04 April 2014
We are approaching the end of our last few Ethiopian coffees from last year before the new crop harvest arrives in a few months time. Here comes a familiar name which some of you might still remember - Kecho Tirtira. It is a relatively new cooperative in the Limu area with about 350 smallholders which only started to produce coffees since 2011. We introduced this coffee last year with a roast profile aimed for filter brews. It was a crowd pleaser for its lovely fruity aroma, juiciness and sweetness. This year, we bought back this coffee again as it cupped even better than last year, all thanks to our friends from Nordic Approach, who are the guys on the ground sourcing our African coffees. We feel Kecho Tirtira is a rather versatile coffee and works great as a filter brew but also as an espresso. Hence this year, we decided to feature this coffee as a single origin espresso instead.
As an espresso, we taste red fruits (think very ripe red grapes and red currents) with caramel sweetness in the finish. The fruity tones are juicy but not overwhelming. Hints of floral flavours can be found in the mid tones but what we really love about the espresso is the syrupy mouthfeel. The viscosity and sweetness makes it so yummy that one can’t help but ask for a 2nd cup.
- Cooperative: Kecho Tirtira Cooperative
- Producers: About 350 smallholders
- Local municipality: Limu - Kossa
- Origin: Jimma, Ethiopia
- Altitude: 1850 - 2050m asl
- Varietals: Ethiopian Heirloom
- Processing: Pulped and mechanically demucilaged, soaked in clean water for 10 hours. Followed by skin dry and hand sorted for 4-6 hours after soak and finally sun-dried on african drying beds for 10 days.
14 March 2014
As Konga (Natural) is coming to an end, here comes another new Ethiopian coffee to spice up our offerings of African coffees. Next up is a coffee from a new cooperative, Biftu Gudina. This cooperative was established in 2012, and is located in the Agaro - Goma woreda (district) within the Jimma zone. There are about 130 smallholders who are members of Biftu Gudina. This cooperative is located in an area that is starting to be known for producing spicy coffee with intense flavours and unique attributes. Biftu Gudina was created with the help of Technoserve, a NGO that supports farmers in setting up washing stations and new cooperative structures. The cooperative is led by strong management and was able to produce quality coffee since year one of operation. They have waste water treatment based on Vetiver grass naturally filtrating the water before it goes into the pits and finally the ground.
One interesting feature of this coffee is its varietal. This coffee is mainly an improved native varietal called 1274, but also a mix of Ethiopian Heirloom. Ethiopia, being an “origin of all origins”, has hundreds of heirloom varietals. This is the first time for us, tasting this Ethiopian varietal 1274. There is the lovely floral fragrance and fruitiness typical of Ethiopian coffees, but it also exhibits hints of spices in the finish, like fresh white pepper, which we thought was quite unique.
We enjoy this coffee as a filtered brew, but we have also tasted its sweetness when pulled as an espresso. Either way, this is just delicious.
- Cooperative: Biftu Gudina
- Producers: About 130 smallholders
- Municipality: Agaro - Goma Woreda
- Region: Jimma, Ethiopia
- Varietal: Improved native varietal called 1274 and Ethiopian Heirloom
- Altitude: 1975m asl
- Processing: De-pulped using Penagos eco-pulper, soaked in clean water for 8 hours. Sorted for about 6 hours after soaking and dried on African raised beds for 10 days. Coffees are covered in plastic or shade nets during midday and at night.
Photo credit: Dominik Mucklow
03 March 2014
Something new from the Southern continent has arrived. We are really excited to roll out this new single origin from Colombia, a beautiful country which we visited last July. We were amazed by the landscape and this country is truly blessed with widespread agricultural land. As we only had limited time to explore this country, we spent most of our time in the Huila region. During this trip, we were introduced to an exporter, Jairo of Banexport, who specialises in specialty coffee. It was through this relationship that we manage to bring in 2 coffees from Colombia this year. We first tried the sample of El Palmito back in Oct last year. We were really impressed by its sweetness and clean cup. We knew immediately that we wanted this coffee, especially when we found out that the farm is only a tiny 8 hectares in size! This farm has both the caturra varietal and the Colombian varietal. This microlot which we bought is 100% caturra and was processed separately from the Colombian varietal.
