sent to Europe and the USA.

The Eleta Group is a well known family enterprise in Panama and was started by Don Fernando Eleta. Today it is a highly respected team within the business world as owners of media and insurance companies as well as breeding high level race horses. For the past twenty years the group has become renowned for its excellent specialty coffee. Cafe de Eleta has thousands of coffee plants planted over 150 hectares of their farm.

They have six varieties of coffee including Geisha, Bourbon, Jardin, Typica, as well as Catuai-Caturra which is a natural blend and takes up more than 85% of the farm. The Eleta Group built a beneficio (mill) onsite which allows for full control of their processing methods. The coffee from Cafe de Eleta is becoming world renowned and now exports to countries such as Italy, Japan, Holland, USA, and here in Australia where it is exclusive to Genovese Coffee.

Cafe de Eleta is active in supporting and developing their community. A high percentage of employees of the farm belongs to the ethnic Ngobe Bugle, one of the largest and most representative indigenous groups in the Republic of Panama. They live in the province of Chiriqui, bordering Costa Rica. During the harvest months, from October to March, Ngöbe families leave their lands and homes of origin to join the group of harvest on the coffee plantations of productive regions. Café de Eleta has built a residential complex with all facilities for employees and their families live in. This project includes areas of healthy recreation for the sport. We believe it is essential to support and develop this aspect among our people. It has implemented a program of both child and adult education. Ngobe collaborators have learned to read and write, and have received some basic math skills. After reconsidering the restrictions imposed by their culture, indigenous women collaborators are already included in the academic programs.

Cafe de Eleta’s Child Labour Free project states “We believe that we contribute in some way to the growth of Panama and its people, which is, without doubt, the best resource we have as a country. Any support we can provide to provide a better quality of life to our women, men and children is a contribution to national future.” The wages for coffee plantation workers in Panama is one of the highest in the region, with pickers able to earn up to $100US per day. Most of the Ngobe Bugle moves to coffee farms with their wives and small children. On our farm, children do not work: during the months when their parents are engaged in their work activities, children receive education, play and build relationships of mutual respect with the non-indigenous community in the area. The program for the eradication of child labor, holding coffee Eleta comprises aspects of education, nutrition, health, recreation and cultural exchange. The program takes place during the harvest months (November to February) and welcomes all children, sons and daughters of employees, aged between 4 and 14 years. For us it is essential to respect all children and educate them holistically as individuals, provide academic instruction and knowledge of urbanity, civic and moral values. To this end, we have established a partnership with Casa Esperanza, an NGO in Panama, which promotes the elimination of child labor and ensuring education for indigenous children in schools also are areas where children are cared while their parents work. By experience, and by a sincere desire to make positive changes in our people, we have built an educational center. Coffee Eleta covers expenses related to operating costs (including home for educators), food, educational and teaching materials, in addition to the daily transportation to and from school.

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Single Origin – April – Rwanda Remera

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Country: Rwanda
Region: Gasaka Sector, Nyamagabe District
Farm/Co-operative: BUF coffee
Altitude: 1,750–2,100m above sea level
Species: Arabica
Varietal: Red Bourbon
Processing Method: Fully washed
Supplier: Melbourne Coffee Merchants

Tasting notes: Heavy body, creamy mouthfeel, and honey sweetness with notes of green apple, dark chocolate, brown sugar, and black tea. A solid single espresso coffee.

From Melbourne Coffee Merchants: “This 100% Red Bourbon coffee was processed at Remera washing station. This washing station is owned by the wonderful Epiphanie Mukashyaka and her family of Buf Coffee, who we have been buying from since 2009. The washing station is located at approximately 1,935 metres above sea level in the District of Nyamagabe, in the Gasaka sector. Farmers contributing to the Remera washing station own farms that are on average 1,750–2,100 metres above sea level.

ABOUT REMERA WASHING STATION

The Remera washing station is managed by Elias Dusabeyezu, who has been manager at Remera since 2007. The warehouse is impeccably managed by Alex Dushimimana and quality is overseen by an inspirational woman called Angelique Muhawenimana, who started her career as a coffee sorter and now heads up quality control at both of Buf’s washing stations. Together, they ensure that the coffee is harvested and processed with care and that production standards are kept at the highest possible level. Remera provides jobs for 60-80 people during the peak harvest and staffs seven permanent positions. At the end of each season, any surplus profits are shared with the producers and washing station managers.

