Ethiopia - abiyot boru
Bourbon, Typica, Heirloom Varieties
Unusual and complex, with a soft and creamy mouthfeel. Notes of ripe raspberry jam, black tea and nougat.
Abiyot Boru (pronounced “Ab-yet bu-ru”) originates from the Shakiso District in the Guji zone of Ethiopia’s Southern Oromia State.
Processed at the privately owned Abiyot Boru washing station, named after its owner Abiyot Boru, coffee cherries are produced and delivered daily to the station by around 700 small producers. These producers farm organically on small plots of land (averaging 2 hectares) at 1,650-1,800 metres above sea level
THE GUJI REGION
Coffees from Guji were previously classified as ‘Sidamo’ (a very wide geographical classification encompassing much of central-south Ethiopia), however more recently they have been separated from this classification and recognised for their unique and distinctive cup profile. Coffees that are classified as ‘Gujis’ originate from the ‘Woreda’ (administrative regions) of Adoola Redi, Uraga, Kercha, Bule Hora and Shakiso (where this lot is from).
Guji is named after the Oromo people, a tribe with a long, proud history in coffee production. Most communities in the region still live rurally and make a living from farming. Families usually live in modest homes (often a single round mud hut) and farm plots of land to grow both cash crops and food for their own consumption. Coffee remains the main cash crop for most families in the Guji region, who typically half a hectare to 1.5 hectares of coffee planted alongside food for consumption and other cash crops such as the Ethiopian banana.
This coffee is a blend of local varieties collectively known as ‘Ethiopian Heirloom’. All of these varieties are Arabica and most originate from a Typica predecessor, but with wild mutations that result in some exceptional and unique flavour profiles.
This lot is classified as Grade 1, indicating that only superior quality coffee cherries from the Abiyot Boru Mill have been selected and processed.
Ethiopia has one main annual coffee harvest across all growing regions, occurring from November to January. To ensure only the very ripest cherries are selected, at least four passes are made during harvesting.
After the coffee cherries have been carefully handpicked, they are delivered on the same day to the Abiyot Boru Washing Station, where they are processed using the washed method.
The coffee cherries are then hand-sorted to remove any damaged or unripe fruit prior to the removal of the skin of the cherries by a disc pulper.
The resulting coffee is then graded by weight; heavier beans are more superior in quality and deliver a sweeter cup. After grading, the parchment-covered coffee is then soaked in tanks of clean water for 36-48 hours to remove the mucilage (sticky covering) by allowing it to ferment and detach from the coffee. The coffee is then re-washed and graded again by density in washing channels and then dried for 12– 15 days on African drying beds, first under cover, and subsequently under the sun. The coffee is covered at midday to protect from full sun and overnight to prevent damage from morning dew. To ensure consistent drying results, during this stage the coffee is carefully hand-sorted and turned regularly, a task usually undertaken by women.
Costa rica - Las lajas
Sabanilla de Adejuela
Caturra and Catuai
Yellow Honey, Screen and patio dried
Dona Francisca and Don Oscar Chacon
Wine acidity and syrupy sweetness with taste notes of poached nectarine, brown sugar and cherries.
Dona Francisca and Don Oscar Chacon of Las Lajas micromill are third-generation coffee producers in their family. They inherited their farms from their grandparents, and are known for being among the first to process high-quality Honeys and Naturals in Central America, and for participating in the Cup of Excellence auction in 2009.
Las Lajas is an organic micromill located in Sabanilla de Alajuela in the Central Valley region of Costa Rica. Organic coffee in Costa Rica is almost nonexistent, and with this calibre of the cup makes it one of a kind; they believe in the preservation of the environment hence their organic practices. Las Lajas processes coffee from their family farms; these lots are fully traceable and separated by day. Water use is minimal since the coffee is not washed. During the harvest, Francisca will measure the Brix content in the coffee cherry to determine the optimal time to pick the coffee. 21–22% Brix content has been the maximum they’ve seen.
Las Lajas carries several distinct processes from this mill. This coffee was processed using the Yellow Honey process. The cherries have 100% mucilage left on with the coffee being turned hourly on the bed.
The honey process of leaving 100% of the mucilage on in all "levels" of honey is distinctive to Las Lajas. This just shows that terminology can mean various things region to region and farm to farm.
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 micro-lot market has grown, and now Costa Rica is one of the most popular origins, delivering very consistent quality year after year.
The Costas Café Import lots are all sourced directly from micromills, and producers were paid at the farm-gate level. Café Imports manage local transportation, dry-milling, consolidation, and exportation of the coffees.
*Photos taken by Cafe Imports
Nicaragua-La hammonia, Selva Negra
La Hammonia - Selva Negra
Caturra and Catuai
Washed and Patio dried
The Kühl Family
Peach, toffee, floral with a buttery mouthfeel.
In the late 1800s, German families immigrated to the New World in search of better lives and livelihoods. On their way north to try their luck in California’s gold rush, they paused in Nicaragua and fell in love. So they stayed. And some of them planted coffee.
In 1974, Eddy and Mausi Kühl, both descendants of German immigrants, brought one of those coffee farms. They refurbished the La Hammonia farm and made it totally diversified and sustainable in less than a decade. They have preserved a third of the property as virgin forest, another third as shade coffee forest, and the last third as intensive rotational pastures for cattle and organic farming.
Selva Negra encompasses not only the farm but the lodge, restaurant and facilities. The coffee in La Hammonia has 12 separate lots, each lot is separated by varietal that is uniquely divided into elevations ranging from 1200- 1400 masl. The lots are shade grown and the trees are fertilized with organic fertilizer made on the farm, La Hammonia is certified organic.
The cherries are picked and then taken to the wet mill on the farm, where the coffee is processed using water from the mountain. Fermentation is 12 hours in the mucilage. A second wash is applied before being moved to the covered drying beds. The lots are harvested individually, cupped and then blended so there is traceability of lot volumes and cup profile from season to season. Once the coffee is dry it is moved to the dry mill on the farm where it is processed and packed. There's a nursery on the farm which is used for new tree planting, they are currently replanting 50 hectares at a time as some of the trees are over 65 years old. They are also growing and experimenting with a new variety called Marsellaza – an improved Catimor variety.
Along with growing coffee, Selva Negra has developed into a completely self-sustaining eco village. There is a vegetable garden which provides vegetables for the restaurant, a farm of pigs, cows and chickens for meat and eggs. There is also a bakery and a cheese making factory. The power is generated by solar panels around the farm and on the roofs. Methane gas is produced for cooking by using the wastewater from coffee processing. The farm itself produces everything needed an everything has 2-3 uses. For the workers, there is a village on the farm with housing, a school for the children, a medical clinic and a baseball diamond (baseball is the number one sport in Nicaragua), and they have their own team competing in the national competition. The workers have power, running water and satellite tv. They are charged $1 per year for rent so that they have legal tenancy leases. The restaurant and lodge on the farm provide a pathway for pickers to learn new skills and undertake new employment in the off season, the manager of the restaurant herself started out as a coffee picker on the farm.
There is a huge amount of history around Selva Negra, there are walks in the forest where you may encounter ancient relics and buildings and also wildlife. There is a family spirit driving this enterprise, that makes it a very special place. It’s an incredible farm to visit for the experience of seeing what can be achieved with an open mind and a true goal of sustainability.
If you want to know more about the La Hammonia farm, visit the website below:
*Photos courtesy of Tony Strickett (First Crop) and selva negra website