ROAST | LIGHT
ORIGIN | GEDEB, YIRGACHEFFE, ETHIOPIA
NOTES | FLORAL, LEMON, PEACH, BLACK TEA
Yirgacheffe is well known for putting washed coffees on the map in Ethiopia. The classic floral and citric profile for which this region is known is highlighted and emphasized by the washing process, and we are one of many who can't get enough of them. However, this distinct and delightful flavor profile has long been at risk of being muddled by the seemingly random blending of lots of the same grade, rather than being accentuated by keeping microlots separate and celebrating each of them for the nuances in their cups.
Until recently, traceability in Ethiopia was a significant problem - it was very difficult and sometimes impossible to source coffees from a particular grower, washing station, or even region. Instead, coffees from these separate and distinct places often got lumped together as one lot, muddling the myriad of unique flavors and nuances afforded by the Ethiopian landscape. However, recent changes to export laws in Ethiopia have made that process easier, making it possible to source coffees in smaller lots from a particular region or washing station, or even an individual farmer.
The Mijane family, who has been overseeing washing stations in the Gedeb region of Ethiopia for decades, is particularly excited about these changes! They have made it one of their primary goals to export fully traceable coffee from each community in Gedeb separately, helping to preserve the uniquity of each lot. Mijane Worassa and his son, Daniel, manage the washing station at Halo Hartume where we picked up this incredible washed coffee. Here, the hand-picked cherries are de-pulped, fermented underwater for 24-48 hours, and then dried on African drying beds for 10-14 days.
We for one are so thankful for this newfound focus on traceability throughout Ethiopia, and everyone who tastes a cup of this delightful lot from Halo Hartume ought to raise a mug to the Mijane family and everyone else working to promote and support such efforts. In this cup, you're going to taste everything you know and love about that classic Yirgacheffe profile - soft florals, light fruit tones, citric and sweet. We tasted lemon, peach, and black tea, making it a coffee we intend to sip all summer - while sitting on a front porch swing, if we can find one.
Producers or Washing Station | Mijane Worassa
Process | washed
Variety | ethiopian landrace
Elevation | 1900 - 2210 masl
ROAST | LIGHT MEDIUM
ORIGIN | URAGA, GUJI, ETHIOPIA
NOTES | RED RASPBERRY, PLUM, APRICOT, JUICY
There's something really special about the Wate Gogogu washing station. Although coffee has been grown in the Uraga region of Ethiopia for some time, the coffee farms in Wate Gogogu are some of the youngest in all of Ethiopia, with most of their producing trees being a mere 5-10 years old. But here's where the really special part comes in - despite that youth, this lot from Gogogu reminds us of the natural Ethiopian coffees of old. Delightfully floral and wonderfully complex, this coffee really leans into that incredible fruited profile that we recognize from our very first encounters with a cup of natural Ethiopian coffee.
Kadir Jabril is the producer credited with understanding the quality potential of the Uraga region and building his washing station in Wate Gogogu a few years ago. From there, he and his brothers, Abdi and Feku, process coffees from his own farm and also source them from small producers in the surrounding Kabele community.
If the unique name of this washing station sounds familiar to you (try saying it ten times fast!), that's because we have offered lots from Wate Gogogu before this one, and we think it's safe to say that Kadir & company have officially made loyal and frequent customers out of us. In this delightfully nostalgic cup, we encountered lots of florality, loads of big, purple fruit vibes, and apricot. It's all wrapped up in a lovely complexity that just blew us away, and we can't wait to share it with you.
Producers or Washing Station | Kadir Jabril (and many small producers from the Kabele community)
Process | natural
Variety | heirloom landraces
Elevation | 2000 - 2280 masl
Cafe de Alta
ROAST | MEDIUM
ORIGIN | PALESTINA, HUILA, COLOMBIA
NOTES | RED CHERRY, BROWN SUGAR, MILK CHOCOLATE
There's something special about our green label coffees. They are delicious, unique, and yet above all else, approachable. These are the coffees you share with your friends, regardless of how "into" specialty coffee those friends might be. They bring us a sense of familiarity and comfort when we sip them. Friends, this Palestina blend from Colombia is no different. This lot comes from a group of twenty leading families in specialty coffee production in the Palestina area, the municipality after which the blend is named. Coffee coming from this region is some of the most desirable in all of Colombia, due in large part to its ideal climatic conditions along the Andes mountain range.