ABOUT BUF COFFEE

Buf Coffee was founded in 2000 by Epiphanie Mukashyaka, a dynamic businesswoman and a source of inspiration to countless other female entrepreneurs in Rwanda’s coffee sector and beyond. Buf is now managed by Mukashyaka—known to all as Epiphanie—and her sons, Samuel and Aloys, who have taken an active role in running and expanding the business. The name ‘Buf’ derives from ‘Bufundu’, the former name of the region in which its washing stations are located.

Epiphanie lost her husband, a child, and many extended family members in the horrific genocide in 1994. She was faced with the responsibility of caring for her seven surviving children and rebuilding their life. With a limited education and little money or support, Epiphanie, whose husband was a coffee farmer, decided to focus on coffee, and set about rebuilding and developing a business, and with it the local community. She started to learn more about speciality coffee with the assistance of the USAID-financed Partnership for Enhancing Agriculture in Rwanda through Linkages (PEARL) project, a transformational programme aimed at switching the focus of the Rwandan coffee sector from an historic emphasis on quantity to one of quality—and so opening up Rwanda to the far higher-earning specialty coffee market. The programme and its successor, Sustaining Partnerships to enhance Rural Enterprise and Agribusiness Development (SPREAD), have been invaluable in helping Rwanda’s small-scale coffee farmers rebuild their production in the wake of the genocide, and the world coffee crash, of the 1990s.

Epiphanie went on to establish Buf Coffee, and decided to build a washing station, with the help of the PEARL programme and a loan from the Rwandan Development Bank. ‘I came up with the idea to build this,’ she says, ‘and nothing was going to stop me’. She established Remera Washing Station in 2003 and Nyarusiza in 2005, and was the first woman in Rwanda to hold a privately owned company and produce specialty coffee. Her aim with the washing stations was to improve the quality of coffee by shifting the focus from producing commercial coffee to producing high quality specialty coffee. In doing so, she aimed to add value to her processed coffee in order to secure higher and more stable prices for coffee farmers in the region. As a result, she not only improved the livelihood of her family, but also improved those of her neighbour farmers and wider community, directly by increasing their income (through higher prices paid for their cherry) and, indirectly, by bringing important services like safe water and electricity to their villages via the establishment of washing stations.

Today Buf Coffee buys coffee cherries from as many as 7,000 smallholder farmers, including five different local cooperatives. Buf has very strong links with the local communities that supply it, providing jobs for hundreds of locals during peak harvest (May–June/July) and ten permanent positions year-round.

The majority of the small farmers that supply Buf Coffee in the area have an average of only 300 coffee trees each (less than a quarter of a hectare), and also use their land to cultivate crops like maize and beans to feed themselves and their families. Most of their income from the sale of coffee is used to send their children to school, pay for medical care, and for investment in livestock such as purchasing a cow for milk, which is then used at home and for sale locally.

Buf Coffee’s exceptional quality has been recognised year after year. It was awarded a prize in the 2007 Golden Cup; and placed in the Cup of Excellence in 2008, 2010, 2011, 2013, and 2014.

HOW COFFEE IS PROCESSED AT REMERA WASHING STATION

  • The ripe cherries are picked by hand and then delivered to the washing station—on foot, by bike, and by trucks that pick up cherries from various pick-up points in the area.
  • Before being pulped, the cherries are deposited into flotation tanks, where a net is used to skim off the floaters (less dense, lower grade cherries). The heavier cherries are then pulped the same day using a mechanical pulper that divides the beans into three grades by weight.
  • The beans (in parchment) are then dry-fermented (in a tank with no added water) overnight for 8–12 hours. They are then sorted again using grading channels; water is sent through the channels and the lighter (i.e. lower grade) beans are washed to the bottom, while the heavier cherries remain at the top of the channel.
  • The wet parchment is then soaked in water for around 24 hours, before being moved to pre-drying beds where they are intensively sorted for around six hours. This step is always done whilst the beans are still damp because the green (unripe) beans are easier to see. It is also always done in the shade to protect the beans from direct sunlight (which they have found helps to keep the parchment intact and therefore protects the bean better).
  • The sorted beans are finally moved onto African drying beds in the direct sun to dry slowly over 10–20 days. During this time the coffee is sorted carefully for defects, and turned regularly to ensure the coffee dried evenly. It is also covered in the middle of the day when the sun is at its hottest.
  • Once at 11–12% humidity, the coffee (still in its parchment) is stored in the washing station’s warehouse, in carefully labelled lots, until it is ready for export. The coffee is then sent to Rwanda’s capital, Kigali, to be dry-milled. Here the parchment is removed, and the beans are sorted again by hand and using machinery to remove any physical defects and loaded into a sealed shipping container, driven to port, and shipped to us!

