Rounding out the year with this bumper edition, here's some of the coffees we're saying goodbye to 2023 with.
Last year’s coffee from La Muralla was one of our favourites. From a collective of young producers in Huila, the group are all in their mid to late 20s, subverting ideas and images of what we might have when we think of the traditional coffee farmer.
That’s not to say there’s not importance in age and wisdom, of course there is - but there’s also positives to youth. Think a little zing, a little pep, the ability to think outside of the box, to push forward and make change. La Muralla work with Osito, an importer we also work with regularly, who claim that the average cup score to these coffees is so high that finding anything at 84 is a challenge. I guess that youthful glow doesn’t just pertain to the producers themselves.
This coffee is made up of mixed varietals, crisp and clean with red grape acidity and caramel sweetness sweetness grown at 1700 - 1900 masl.
We’ve been lucky this year to have multiple Guatemalan microlots from women farmers and producers, this coffee from Micaela Jacinto follows on from the high quality of our last two lots and her passion for learning the landscape and craft of coffee-based agriculture shines through.
Her farm Cacha’pina’ sits at 1700 masl, and its name translates to Guachipilin - a native tree common to Huehuetenango where the farm is based that plays a big role in indigenous healing. Originally operating her farm with her husband until he had to move to the US for work, Micaela now works alone on the farm and then handles all the processing. It’s long, hard work, especially for one woman, but that doesn’t impact the amount of care that goes into her farming and subsequent cherries.
A creamy, melon-y, sweet-y, and syrup-y cup; this washed Caturra/Bourbon coffee is one of those ones that doesn’t just taste good but also feels good to drink. Those are the best ones.
All of our coffees are nice. Obviously. We expect them to be nice and we’re not surprised when they are. However some impress us a little more than we were expecting, this washed Red Bourbon from Rwanda was one of them.
The Nyamasheke Hills washing station collects the cherries of 600 farmers whose farms sit from 1750 masl to 1900 masl; and the output is a selection of high quality coffees. Station manager, Louis Ndereyimana, was himself a farmer before opening the washing station, which helps to maintain the quality with this experience as both farmer and processor.
As an espresso there’s more creaminess, almond, but still juicy; which carries over into the filter experience too - lots of bright juiciness and red currant, alongside a little bit of green tea on the tongue.
People always ask me, “hey, when is the 120 hour maceration El Salvadoran Natural coming back?” and I always tell them that patience is a virtue. I tell them that when Buddha sat under the tree he was not pining for the El Salvadoran 120 hour natural process to come back. I’m sure he thought about it though. How could you not? A boozy, rich nectar laden with funk; and this year it's even a touch tropical...
The waiting time is over. It’s time to get up from under the tree and walk into the bright anaerobic light. A coffee made up of the Bourbon variety and grown at 1650masl, it’s a familiar favourite. We work a lot with the Finca El Salvador farm because they consistently produce great coffees with interesting processing methods and high quality standards; this year’s 120N is no different.
It’s good to think outside the box. In the coffee world we’re so used to the flavour wheel, defining the fruits, the sugar, what sweetness can we compare this to; but sometimes it’s good just to feel it out. Transport yourself away from the regular confines and into an arena of MOMENTS and VIBES. For us, the Kenya Kariaini AA #011 takes us to our fancy Grandma’s conservatory, eating jam sandwiches in the sunshine and drinking some blueberry infused loose leaf tea from bone china with pink flowers painted on the cups and saucers.
Sometimes the technical stuff is good to know though, and I can tell you all about that, a mix of the SL28, SL34, Ruiru and Batian varieties, this coffee was grown at 1600 masl and processed at the Kariaini mill. Produced by the Mwirua Farmer Cooperative Society, which is made up of 1304 farmers based in the Kirinyaga Country region.
Some feels, some info, some good coffee. Cheers.