The coffee producers in Palestina prefer to process their coffees as washed coffee because they believe this results in a profile that expresses the characteristic terroir of the region, with lovely acidity, ctirus, yellow fruit, ample sweetness and accentuated cleanliness. Fermentation is a long and slow process here, where temperatures are lower (between 16 and 25 degrees Celsius). Drying typically takes place in the sun, either in casillas or parabolic dryers, a process which takes an average of 15 days.
Those of you who have been around here awhile know we love to highlight crazy, wild, intense flavor profiles - and we do! But this is not one of those coffees. This coffee is like your favorite pair of jeans - it's comfortable and familiar and steadfast. In the cup, we tasted notes of red cherry, brown sugar, and milk chocolate. It's delightfully sweet, reminding us those old fashioned chocolate-covered cherries. We think it's the perfect coffee to share when you sit down to catch up with an old friend - because that's exactly what it feels like to sip it.
Producers or Washing Station | 20 farmers of the "Association Group of Producers of Cafe de Alta Calidad of Sur del Huila"
Farm | Cafe de Alta
Process | Washed
Variety | Cattura, Colombia, Tabi
Elevation | 1600 - 1900 masl
Alfonso Urriola - Static Cherry
ROAST | LIGHT MEDIUM
ORIGIN | EL SALTO, BOQUETTE, PANAMA
NOTES | TART CHERRY, BLUE RAZ SLUSHEE, COCOA NIBS
Like so many of the stories that accompany our coffees, this one begins with family. Alfonso Urriola is 56 years old, and he has worked in coffee his whole life - he inherited the 10-hectare farm he now manages from his parents, and he and his son oversee its daily operations today.
Alfonso's partnership with Creativa Coffee District (CCD) is what led us to him and this funky, incredible microlot from his farm, Finca Caballero. CCD, which was inspired by the Neighbors & Crops coffee model of La Palma & El Tucan in Colombia, aims to create a community with specialty coffee growers in Panama who are committed to maintaining sustainable crops. By buying their coffee cherries and processing them at state-of-the-art facilities using innovative processing methods, CCD is helping to ensure and showcase the truly exceptional coffee profiles of Panamanian coffees, including this Caturra lot from Alfonso's farm.
(Side note: It's definitely worth mentioning that part of CCD's mission and vision includes art. They seek to facilitate collaboration in the coffee industry by "weaving coffee together with the worlds of art and coffee, creating a colorful tapestry of installations and cup profiles." We highly recommend taking a deeper dive into their unique vision and how it's playing out in Panama!)
After lots are sorted and tested for quality, they are assigned to one of four "fermentation designs." This lot from Alfonso's farm was processed using a method called Static Cherry, wherein the lot was placed into sealed valved plastic circular tanks and allowed to ferment for 79 hours (the valve allows oxygen to escape, creating an anaerobic environment). After fermentation, the cherries were placed on a huge patio to dry for up to 20 days. That patio can reach up to 56 degrees Celsius during harvest time (whew!), so the cherries are also shielded from the harshness of that heat and sun by two layers of shade mesh throughout their drying time.
According to the folks at Creativa, the Static Cherry process is where they "begin to explore newer horizons [in flavor profile] and leave the traditional behind." Well, this coffee certainly stands up to that proclamation - it's a wild one! In the cup, we perceived dark fruit notes like tart cherry, cocoa nibs, and something really unique - the whole tasting experience gave us serious blu raz slushee vibes. This cup exemplifies the ability of fermentation to highlight complexity and nuance in a given coffee, and we are so excited to share the (literal) fruits of that labor with you.
