FEATURE COFFEE

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GUATEMALA- EL JADIN

IMPORTER:
First Crop

COUNTRY:
Kenya

REGION:
Nyeri County

ALTITUDE:
1900 masl

VARIETY:
SL28, SL34

PROCESS:
Washed and sundried on raised beds

TASTE NOTES: 
Floral, honeysuckle sweetness, raspberry acidity.  Round and balanced.

DESCRIPTION:
Kenya Kigwandi is one of six mills under the Mutheka Farmers CO-OP.  Kigwandi factory is in Mukaro, near the Aberdare Ranges, where coffee is predominatly grown by small holder farmers.  The farmers are granted access to an agronomist who helps them achieve ideal growing conditions by assisting them in planting, pruning and harvesting.  800 members deliver their coffee to the mill to be graded and processed, before being sent to auction in Nairobi.  

 

 

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This is the organic fertiliser made on site.  It involves a three stage process and takes 6-8 weeks.  The fertiliser reaches temperatures of up to 60 degrees celsius, which create the right organisms to feed and nurture the plants.

This is the organic fertiliser made on site.  It involves a three stage process and takes 6-8 weeks.  The fertiliser reaches temperatures of up to 60 degrees celsius, which create the right organisms to feed and nurture the plants.

GUATEMALA- EL JADIN

IMPORTER:
First Crop

COUNTRY:
Guatemala

REGION:
San Marcos

ALTITUDE:
1800-2200 masl

VARIETY:
Bourbon and Caturra

PROCESS:
Washed

TASTE NOTES: 
Peach, tropical fruit, caramel, vanilla cream

DESCRIPTION:

The El Jardin is a group of neighbouring farms in the San Marcos region of Guatemala. North of Xela, the closest city, the San Marcos region is on the border of Mexico, and is an incredibly volcanic area, with volcanoes surrounding the area. The views are spectacular and the soil has perfect nutrients for the coffee plants. 

Because of the high elevation, San Marcos tends to be cooler during the day, so the plants have a stable and pleasant growing environment. The elevation also means it is usually quite misty in this region, and this moisture creates many available water springs for processing. It is an amazing part of Guatemala and an area that does not see a lot of foreigners. 

The coffee is certified organic and the farmers use a home-made fertiliser to nurture their plants. The cherry pulp from the wet processing is used in this fertiliser, along with manure and other natural waste. The coffee is pulped at a central wet mill owned by the farmers and fermented on the farms in barrels. It is then dried on covered beds. Fermentation time can vary between 12-18 hours deepening on the weather conditions.

This coffee is Fairtrade certified and the premiums were paid by First Crop. The coffee is dry milled at the FECCEG mill in Xela who exports the coffee to us.  

*Photos curtesy of First Crop

 

Las Lajas
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Yellow Honey process has 100% mucilage left on and is turned every hour.

Yellow Honey process has 100% mucilage left on and is turned every hour.

Costa rica - Las lajas

IMPORTER:
Cafe Imports

COUNTRY:
Costa Rica

REGION:
Sabanilla de Adejuela

ALTITUDE:
1450 masl

VARIETY:
Caturra and Catuai

PROCESS:
Yellow Honey, Screen and patio dried

PRODUCER:
Dona Francisca and Don Oscar Chacon

TASTE NOTES: 
Wine acidity and syrupy sweetness with taste notes of poached nectarine, brown sugar and cherries.

DESCRIPTION:

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

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Coffee Nursery

Coffee Nursery

Mausi and patio dried coffee beans

Mausi and patio dried coffee beans

Wet Mill

Wet Mill

Coffee Processing Machinery

Coffee Processing Machinery

Nicaragua-La hammonia, Selva Negra

IMPORTER:
First Crop

COUNTRY:
Nicaragua

REGION:
Matagalpa

FARM:
La Hammonia - Selva Negra

ALTITUDE:
1200-1400 masl

VARIETY:
Caturra and Catuai

PROCESS:
Washed and Patio dried

PRODUCER:
The Kühl Family
 
TASTE NOTES: 
Peach, toffee, floral with a buttery mouthfeel.

 
DESCRIPTION: 
 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: 

http://www.selvanegra.com/en/

*Photos courtesy of Tony Strickett (First Crop) and selva negra website