- Farm: El Palmito
- Producer: Alipio Zuñiga
- Municipality: Acevedo
- Region: Huila, Colombia
- Varietal: Caturra
- Altitude: 1600m asl
- Processing: Fermentation in concrete tanks for 20 hours. Parabolic sun dried for 8 days
This coffee works beautifully as a brew. Stonefruits and sugarcane sweetness dominate this cup. We taste apricots, peaches and Red Delicious apples. This is a crisp and clean cup. The sweet lingering finish has hints of chocolate which we think will make this coffee a crowd pleaser.
This is our first direct import from Colombia and we look forward to revisit this country again to source for coffees from other regions.
26 February 2014
The past week has been an incredibly exhausting week, trying to get over our jetlag from the trip to Central America, and yet excited with the rollout of a couple of new coffees. Next up, a refresh of our Four Chairs Espresso version 2. Continuing our belief in creating an espresso that is sweet, balanced, clean, satisfying and memorable, we chose to work with two fresh crops that arrived last month.
We visited Colombia for the first time last July and fell in love with this country almost immediately. Having to spend the night at the Bogota airport after missing the connecting flight in from Houston did not dampen our spirits as we headed straight into the mountains on touch down in the city of Cali. Visiting the regions of Cauca and Huila, we came to understand why this country is so blessed with great coffees. Each region has its own terroir and climate, and even though the country has been hit hard by the coffee rust in the last couple of years, the signs of recovery is definitely on the horizon. Most important of all, the coffees are really tasting delicious. Out of the many coffees that were cupped with Jairo of Banexport , we picked up two, and one of them is a lot called Monte Bonito made of 3 very small farms in the area of Pitalito. This coffee is 100% caturra and is wet processed through a 22 hour fermentation period before drying out in a parabolic shade that is very common in Colombia.
The second coffee that we have in the blend is from Fazenda Ambiental Fortaleza. A farm that is probably familiar to many as we have been working with them ever since we started in 2012. Marcos and Felipe Croce have not disappointed, this harvest is tasting really good and probably better than last.
Together, the two coffees work quite wonderfully. Come by to taste some if you have not or grab a bag here.
21 February 2014
Back from our origin trip to Central America, we have plenty of new stuff coming along in the early part of the Horse year. First up is a new single origin espresso from Ethiopia, Konga Cooperative.
For those who find this name familiar, we had a coffee which we rolled out back in end November last year from the same cooperative. That coffee was a “washed-processed” coffee. This new single origin espresso is a “natural-processed” coffee. We bought a small quantity to showcase how drastically different the taste can be for the same coffee with different processing methods.
For Konga “washed”, the coffee cherries were harvested, depulped and wet fermented for 24-36 hours. It was then graded in washing channels, soaked in clean water for 12-24 hours and finally sun-dried for 10-15 days on African drying beds. For Konga “natural”, the coffee cherries are picked from the tree and dried directly in the sun on African drying beds, without peeling the skin, or any water-based sorting or fermenting. This method is also commonly called “dry process”. Natural/dry process can be risky as any small oversight in the supervision of the drying might lead to defective flavours. But when done well, this method can bring out another dimension to the inherent flavours of the coffee. This is the first “natural” coffee that we have purchased and we think it’s really quite good.
The Konga Natural presents a complex and juicy espresso with a fruit-forward appeal. First sip, you might get blueberries, strawberries with some undertones of jackfruit. The mouthfeel is lushly velvety and finishes off with hints of dark cocoa. If you’re up for an “off-the-beaten-track” espresso, this might be one…
- Cooperative: Konga Cooperative
- Origin: Gedeo, Yirgacheffe, Ethiopia
- Producers: About 2400 smallholders
- Varietal: Ethiopian Heirloom
- Altitude: 1900 - 2300m asl
- Processing: Sun-dried on African drying beds.