Producers or Washing Station | Alfonso Urriola
Farm | Finca Caballero
Process | 79hr Anaerobic
Variety | Caturra
Elevation | 1500 masl
Dumerso - Anaerobic Natural
ROAST | LIGHT MEDIUM
ORIGIN | YIRGACHEFFE, GEDEO, ETHIOPIA
NOTES | FLORAL, PEACH GUMMIES, LYCHEE, RED GRAPE
Led by sisters Hirut and Mahder Birhanu, Dumerso is a family endeavor that has proved itself resilient and steadfast in the face of several real challenges over the past twelve years. Back in 2017, Dumerso's flagship washing station was looted and destroyed (along with more than 40 others) in the wake of rising racial tensions. That same season, the Gedeo Zone in which Dumerso is located experienced record low nightly temperatures, causing frost to decimate the harvest that year.
In the wake of all of this, thirty washing stations were deemed irreparable for the washed coffee season, and four processors abandoned their coffee businesses altogether. But the Birhanu sisters forged on. Today, the Dumerso site employs 14 year-round workers and more than 400 during the harvest season - 95% of which are women! Over 650 farmers from nearby communities supply coffee cherries to Dumerso's washing station, legitimately anchoring them as the lifeblood of the Gedeo community. Throughout their rebuilding and restructuring, Dumerso has honed in on one thing in particular: perfecting their processing methods.
This lot from Dumerso was processed using anaerobic fermentation, or, more specifically, their very own Limited Oxygen Process. During this process, an additional fermentation step is added after the cherries are hand sorted: the hand-sorted cherries are bagged and tied off in fresh GrainPro bags and stored in a shaded area for a fermentation cycle. During the course of this carefully timed cycle, oxygen becomes limited within the environment of the GrainPro bags, and the resulting fermentation is of a pseudo-spontaneous nature, meaning that it is impacted by naturally occurring environmental yeasts. By using this method, Dumerso's goal is to intensify the clarity of these coffees and boost their intrinsic fruit notes and sweetness.
We have to say: we think they nailed it! This lot from Dumerso is delightfully floral and intensely fruity, with notes that reminded us of peach gummies, lychee, and red grape. It accomplishes these flavors without being distinctly "boozy" in its character, leaving you with a pleasantly sweet and refreshing cup that hits all the high notes of that classic Yirgacheffe profile.
Producers or Washing Station | Dumerso Washing Station
Farm | Various
Process | Anaerobic Natural
Variety | Various
Elevation | 1880-2200 masl
Gabriel Motta - Pink Bourbon
ROAST | LIGHT
ORIGIN | ACEVEDO, HUILA, COLOMBIA
NOTES | TANGERINE, ORANGE WINE, BLACK TEA
If Gabriel's name sounds familiar, that's because we offered one of his stunning Pink Bourbon lots last year! Apparently, our love affair with Pink Bourbon is continuing in 2022, and we are so excited to have another lot to share with you from Gabriel's farm La Esmeralda in Acevedo, Colombia.
Acevedo is located in Huila, where the majority of the Pink Bourbon variety is propagated in Colombia. It seems to love these dramatic growing conditions, and lots coming out of this region are some of the cleanest, crispest ones we've had the pleasure of tasting. This lot in particular is a washed coffee processed using anaerobic fermentation, which has served to further emphasize those lovely, classic Pink Bourbon characteristics.
At the cupping table, we experienced a coffee that is delightfully citrusy, like ripe tangerines, with a crisp acidity, reminiscent of a great bottle of orange wine. It has a very clean sweetness that reminds of a lightly sweetened black tea infused with lemon. The whole experience in the cup is crisp, light, and refreshing - all the things a great summer sipper should be.
Farm | La Esmeralda
Producer | Gabriel Castano Motta
Variety | Pink Bourbon
Process | Anaerobic Washed -120hrs
Elevation | 1700 masl
Gasharu Natural - 72hr Anaerobic
ROAST | LIGHT MEDIUM
ORIGIN | GASHARU REGION, RWANDA
NOTES | TANGERINE, GRAPE CANDY, BING CHERRY, TROPICAL
Chris Rusatira wears a lot of hats. For starters, he's a Rwandan currently living in Baltimore, MD. He was trained as a medical doctor in his homeland, but he also grew up in a family that has been involved in coffee farming for over 40 years. Currently, he's the co-founder of Umuko Coffee, a black-owned coffee import company seeking to facilitate direct relationships between farmers in Rwanda and roasters here in America.
