Costa Rica - Fica Licho - Villa Sarchi - Yellow Honey
In the cup: A complex taste profile comprising nutty and chocolate notes with elements of soft sweet fruit. Tangy aftertaste of lime.
Cupping Score: 89
Mouthfeel: Juicy, medium body
Variety: Villa Sarchi (70%), Caturra (30%)
Process: Yellow Honey
Region: Western Valley
Producer: Aguilera Family, Finca Licho
Altitude: 1500 metres above sea level
Grown by the Aguilera brothers in the province of Naranjo, in the volcanic Northern Cordiles corridor of the Western Valley, this coffee is cultivated at an altitude of 1,500 metres above sea level. 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.
This coffee is honey processed, which is like the pulped natural method, so the fruit is removed from the seed of the coffee bush and left to dry. The main difference is that there is no water involved when the cherry is removed, so mucilage sticks to the bean. This can be dangerous, but it's necessary in these parts of Costa Rica where water is limited: in this area of Naranjo water is a precious commodity, so this method suits the location very well.
The coffee ends up clustering whilst drying because there is so much mucilage. So the coffee either needs to be turned regularly to stop this happening, or it has to be broken up. Over-fermentation can happen at this stage and you can end up with a not-so-good cup, but the Aguilera brothers are well-versed in this method and are some of the most skilled in Costa Rica.
El Salvador: 'La Cumbre Los Pirineos' Shade #13,
In the cup: Flavours of pear, chocolate, some florals. Soft, green grape. Honey like sweetness.
Cupping Score: 86
Mouthfeel: Pleasant medium mouthfeel.
Process: Orange Honey, Shade Dried
Farm: Finca - Los Pirineos
Microlot: La Cumbre, Shade #13
Producer: Gilberto Baraona
Altitude: 1350 - 1550 metres above sea leve
Los Pirineos is a unique farm, situated on the Tepeca volcano in Usulatan, and Gilberto Baraona is a unique producer. He has been working with different cultivars and honey processes. His strategy has been to experiment with different cultivars, and assess which cultivar will work best on the different parts of the farm where the altitude ranges across the farm.
The climate and growing conditions in this area are great despite the medium altitudes. The cold nights makes the maturation slow and the flavor development really nice. Gilberto is a producer we also have worked with for years, and he’s always interested in playing around with different preparations and processes.
This lot is made up of the Pacamara cultivar, and is a honey processed coffees. This coffee has great chunky fruit!
Origin: Los Pirineos
In Usulutan, on top of the Tepeca volcano, you can find Los Pirineos owned by the producer Gilberto Baraona. It’s located on a volcanic mountain range surrounded by the cities of Berlin, Santiago de Maria and Joy. The cultivation of coffee at the farm was started in 1890 and according to family accounts, the original seeds of the property, and the mother plants were imported from Antigua Guatemala. The coffee is separated in to small to medium sized batches based up on different parts of the farm and coffee varietals. Currently the farm cultivates the varietals Bourbon Elite, Pacas and Pacamara, but the farm has also taken part in a Procafe project growing different varitals. As a result they have plots of of native coffee trees, natural mutants and hybrids originated from all over the world. Los Pirineos farm was one of the pioneers in El Salvador to build its own Micro Coffee Mill. The producer still experiments with processing and drying methods. For the coffees purchased this year we did a trial on soaking after the coffees were pulped and demucilaged, and with great success flavor wise.
Usulután, from the Nawat language (meaning "city of the ocelots"), is a department of El Salvador in the southeast of the country (Lenca region).
Production process: Well-trained pickers are given good incentives to select ripe cherries only. The coffee is brought to the Los Pirineos micro mill in the afternoon to be handsorted of unripes and over ripes.
Honey process: They use new Jotagallo eco pulpers with mechanical demucilager to remove the skin, pulp and about 70% of the mucilage. The parchment is soaked over night in clean water before it’s washed.
Drying: Sun dried under shade on raised beds for 3-4 weeks..
Soil: Sandy loam, Volcanic soils
Notes: The farm is in an area with a great cool climate for slow maturation, good rainfall and fertile volcanic soils.