We have been working with Buf Coffee since 2009, and we feel privileged to work with such a dynamic, passionate, and committed family in Rwanda. We hope you enjoy this beautiful coffee”

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Single Origin – February – Bolivia Alasistas

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Country: Bolivia
Region: Caranavi
Farm/Co-operative: Alasistas
Altitude: 1580m above sea level
Species: Arabica
Varietal: Red Caturra
Processing Method: Fully washed
Supplier: Melbourne Coffee Merchants

Tasting notes: Jasmine and orange blossom aroma, candy sweetness, and creamy mouthfeel with notes of lychee, red berries, watermelon, and fruit tea. A complex and elegant coffee.

From Melbourne Coffee Merchants: “This coffee is the very first production from a very new farm called Alasitas (which means “Buy Me” in the local Aimara native language) that was planted in November 2014.

Alasitas is a small farm owned by Pedro Rodriguez. Over the last decade, Rodriguez has worked tirelessly to build the production of, and market for, Bolivian specialty coffee, helping hundreds of local farmers recognise and realise the potential of their land and crops.

Alasitas is located in the colony of Bolinda, which lies in a lush, steep mountain valley around 10 kilometres outside of the town of Caranavi. Bolinda was founded 52 years ago and was once known as ‘Bolivia Linda’ or ‘Beautiful Bolivia’. Over the years this name was shortened to Bolinda, and it is now one of the larger settlements in the area.

Pedro Rodriguez entered the coffee industry 30 years ago, ditching his suit and his accounting job to pursue a passion for agriculture. Fifteen years ago, Pedro recognised the potential for specialty coffee in Bolivia, and over the last decade he has built a visionary business called Agricafe, which focuses on forging long-term relationships with producers, based on mutual trust and benefit.

With a young, dynamic, and passionate team, including Pedro’s son Pedro Pablo and daughter Daniela, Agricafe represents over 1,000 small producers based in the Caranavi province as well as further afield in the South Yungas region. Many of the Caranavi-based producers deliver their whole cherries to Agricafe’s Buena Vista Mill in Caranavi. This meticulously run mill processes many of its lots separately, allowing for full traceability back to the individual farmer or colony.

Over the last five years, many of the producers that Agricafe works with have stopped producing coffee (many farmers have switched to coca—grown for the drug trade—which provides them with a higher year-round income), and this, combined with falling yields for those still in the coffee game (as a result of leaf rust and simple farming practices) has seen coffee production across the nation more than halve.

In 2012, Pedro Rodriguez responded by investing in planting his own farms to guarantee supply and the future sustainability of his business, and to demonstrate to local farmers what can be achieved with the application of modern farming techniques and a scientific approach. Under this project, called ‘Fincas Buena Vista’, Agricafe now has 12 farms, and aims to plant around 200 hectares of coffee in total across them.

Alasitas is 20 hectares in size, 16 of which are under coffee. The farm sits at about 1,580 metres above sea level. This high altitude helps to ensure a slow maturation of the cherry because of the stable night-time temperature and mild day temperatures. The slow maturation leads to an increased concentration of sugars in the cherry and bean, which in turns helps to produce a sweeter cup of coffee.

Pedro and his family have invested a lot of time and effort into trying to make this a ‘model’ farm that other producers in the area can learn from. The coffee is meticulously organised by variety and is well spaced in neat rows, making picking much easier to manage than on the more traditional farms in the region. Pedro has trialled several varieties on this farm, including Geisha (planted at the highest parts of the farm), Java, and Red Caturra. The farm boasts a very vibrant and flourishing nursery at its centre that contains tens of thousands of plants.

This very special lot was picked on the 19th of July 2016 and processed on the same day at the Rodriguez family’s Buena Vista Mill. It was pulped and fermented for 16 hours, then washed and carefully laid out to dry on raised beds in an open greenhouse with adjustable walls that can be raised to allow maximum ventilation. The shade of the greenhouse provides protection against the sun and ensures that the parchment does not break, allowing the coffee to dry slowly. While drying, the coffee was turned regularly to ensure it dried evenly, and carefully inspected for any defects (often more visible in wet parchment). Once the coffee was dry, it was transported to La Paz where it was rested, and then milled at the Rodriguez family’s brand new dry mill. There, the coffee was carefully screened again by machines and also by hand.”

