Today we had the pleasure of having our supplier, Propeller Coffee Co., come over to our coffee shop in Whitby for cupping and we feel so informed and educated about all things coffee. A special thank you to Lindsay and Losel for helping us better understand our products and the coffee industry in general.
We tasted 4 coffee’s. Below we will provide you with a little history and description of each. We will also tell you each team member’s top pick.
Altitude: 1550-1800 meters
Varietal: Caturra, Castillo
Tasting Notes: Cherry, Caramel, Hazelnut
The Surcafes Association transitioned to producing Certified Organic, Rainforest Alliance, and Fair Trade coffee in the past few years with the guidance from their export partner Lohas Beans. The coffee is produced by 54 members in the surrounding canyon area of Southern Tolima, Chaparral municipality.
2) Colombia La Falda (David’s pick)
Altitude: 1750 meters
Tasting Notes: Raspberry, Dark Chocolate, Honey
Settled along the highlands of Neiva, in the northwestern area of Huila, is a small community called Aipecito - this is where you can find Finca La Falda tucked away. Jose Huil was born and raised on a coffee farm that his parents owned. Jose learned much of his coffee knowledge during his upbringing on the coffee farm, and in 1988 he decided to start a new venture and began working on his own. For him, producing coffee was a great option as he was very experienced growing it. As the years passed, he increased his knowledge and produced better and better coffee.
In 2018, Jose Huil Martinez decided to deliver a lot of coffee to Caravela’s purchasing facility in Gigante, Huila, looking for better prices and a recognition for his incredibly hard work and dedication to growing specialty coffee. When he looks back to when he used to produce conventional coffee, he can see all the important changes made at the farm over the years and and all the improvements to all his processes that were incorporated to benefit the farm, coffee and environment. Although he can see that it is more expensive to maintain his farm now, he knows it is all completely worth it as he receives much better prices and recognition than he did before.
The extra income has assisted Jose Huil to improve many processed and equipmnt on his farm. Besides producing amazing coffee, one of Jose’s priorities at Finca La Falda is taking care of the environment and implementing practices that are eco-friendly and sustainable. In the short-term, Jose plans to become a role model for the farmers in the region and to become a pioneer in specialty coffee of the region where he is located.
3) Burundi Gakenke (Lorena’s pick)
Altitude: 1672 meters
Varietal: Red Bourbon
Tasting Notes: Tangerine, Grape, Pecan
The Gakenke Central Washing Station was built in 1991 in Gatare, Kayanza region, in northern Burundi. Kayanza is one of the most reputable growing areas in Burundi with rich and volcanic soils with optimal growing conditions year round. There are nearly 2700 smallholder farmers (with about 300-350 coffee trees each) that send their cherry to be processed at this washing station. Gratien Nankwahombaye oversees the receiving, pulping, fermenting and drying of the harvest with a station capacity of 750 metric tons. There are nine stations throughout the region to minimize transportation issues and travel times for farmers dropping off cherry. The drying field at the main station has 150 raised drying beds/tables. The Gakenke profile is lush and sweet from an incredible growing region making big waves in the specialty coffee landscape.
4) Brazil Cachoeira da Grama (NIcki’s pick)
Altitude: 1200 meters
Tasting Notes: Peach, Milk Chocolate, Hazelnut
Fazenda Cachoeira da Grama has been in the Carvalho Dias family since 1890. Gabriel de Carvalho Dias, the owner, is responsible for the property’s management. It is located 3 miles from the Minas Gerais state line and has characteristics of the mountainous areas of Mogiana and Sul de Minas. On this farm, everything is done manually, which includes coffee plantation handling and harvest, since its topography does not allow any kind of mechanization. Social and environmental sustainability are considered very important in farm management. Gabriel de Carvalho Dias developed a program of planting native species to maintain a better ecological balance. The farm has a school, a club and a regulation size soccer field for the employees’ benefit. There are 48 houses for the employees and their families, all with modern facilities. Wastewater is treated to avoid polluting the stream that runs across the farm. The altitude of the coffee plantations is between 1100 and 1250 meters and the precipitation is between 1800 and 2000mm per year with an average temperature of 19ºC - ideal conditions for coffee. The farm produces bourbon coffees, famous for their exceptional quality. The farm is certified for complying with UTZ and BSCA protocols, and audited yearly.
Coffee is harvested manually on cloths, preventing the beans from touching the ground. The coffee processing is done as quickly as possible to avoid any chance of bean fermentation. The harvested coffee is immediately transferred from production fields to washers, with the separation of the cherry and green beans from the dry beans, which are sent to the terrace to dry, resulting in natural dried coffee. The cherry and green beans are processed by the coffee pulper, and the cherry beans are pulped and separated from the green coffee.The pulped coffee is dried under the sun on terraces until the beans reach 20 percent humidity. At this stage, the coffee is transferred to the dryers to reduce humidity to 11 percent. Subsequently, the coffee lots are stored in a warehouse, in wooden silos, with low humidity level and free from odours that can affect the coffee.
The quality of the coffee produced by Fazenda Cachoeira da Grama is a result of dedication and care during all coffee production stages, from the selection of the seedlings in nurseries and planting to harvesting and processing. After harvest, the beans receive the maximum attention possible so as not to lose any of the body and cup qualities that the region is known for.