Ethiopia: Magarrisa Lot #3, Heirlom - Washed - Guji Region
In the cup: Complex, and fruit driven acidity and sweetness. Sweet lemon and nectarine flavours, fruity, but without being sour or overly acidic. Underneath, a mix of floral fragrances - jasmine, honeysuckle and bergamot.
Cupping Score: 88
Mouthfeel: Light to medium
Process: Fully Washed
Washing Station: Egubaya Station, Israel Degfa
Microlot: Magarrisa Lot #3
Farmers: The coffee itself is grown by a number of small farmers in the area surrounding the washing station. The bring the coffee they have harvested in tiny amounts to the washing station on a daily basis, where it is checked for quality and then graded and processed. The farmers are free to sell their harvest wherever they choose, but they choose to work with Israel as his commitment to quality means they fetch the best prices by selling to him.
Altitude: 2200 metres above sea leve
Origin: Egu Abaye washing station
Egu Abaye smallholders
Privately owned communal wetmill in Egu Abaye area of Guji – by Israel Degfa. He owns 26 washing stations and a farm, across the South and South West of Ethiopia.
Many of Israel's washing stations are great just because of the location and altitude etc, but he is also investing in better systems and protocols in many of them. We are also buying improved naturals, honey coffees, and shade dried coffees from these washing stations.
Every day of production they are differentiating what goes in to the improved and better qualities (grade 1) from what’s a normal preparation for grade 2 and grade 3s. He has invested in flotations systems for cherries and systematically separate some of the coffees for better performance on site. These coffees are taken better care of by an assigned quality team. They generally do lot separation based on 150 bags of parchment, equal to 100 bags of greens. But they often do smaller lot sizes as well when they do honey, shade or other improved preparations.
Producer philosophy and relationship
Even if Israel is a producer of big volumes he started in 2014 to work on the quality of processing across his washing stations as priority. It was this shift in focus that caused Israel to look for different ways to produce and market his coffees, ways that would facilitate and value his new emphasis on quality. It was from this point that we began to work with Israel, visiting his washing stations and learning about his business, we also began to know him through this process. Through this relationship we have been able to cup through coffees processed by Israel’s washing stations with him in our lab in Addis, and with the team back here in Oslo and share what we value in the cup and the kind of profiles we are looking for. He has also given us a lot of scope to access his coffees and take sample material for assessment, as well as permitting our specific instructions on both processing at the washingstations and the milling prep for the lots we purchased from him.
Traceability, milling and quality control
Israel Degfa is a young business man in Ethiopia with a sure and steady focus. In previous years the production at these washing stations has been focused on volume. This was also related to the previous lack of traceability when the producers were forced to sell their coffees through the commodity exchange. But over the last years Israel has shifted his focus, waiting for a political shift allowing producers sell directly to importers like Nordic. And finally in 2017 it all got liberalized.
From this year on he completely manages the supply chain and trace ability. The coffees are separated according to the days and areas of harvest as well as by preparation. The premium coffees for direct sales sits in the warehouses at the washing stations until he decide to move it to Addis. The coffee truck have to pass through a local ECX facility where they draw a sample and the quality is verified in the ECX lab and the coffee get an official grade, like Q 1 (grade 1). When approved the truck can move on to Addis.
Israel have invested in a great and modern warehouse and dry mill in Addis. They have separate areas for washed and naturals as well as for speciality and for the normal commodity. He have invested in very high tech color sorters as well as a quality lab. As soon as the coffee gets to Addis, or if we need samples to take buying decisions we communicate closely and directely with the quality team, and can draw samples our selves in the warehouse. The samples will be brought to our own lab in Addis for cupping and quality measures.
As soon as a sample or contract is approved Israel allow us to be in the warehouse while coffees are dry milled, graded and bagged, and we can immediately draw another pre shipment sample for approval.
At the washing stations
Some hundreds smallholder farmers delivering tiny amounts of cherries daily to the communal washing station.
On average farmers are having a farm size of less than 1 hectares. Most coffees are organic by default. Organic compost is common, pruning less common. A farmer can typically have less than 1500 trees pr hectar, and 1 tree is typically producing cherries equal to less than 100 - 200 grams of green coffee.
