A complex and fruity cup. Bright acidity, a full body, and a distinctive aroma. Kenya’s typical cup profile makes it a favorite coffee region of many people.
Of course, like any coffee region, there are variations within it. Kenya has lots of altitude, regular rainfall, and good soil. It also has six distinct producing regions: Central (Mt. Kenya and the Aberdare mountain range), Western (Kisii, Nyanza, and Bungoma), Great Rift Valley (Nakuru and Kericho), Eastern (Machakos, Embu, and Meru), and Coastal (the Taita hills). Each of these has its own particular climate and growing conditions, along with micro-regions within it – all of which lends nuances to the final cup profile. What’s more, Kenya has a wide variety of varietals. SL-28 and SL-34 are unique varietals, and rarely found outside of the country. These grow in high-altitude regions and are known for their complexity.
Rutuma Farmers Cooperative Society operates several factories on and around the southern slopes of Mt. Kenya, including the Ruthagati factory. Most of the farmer members grow SL-28 and SL-34 varieties in rich volcanic soil. Coffee is delivered fresh directly after being harvested, and is depulped before being fermented (typically overnight) and washed using fresh water from the Keremia streams. The coffee is dried on raised beds under full sun, turned and sorted constantly during the drying process for quality.
Guatemala has a reputation for producing excellent coffees. This is one of the most climatically diverse regions in the world, with rich volcanic soil that is great for coffee farming. The valley surrounding the old colonial capital Guatemala Antigua produces the most famous Guatemala coffees. Adjacent to the plantation area in the famous San Sebastian, there is a production of 90 hectares. Weather can differ drastically during the day, and in the severe cold days, it can reach temperatures of 0 degrees. The secret of the highest quality coffee is the environment where the coffee trees are put under stress such as low precipitation, and the geothermal heat of the volcano Agua. During the picking season, from more than 600 pickers are selected to work exclusively at La Tacita plantation, and effort to make a better coffee is taken action by promoting awareness and responsibility.
La Tacita, a farm whose fields are on an upper slope of the valley, consistently turns out one of the best of these coffees. Although the cultivation is considered difficult, the farm is located at the foot of Acatenango volcano, with fertile volcanic ash soil. An unusual farm that can grow coffee up to an altitude of 2,100m produces a voluptuously sweet coffee, with roundly integrated acidity, great balance and elegance, and a resonant, cherry-toned fruit that carries through the profile from the intense aroma to the rich, finely clean finish. Complicating notes of fresh cedar, flowers and black currant in both aroma and cup. The fruit turns slightly chocolate toward the finish.
Situated in the northernmost part of Nicaragua, in the municipality of San Fernando in the Nueva Segovia region, owned by Julio Peralta since 1991. Fertile soil, good drainage on sloping terrain, and clear breeze from the foothills, which further enhances the temperature difference between day and night, are key to the quality of the area of natural mountainous forest has been under the ownership of Octavio Peralta since 1970, though for many years the area was used as war land during the Sandinista uprising and was heavily mined. The UN cleared the area of mines in the late 1980’s and Octavio began to restore exceptional coffee production to this relatively wild area in 1994.
Octavio has been dedicated to this cause as well as preserving the natural habitat which is recognized as a main factor in the production of his fantastic coffee. Of the 80 hectares of available arable land, 40 have been set aside for the sole purpose of maintaining and improving the natural habitat. The climate at Santa Maria de Lourdes is much more humid which means the coffee trees are more sparsely planted to ensure everything is properly aerated. The farm has achieved Rainforest Alliance Certification in recognition of this decision and contributes towards the on-going conservation of the surrounding area. There is also a well equipped kitchen which caters for the 60 permanent workers and 150 pickers during the harvest.
The soft and gentle acidity and medium body is complemented beautifully by the rounded mouthfeel from the cup. Tropical fruit tone at the front, like carambola, and the back is coated with hazelnuts and milk chocolate.
Blue Lintong coffees are from Sumatra, the island that is politically and geographically part of Indonesia. Grown at elevations of 1200-1500m above sea level, this coffee has been harvested from an area covering 6000 hectares in the Doloksanggul region of North Sumatra. The coffee has been processed using the traditional Indonesian wet hulling method, most commonly used in Sumatra, called Giling Basah.
Giling Basah is a hybrid processing method that results in a dark, opal green coffee. The typical cup profile is heavy bodied with low acid and earthy notes. The method is, initially, very similar to traditional wet processing whereby the coffee is pulped and fermented overnight. It is then washed to remove any remaining mucilage and dried for a few hours until it reaches a moisture content of approx. 50 percent. The wet parchment is then sold at a local market to a coffee middleman. The middleman will dry it to a moisture content of between 25-35 percent, and run it through the wet-hull machine. The parchment is removed and the bean emerges swollen and whitish-green. It is then dried on patios until it reaches a moisture content of 11-14 percent, ready for sorting, grading, bagging and export.
The Dolok Sanggul region is south-west of Lake Toba. This large lake is one of the deepest in the world, at 505 metres. The coffee production area is a high plateau, known for its diversity of tree fern species. This area produces 15,000 to 18,000 tons of Arabica per year. Lake Toba defines the landscape of the area and is the largest volcanic Crater Lake in the world.
Blue Lintong is an incredibly full bodied, deep coffee with flavor notes of earthy spices, dark berries, licorice, cacao nibs, and a woodiness that coats the mouth like warm molasses in a long finish.