And that's where our stories intersect! Umuko is one of our newest partners, and they literally showed up at one of our cafes in Raleigh one day to drop off green coffee samples from Gasharu region of Rwanda. When we roasted and cupped them, we were blown away! Amazingly vibrant and complex, this coffee gave us all the fruity, "big candy" vibes we look for in a natural coffee, and we cannot wait to share it with you.
Rwanda may not be the first country you think of when considering coffee-producing countries in Africa, but they are becoming an absolute powerhouse in fermentation. This lot, a product of 72-hour anaerobic fermentation, is an excellent example of these processing methods done beautifully. In the cup, we experienced notes of tangerine, grape candy, and bing cherry - reminiscent of our favorite tropical fruit-flavored candies!
There is (at least) one more hat that Chris Rusatira is wearing, and it is perhaps the most important one: in addition to working tirelessly to import and introduce coffees from his home country of Rwanda to the specialty coffee scene here in America, he is also committed to enriching the lives of those who are working those coffee farms back home. Establishing a daycare facility at each coffee station, using their facilities as a healthcare access point for those in the surrounding communities, and spearheading livestock initiatives to promote social and economic resilience throughout the Gasharu region, are all a part of Umuko's vision as a company. For these reasons and others, we are so proud to partner with them to bring you this beautiful coffee. If it's your first cup from Rwanda, cheers. You're in for something really special.
Process | anaerobic natural
Variety | various
Elevation | 1700 - 2100 masl
Lugmapata - Anaerobic Sidra
ROAST | LIGHT
ORIGIN | PALLATANGA, PARROQUIA, ECUADOR
NOTES | CANDIED JASMINE, GUAVA, PEACH, HONEYCOMB
Eight years ago, Roberto Vasconez (the owner of Lugmapata) planted some seedlings on his family's coffee farm in the Pallatanga Valley without really knowing what he was going to get. In 2019, he sent some leaves to France for analysis, and they reported that the coffee being produced by those trees was a Bourbon Sidra. Fast forward to today, and we are sipping one of the loveliest coffees we've had the pleasure of tasting all year.
Finca Lugmapata has belonged to the Merino family for over 100 years, and their meticulous approach to producing and processing specialty coffee is showcased beautifully in this anaerobic washed Sidra. These coffee cherries are picked at a "color sangre toro," the color of bull's blood, placed in water tanks and left to ferment for 24 hours. After this, pulping is done at precisely 7:00 am without water, and the beans are then placed in sealed containers with water for five days to continue fermenting - making this process a double fermentation! The drying process is just as layered and meticulous: the beans are first placed on beds for three days so that the water will naturally drain from them. Then, they enter a mechanical dryer - whose temperature is regulated between 86-95 degrees fahrenheit - for four days. Finally, the beans are placed on African drying beds to cool for 24 hours before being placed in Grain Pro bags to avoid contamination and control humidity. Whew!
The acute attention given to this coffee throughout each of those steps has resulted in a cup that is not to be missed. When one of our owners, Kyle, first encountered it on the cupping table, he declared it the most delicious Sidra he has ever tasted - and we are inclined to agree! Tasting notes of candied jasmine, guava, peach, and honeycomb result in a coffee that is both incredibly complex and intensely sweet. After encountering this coffee, we can do little more than applaud Roberto for his leap of faith when he planted those mystery seedlings eight years ago.
Farm | Finca Lugmapata
Producers | Familia Merino
Variety | Bourbon Sidra
Process | Washed
Elevation | 1600 - 1800 masl
La Muralla Gesha
ROAST | LIGHT
ORIGIN | SAN AGUSTIN, HUILA, COLOMBIA
NOTES | JASMINE TEA, MEYER LEMON, RED PLUM, SIMPLE SYRUP
Over the last three years or so, Colombia has seen an explosion of new and unique varieties being grown on its coffee farms, particularly in the southern portion of Huila. It is here, in San Agustín, that Damian Bolaños and his group of nearly thirty producers sourced this incredible Gesha lot.