A mix of local improved variety’s like Certo and local Wolisho . Such as native coffee of forest origin transferred to family smallholder plots. The varieties are referred to collectively as Ethiopian Heirloom, which is a myriad of local native Typica hybrids and new improved varietals based on the old strains.
Production process naturals:
Producing great natural coffees is challenging and it requires at least as much attention to details as producing good washed coffees. Israel have programs with the farmers and producer groups to increase cherry quality for the naturals, as well as he have invested in flotation systems for separation before it goes in to production.
Naturals is all about the cherry quality, sorting and grading and the drying procedure in combination with the day to day climate.
For he’s premium naturals Israel is targeting the highest quality grades there is. The cherries are hand sorted for un-ripe and over ripe cherries to get a sweeter and cleaner product. Even if it is not always the case the Natural coffee is often processed at the later part of the harvest and that’s when the harvest is peaking at the higher altitudes.
The coffees are dried on raised african drying beds. Drying takes 12-20 days depending on the weather. They have a trained quality team at the site specialized in handling the naturals. The first phase of drying is crucial and are done in relatively thin layers on the tables to avoid fermented flavors and if it goes as planned it should reach what’s called the “raisin” stage at about 25% humidity in a few days. It’s important to move the cherries carefully to avoid damage on the fruit. At this stage the coffees are constantly sorted for lower quality cherries.
In the second phase, from 25% - 10% moist, the layers are built up, and it’s constantly moved during daytime, and needs some rest mid day and at night. An uncontrolled drying sequence can increase the very fruity and fermenty flavors and make it unstable, and if to slow it can create mold and other off flavors. It’s a costly process that requires good labor and attention if you want it at the highest quality levels. Coffees are covered in shade nets during midday and in plastic cover at night.
Production process (washed):
Pulper: Traditional Agarde disc pulper
Fermentation: 24-72 hours wet.
Washed and graded in channels: Yes
Soaking: about 6 Hours in clean water.
Drying time: 9-12 days
Whole ripe cherries are hand sorted for unripes and overripes by the farmers before they go into production. They are pulped by a disk pulper and graded in to 1st and 2nd quality in the pulpers density channels. The parchment is then fermented under water for about 48 hours, depending on the weather conditions. After which graded in the washing channels by water flow that again separates the coffee by density. Its then soaked 6 - 24 hrs in fresh, clean water before it’s moved to the drying tables
The parchments is dried in the sun for about 12 - 15 days, depending on the weather conditions, on raised African drying beds. For the premium grades they will continuously sort the parchment at the drying tables. Coffees are covered in shade nets during midday and at night.
Kenya - Karogoto - SL28 & SL34 - Fully Washed
In the cup: A gorgeous balance of sweetness and fruit driven acidity. Lots of clarity in the cup with floral notes and the blackcurrant that is typical of the SL28 variety from Kenya. Notes of pink grapefruit, pineapple and other tropical fruits.
Cupping Score: 90
Mouthfeel: Silken, tea-like
Variety: Mainly SL28 and SL34
Process: Fully Washed
Washing Station: Karogoto
Producer: Tekangu Coffee Farmers Cooperative Society
Altitude: 1700+ metres above sea level
Nearest town: Karatina
Owners: Tekangu Coffee Farmers Cooperative Society
Contributing farmers: 1,700+
Altitude: 1,700 m.a.s.l.
Varietal: SL28 & SL34
Processing method: Washed
Average rainfall: 1,500 mm
Temperature range: 12–27°C
Soil type: Well-drained red volcanic soil rich in phosphorus
Quite close to Kieni near the town of Karatina, Nyeri, is the Karogoto wet mill. It's owned by the Tekangu Coffee Farmers Cooperative Society, which got its name from combining the names of their three mills: Tegu, Karogoto and Ngunguru. Much like Kieni, it has seen success in recent years and has secured high prices for farmers delivering their coffee cherries there.
The mill is split in half by a road, with the sorting shed and fermentation tanks on the lower side and the drying beds on the upper slope of the hill. Both sides are pretty steep, with a great view of the valley and weaver birds making their homes in the trees around the mill.
Ethiopia - Warqee Microlot #6 - Fully Washed
Belöna dina sinnen med ett utsökt single-origin kaffe från en microlot i Guji i Etiopien.