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Single Origin – January – Sulawesi Toarco

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Country: Sulawesi
Region: Pango Pango
Farm/Co-operative: PT Toarco
Altitude: 1400-1600m above sea level
Species: Arabica
Varietal: S795
Processing Method: Fully washed
Supplier: Cafe Imports

Tasting notes: Strawberry shortcake, juicy berry, brown sugar, pawpaw, herbaceous, lavender, floral, meringue, nougat, praline, panela, dark honey, stone fruit. Kenyan like acidity

Sulawesi (formerly Celebes), was influenced and controlled by the Netherlands from 1605 until World War II. In 1669, the Dutch East India Company took control of the trade in Sulawesi. The Dutch built Fort Rotterdam in Ujung Pandang (now Makassar) in the mid 1600s, and gained full control of the island in 1905, making it part of the Dutch state colony of the Netherlands East Indies. The Dutch East India Company was in control of coffee production in Indonesia during most the 1700s and introduced Arabica Coffee (Typica) to Sulawesi in 1750.

It took some time for our buyers to arrive in Tana Toraja, Sulawesi, from Minneapolis, having to travel from Minneapolis to Tokyo, then Singapore, a stop in Jakarta, then land in Makassar and drive eight hours north to Rantepao, Tana Toraja. It is the most beautiful place on earth: green, lush, and rice paddies everywhere, giving it a sense of calmness. Traditional Tongkonan houses cover the background with fascinating Toraja Patterns decorating the structures.

Indonesian coffee has traditionally been processed with the giling-basah method, or wet-hulled, like in Sumatra. In 1976 TOARCO, a Japanese-Indonesian joint-venture, introduced to Sulawesi the traditional washed-process, similar to that of Central America.

TOARCO owns Pedamaran Plantation at 900–1250 meters, and purchases wet-parchment (at 40% moisture) from small producers at 1200–1800 meters. Coffee is trucked to Pedamaran Plantation immediately after purchase, and coffee gets dried on mechanical Yamamoto vertical dryers. Mr Watanabe, a TOARCO and Key Coffee veteran, had his origin training in Colombia with the FNC and has always respected their approach to coffee production. TOARCO is now testing out Colombian Penagos horizontal dryers or guardiolas.

If a producer wants to sell their parchment coffee to TOARCO, they need to get certified to the quality standards as far as selective picking, storage, transportation, moisture levels, etc. Farmers are issued ID cards that allow them to sell their coffee at various purchasing points in the Tana Toraja region during the market week. Café Imports’ coffee comes from small producers at the higher altitude areas.

Most of the coffee produced in Toraja is S795 variety, developed in India to be resistant to leaf rust. The genetics of this variety is Typica and Liberica; even though it has Liberica (Robusta-esque species) genes we’ve seen 88+ and 90+ cups in these coffees.

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Single Origin – December – Guatemala Cantinil Mountains

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Country: Guatemala
Region: Huehuetenango
Farm/Co-operative: Cantinil Mountains
Altitude: 1500-1700m above sea level
Species: Arabica
Varietal: Bourbon, Caturra, Catuai, Pache
Processing Method: Fully washed
Supplier: FTA Specialty Coffee

Tasting notes: Thick and buttery body, stone fruits, sparkling green apple and grape acidity, lingering sweet aftertaste.

This coffee was produced in the highlands of Huehuetenango, one of the three non-volcanic regions in Guatemala. The Huehue region is near the northern border with Mexico and is known for it’s high altitude and clean crisp cup. This lot is comprised of many lots from small farmers in the Union Cantinil Municipality in Huehuetenango. Due to the remote, rugged nature of the Huehuetenango region most producers have small wet mills on the farm where they de-pulp, ferment and wash their own production as it is harvested. Drying is then done in the sun on patios, bringing the parchment down 12% humidity.

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Production Partner Spotlight – Panama Cafe De Eleta

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Cafe de Eleta is situated in Panama in a region called Piedra Candela, two hours north of David and one kilometre from the border with Costa Rica. The beauty of this special coffee farm is that it is set within a rainforest in La Amistad International Park. The farm was established in 1972 to breed cattle, sheep and pig livestock. It wasn’t until 1995 that the Eleta Group started growing coffee. Over the following years, the group bought more land and the farm grew to 420 hectares. The first coffee export from Cafe de Eleta took place in 1998 and was sent to Europe and the USA.