Some growers grow traditional Bourbon subspecies in the Andes Mountains, one of the world's best coffee producing regions, in the northern part of Peru, and further down the village of San Pedro on the border of Cajamarca, on the border with Ecuador. Fredy Bermeo Guevara is the owner of the 5 hectare farm – El Shimir – in San Pedro de Churuyacu, Tabacones. The Churuyacu area has long been regarded as one of the best growing areas in Northern Peru, with a very unique cup profile; reminiscent of some of the best coffees from Huila, Colombia.
Fredy is part of a large family who all have coffee farms in the area. He inherited his initial 5 hectare plot from his father, and has since acquired a further 7 hectares from neighbouring landowners. He has grown coffee for around 15 years, but since 2011 he has incrementally increased his focus on improving production and quality, not just at El Shimir but on all of the family farms.
Fredy’s focus on quality has led him to compete in the 2017 Cup of Excellence, where he placed 3rd with one of his Caturra micro-lots. Besides Caturra, the farm is planted with a number of other varieties, Bourbon, Catuai and Icatu.
Tasting notes of chocolate, dried fruits and pear are to be expected. Very sweet and balanced with a chocolate finish.
Papua New Guinea
The finest quality and favor created by an ideal environment.
The Sigri AA (where AA stands for the size of the bean, and not the quality per se) comes from Papua New Guinea, located in the tropical south of the Equator. Papua is the name of the eastern part of New Guinea and it has two main locations for coffee to be grown: Mount Hagen where they mostly grow Sigri coffee, and the eastern highlands where farmers grow estate coffees known as Arusafa or Arona coffee. Sigri is a large plantation that was developed in the western highlands at Waghi Valley in the 1950s. The Sigri coffee is grown at an altitude of over 1500m above sea level. The farms are all eco- and bird-friendly farms that work on water preservation as well. The farms provide two types of shade trees that will help with the slow ripening of the cherries, but also give home to over 90 species of birds. The Sigri coffee is handpicked and checked for uniformity of the cherries. The coffee is then being fermented for three days, broken by a washing each 24 hours. In the next 21 days the coffee is color sorted and checked on grading and hulling. Altitude, cool climate, sufficient rainfall, rich landslides, as well as dramatic changes in weather are such specific environmental conditions that make the area ideal for growing high quality and best flavor coffee beans.
It goes without saying that the taste of Sigri depends on such a climate. However, such a precise and perfectly executed processing guarantee the high quality of Sigri AA beans.
Exquisite balance of citrus floral flavor and citrus acidity does not require much explanation if you can drink it.
El Paraiso is a beautiful farm 12km east of Gigante, Huila, owned by a young and extremely motivated farmer - Ernedis Rodriguez - and perched exactly at the rim of a mountain with most of the fields facing west across the beautiful Magdalena river valley. His mostly caturra trees grow at an elevation of approximately 1840m above sea level guaranteeing a great sweetness in the cup. The farm consists of a total of 14 hectares, of which 7 are part of a natural reserve. The other 7 hectares currently produce coffee, 70% of which are of the Caturra varietal and 30% Castillo. All of his specialty lots are 100% Caturra and the Castillo lots are processed and sold separately to help finance the daily operations of the farm. The coffee of Ernedis can be described as extremely sweet and full in the mouth.
Caturra coffee varietal was developed by the Alcides Carvalho Coffee Center of the IAC, Instituto Agronomico of the Sao Paulo State in Brazil. In 1937, IAC received seed samples of genetic materials that originated on the border of the states of Minas Gerais and Espírito Santo. It was from Red Caturra and yellow Caturra cultivars. These two cultivars originated by natural mutation of Bourbon Red, originally a tall coffee shrub, found in the Serra do Caparaó , which is now a mountainous National Park north east of the city of Rio de Janeiro.
These are the main agronomic characteristics of the Red and Yellow Caturra varietals:
1. It is of small size, of reduced length of internodes, leaves and side branches, providing compact appearance to the coffee shrub.
2. This is the first naturally occurred coffee mutation found, with small size and high yield capacity
3. They have excellent quality in the cup because they have virtually 100% of the Bourbon coffee in their genetic makeup.
4. The conditions in which they were planted in Brazil to cultivate Caturra showed low hardiness and consequent lack of vigor after a few harvests, which led to the premature depletion in yield.
El Paraiso has citrus acidity, notes of orange juice and a well-balanced sugary sweet foundation. Perfect balance and clarity.
This coffee is grown in the Oromia region, one of Ethiopian’s largest specialty coffee growing producers. The farm is located in Shakisso (Guji Zone), which is in the Southern part of Oromia. Tade GG is a private farm, owned by a gentleman named Tesfaye Bekele. The farm is 221 hectares in area and lies between 1,850 and 1,950 meters above sea level. The landscape is characterized by sharp and rugged hills, ridges, plateaus, valleys and flats, creating a stunningly dramatic setting for coffee production. The regions’ volcanic soil bursts with nutrients, creating a deep red and brown top-layer of soil. Shakisso’s high altitude and dry weather allow for cherries to develop very slowly.
The coffee growing region of Guji once was included in the Sidama designation, but in the year 2015 was recognized and separated as a distinct zone by the ECX. The merit for this new classification lies in the unique high quality of coffees from Guji, which include the woreda of Oddo Shakiso, Addola Redi, Uraga, Kercha, and Bule Hora.
Larger private farms are becoming more commonplace in Shakiso, which also happens to be a hotbed of mining for precious metals.
This exquisite coffee has distinct chocolate, red currant and lemon marmalade flavours in the cup.