Dessa bönor är ljusrostade för att bevara en härligt komplex palett av smaker som torkad apelsin, citrusfrukter och rooibos te och för att ge kaffet en mjuk, silkeslen känsla.
Liksom många av de bästa etiopiska kaffebönorna har denna tvättade heirloomsort en rad spännande blommiga toner, som apelsinblomma och ros.
Tvättstation: Gigessa, Etiopien (ägs av Faysel Abdash)
Altitud: 1,900 meter över havet
DR Congo: Kawa Kibuya Cooperative - Heirloom - Washed
In the cup: Stone fruit, tart berries and some black pepper. You can taste the rich minerals of the volcanic soils in the cup, plenty of tangy red fruits, like lingonberry and cranberry.
Process: Fully Washed
Altitude: 1650 metres above sea level
Cooperative: The Kawa Kabuya Coffee Cooperative is a result of a cooperation between local farmers and international NGOs, whose main goal is to improve the livelihood of farmers.
Members of the cooperative have seen their initial investment repaid within the first year of operations and saw their returns doubled within 2 years. Members now send all their children to primary school and many to secondary, and even to university.
Working together in the safety of a cooperative helps farmers overcome some of the major challenges of operating in a violent environment.
In January 2018 the cooperative won the 'Taste of Harvest' competition for arabica coffees in the DRC
Burundi: Shembati Microlot #11 - Fully Washed
In the cup: Super complex sweetness! Smooth and super balanced. Slim and transparent, like a bucket of fresh tart berries. Tasting notes of bright citrus and orange.
Mouthfeel: Pleasant medium mouthfeel.
Cupping Score: 88
Variety: Red Bourbon
Process: Fully Washed
Washing Station: Shembati,
Microlot: La Cumbre, Shade #13
Producer: Salum Ramadhan
Altitude: 1800 metres above sea leve
Shembati Washing Station is one of two washing stations built in 2016 by the producer Salum Ramadhan. Its located in the province of Kayanza in the hills of Butaganzwa commune. The site manager is a young guy called Ame Patrick. Its a medium sized washing station and they receive about 700 tons of cherry pr season.
He is systematically separating the coffees based on where they are grown, and by the date of processing. Post harvest we are cupping through some hundred samples to select the ones we find outstanding. They generally collect cherries from within a community, however the landscape in Burundi means the communities are situated in between hills and this can often create microclimates specific to each area.
He’s also investing in social and environmental projects such as education in the local areas, ponds for wastewater etc.
Picking and selection
The main harvest will normally start very slowly in March, peak around May (depending on altitude and weather) and end in July. The family members on the small farms are working the land, picking the coffee cherries themselves in the afternoon or on Saturdays. They will then either deliver the cherries to Shembati washing station by foot or bicycle, Salum can still pick up cherry with his truck but only when the farmer is within the newly regulated radius from the washing station.The farmers are free to deliver their cherries to anyone offering the highest price. And the competition in this area can be hard. Salum and his team will communicate with the local farmers on selective picking and sorting. To attract farmers with the best qualities they are constantly paying premiums above the market prices to improve the product.
Bringing in cherries from the different collection points is expensive as the cost of transport in Burundi is high. Still, it has been good for quality as he have well trained staff, good capacity and infrastructure to produce micro lots.
Shembati washing station has strict routines for cherry reception. The coffees are sorted by the farmers at the receiving stations on raised tables, or they even have small flotation tank system for each farmer at delivery. They also have workers dedicated to sort out un ripe and over ripe coffees for their special preparation of micro lots. The pre processing flotation process is to first put the cherries in water tanks. They will then skim off the floaters and give it back to the farmer before the coffees are hand sorted to separate out unripe/half-ripe.
Seasonal Tasting Box Roasted For Filter Brewing
A seasonal array of coffees - organically-grown, fairly-traded coffees, lovingly selected by Muttley & Jack. Hand-roasted and shipped in handsome packaging within 24 hours of roasting, our speciality coffee tasting box is the perfect way to try many different coffees from across the world.
Roasted for filter brewing.
6 x 100g or 3 x 100g bags freshly roasted speciality coffee. Whole beans or pre-ground.