The Eleta Group is a well known family enterprise in Panama and was started by Don Fernando Eleta. Today it is a highly respected team within the business world as owners of media and insurance companies as well as breeding high level race horses. For the past twenty years the group has become renowned for its excellent specialty coffee. Cafe de Eleta has thousands of coffee plants planted over 150 hectares of their farm.

They have six varieties of coffee including Geisha, Bourbon, Jardin, Typica, as well as Catuai-Caturra which is a natural blend and takes up more than 85% of the farm. The Eleta Group built a beneficio (mill) onsite which allows for full control of their processing methods. The coffee from Cafe de Eleta is becoming world renowned and now exports to countries such as Italy, Japan, Holland, USA, and here in Australia where it is exclusive to Genovese Coffee.

Cafe de Eleta is active in supporting and developing their community. A high percentage of employees of the farm belongs to the ethnic Ngobe Bugle, one of the largest and most representative indigenous groups in the Republic of Panama. They live in the province of Chiriqui, bordering Costa Rica. During the harvest months, from October to March, Ngöbe families leave their lands and homes of origin to join the group of harvest on the coffee plantations of productive regions. Café de Eleta has built a residential complex with all facilities for employees and their families live in. This project includes areas of healthy recreation for the sport. We believe it is essential to support and develop this aspect among our people. It has implemented a program of both child and adult education. Ngobe collaborators have learned to read and write, and have received some basic math skills. After reconsidering the restrictions imposed by their culture, indigenous women collaborators are already included in the academic programs.

Cafe de Eleta’s Child Labour Free project states “We believe that we contribute in some way to the growth of Panama and its people, which is, without doubt, the best resource we have as a country. Any support we can provide to provide a better quality of life to our women, men and children is a contribution to national future.” The wages for coffee plantation workers in Panama is one of the highest in the region, with pickers able to earn up to $100US per day. Most of the Ngobe Bugle moves to coffee farms with their wives and small children. On our farm, children do not work: during the months when their parents are engaged in their work activities, children receive education, play and build relationships of mutual respect with the non-indigenous community in the area. The program for the eradication of child labor, holding coffee Eleta comprises aspects of education, nutrition, health, recreation and cultural exchange. The program takes place during the harvest months (November to February) and welcomes all children, sons and daughters of employees, aged between 4 and 14 years. For us it is essential to respect all children and educate them holistically as individuals, provide academic instruction and knowledge of urbanity, civic and moral values. To this end, we have established a partnership with Casa Esperanza, an NGO in Panama, which promotes the elimination of child labor and ensuring education for indigenous children in schools also are areas where children are cared while their parents work. By experience, and by a sincere desire to make positive changes in our people, we have built an educational center. Coffee Eleta covers expenses related to operating costs (including home for educators), food, educational and teaching materials, in addition to the daily transportation to and from school.

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Single Origin – November – El Salvador Espana Honey

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Country: El Salvador
Region: Apaneca-Ilamatepec, Ahuachapan
Farm/Co-operative: Espana
Altitude: 1400m above sea level
Species: Arabica
Varietal: Bourbon
Processing Method: Honey
Supplier: Melbourne Coffee Merchants

Tasting notes: Tropical fruit sweetness, syrupy body and notes of plum wine, honey, red apple and blueberry. 

Nora Lemus De Diaz Nuila is a third generation coffee farmer from El Salvador and is the proud owner of Finca España, a small 22 hectares located in the Quezalepa canton of the Apaneca municipality, on the Apeneca-Ilamatepec mountain range in the Ahuacapán department of El Salvador.

The Apaneca Ilamatepec mountain range is a chain of four volcanoes that lies between the towns of Santa Ana and Apeneca. This famous growing region is home to many past Cup of Excellence winners, and recently farms from this region have been been certified under the protected Denomination of Origin (DO) classification due to the unique terroir and high cup quality.

Finca España sits at the privileged elevation of 1,400 to 1,450 meters above sea level. Bourbon and Pacas varieties are planted in rich volcanic soil on the farm, under the shade of Ingas and natural forest trees.

Shade grown coffee, like that at Finca España, plays a vital role in preserving this regions precious ecosystem and landscape. Growing on lava formations, the coffee trees provide important ground cover and let water infiltrate into the groundwater reserves in the soil. Shade trees help to protect the biodiversity in the region, and provide a santuary for hundreds of the migratory and native bird species found in this part of the world.