What actually started out as a logistical problem eventually became a huge opportunity. You see, producers typically only have a handful of trees of these unique varieties (in our case, Gesha - though Pink Bourbon and others are seeing an uptick as well!), and our partners at Osito couldn't logistically justify exporting so many of these single or partial bag microlots. As a solution, they decided to blend several of these tiny Gesha lots of similar quality, creating what's known as a "community lot" and showcasing multiple producers from the area. In doing so, Ocito hopes that (1) producers will be able to receive the prices they are hoping to fetch for these "special" coffees on a regular and ongoing basis, and (2) these coffees can then be priced in a way that is accessible to roasters and to YOU, the coffee drinker.
In this cup, you're going to find that lovely, prototypical Gesha flavor profile of florals and stone fruit. We experienced those notes as jasmine tea and red plum. It's also bright and delicately sweet, which reminds us of meyer lemons. Come to think of it, this coffee reminds of Spring in all of those ways, and we hope you'll enjoy it with us as everything comes into bloom.
- crazy floral
- delicately sweet like simple syrup
Producers | multiple
Process | Washed
Variety | Gesha
Elevation | 1700 - 1900 masl
Luz Helena Salazar - CM Natural
ROAST | LIGHT MEDIUM
ORIGIN | ARMENIA, QUINDIO, COLOMBIA
NOTES | TART CHERRY, NEW WORLD WINE, CRAFT CHOCOLATE
As is the case with so many of these stories, this coffee came to us because of a family. It starts with Helena Salazar, a third generation coffee farmer and the producer of this beautiful Colombian Castillo. Her sons, Felipe and Carlos, run an organization called Cofinet, which specializes in alternative fermentation processes in Colombia, and also in exporting these unique coffees to the rest of the world. It is from these family ties that we were given the opportunity to taste this lot from Helena's farm, processed via carbonic maceration.
Felipe oversees the fermentation processes, and he took this coffee on quite the journey. This lot was exposed to aerobic fermentation for 24 hours before being placed inside GrainPro bags for 50 hours. Here, temperature is maintained below 22 degrees celsius, and CO2 is added. Next, the coffee went to raised beds until the ideal moisture content was achieved.
On the cupping table, we tasted tart cherry and craft chocolate, and we perceived a fruity characteristic reminiscent of new world wine. This delicious profile is certainly unique among Colombian coffees, and showcasing that uniqueness is one of the stated goals of Helena's and her sons' endeavors. Moreover, when asked what made her coffees so special, Helena brought it right back to family:
“Not only is my coffee grown with the passion and dedication of every specialty producer, but also with the love of a mother. Every step I take to improve my farm, I think that the better my coffee is, the more I help my sons.”
- Luz Helena Salazar
Producers | Luz Helena Salazar
Process | Carbonic Maceration Natural
Variety | Castillo
Elevation | 1400 - 1450 masl
El Vergel - Guava Banana
ROAST | LIGHT MEDIUM
ORIGIN | TOLIMA, COLOMBIA
NOTES | PEACH JAM, RED SANGRIA, MILK CHOCOLATE
We are bringing back another red label coffee from the lovely producers at El Vergel! If you are a fan of our red label coffees, this one will be right up your alley. And, if you are looking to try an anaerobic coffee for the first time, this coffee serves as an excellent introduction.
Marta and her two sons, Elias and Shady, seek to create and share technologies that will help improve the quality of life for the families working at El Vergel. Growing and processing exceptional and experimental coffees is an integral part of that vision. This release from the El Vergel team is the Caturra variety lot, grown closest to the mill where the majority of the processing happens.
This Anaerobic Natural Caturra from El Vergel fits our red label so perfectly. This coffee has huge fruit characteristics and intense sweetness - think of homemade peach jam on your morning toast. These fruity, sweet flavors have a great deal of depth to them, which made us think of our favorite red sangria recipe. It all comes together with a smoothness reminiscent of taking a big bite of craft milk chocolate.
Farm | "El Vergel" from the Nuestra Familia
Variety | Caturra
Process | Anaerobic Natural
Elevation | 1350 masl