Coffee is harvested at Finca España during the final weeks of December through until March. All coffee from the farm is carefully harvested by hand and meticulously sorted before being delivered for processing to the nearby Beneficio El Carmen on the same day. Fernando Alfaro, the owner of the mill and El Carmen Estate, works with the family to process their coffee to their specifications so as to assure its quality and consistency.

Currently Finca España produces wet process and natural coffees and has only recently begun experimenting with honey processed lots, such as this one. This lot has been first pulped and is then delivered to dry on raised beds with the mucilage still attached. The coffee is regularly turned in order to ensure even drying.

We cupped this special 5 bag micro lot in June this year and fell in love with the cup profile. It’s the first time we have purchased from this farm, but we hope to work with them for many years to come.

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Single Origin – October – Kenya Thiru

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Country: Kenya
Region: Kiambu County, Kenya
Co-operative/Wet Mill: Thiru
Altitude: 1400-1550m above sea level
Species: Arabica
Varietal: SL 28, SL 34
Processing Method: Washed and Sun Dried
Supplier: Small Batch

Tasting Notes: Juicy and rich with a complex acidity, intense brown sugar sweetness and notes of red apple, currants and grapefruit.

Just a 45 minute drive north from Nairobi – Thiru Estate sits at approximately 1590 meters above sea level. The soils here are deep red volcanic soils, rich in organic matter, with mostly SL28 & SL34 varieties being grown over 20 hectares of land, owned by Mrs Ann W Gichuhi.

At Thiru, cherries are selectively picked at just the right time, with cherries being delivered to the washing station on the same day. Cherries are sorted prior to processing, and are processed using clean river water, which is then re-circulated before disposal into seepage pits. The pulped and washing coffee is then dried in the sun on raised tables (which are covered during the middle of the day to keep the drying temperature process consistent), before being sent to the dry mill to be hulled and graded by size and density – it is then packaged into grainpro prior to export.

This lot of was graded as an AA, which refers to the screen size used (in this case 18/64 inch and up). While the ‘grading’ concept often implies a differentiating quality, it is actually just a way of separating the beans into sizes that can be categorised – the processing and flavour quality of an AA is most often at the same level as an AB (which is graded using a screen that is 16/64 inch and up).

 

Kamuchuni

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Single Origin – September – Costa Rica Finca Tono

Country: Costa Rica
Region: Los Robles de Naranjo, West Valley
Farm/Co-operative: Finca Toño
Altitude: 1450m above sea level
Species: Arabica
Varietal: Villa Sarchi
Processing Method: Natural
Supplier: Cafe Imports

Tasting notes: Raspberry, chocolate, cherry, caramel and juicy with a sugary finish.

Café Imports is excited to be working with the Aguilera Bros in West Valley. The Aguileras are 12 brothers and sisters, all of whom are involved in coffee as inherited from their parents. The brothers work the mill and farms themselves with basically no hired labor, other than pickers during the harvest. With the help of the third generation, they work the mill and drying patios, prune the coffee fields, fertilize, etc, year-round. The Aguilera Bros understand quality at the farm and mill level, and this is why we are excited about working with them.

Most of their coffee is of the Villa Sarchi variety, native to the area and excellent in the cup. Villa Sarchi is a Bourbon mutation (similar to Caturra and Pacas) found originally in Naranjo, West Valley. It is a dwarf variety with short internodes and usually higher-yielding production. The cup can be floral, with great intense and elegant acidity, high fruit tones (like passion fruit), and pleasing sweetness.


Coffee has been cultivated in Costa Rica since 1779. Currently, the regions producing the best quality are Tarrazu, West Valley, and Central Valley. Coffee production has been threatened the past decade due to a real-estate boom converting coffee-lands into prime development properties. San Jose, the capital, is right in the heart of Central Valley, where you will find private houses next to coffee farms. The value of these farms have now skyrocketed.

Café Imports bought its first Costa Rica microlot container at the end of the 2006/2007 harvest; at that time, microlot offerings were basically nonexistent. In six years, the Costa Rican microlot market has grown, and now Costa Rica is one of the most popular origins, delivering very consistent quality year after year.

The Costas Café Imports is carrying are all sourced directly from micromills, and producers were paid at the farm-gate level. We managed local transportation, dry-milling, consolidation, and exportation of the coffees. This experience is extremely valuable, as it gives us a better understanding of what it takes to get coffee from cherry to export quality in GrainPro and jute with its corresponding marks.

Café Imports is excited to bring you, once again, high-quality and traceable microlots from Costa Rica.

— Piero Cristiani

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