Your Coffee Subscription – December 2020

Dear Coffee Subscribers,

We have finally reached December after a troublesome year for us all. Christmas is coming up in just a matter of weeks and it’s time to spend the days with our loved ones. We would like to take this opportunity to thank you all for your big support during this year, thank you for keeping us busy by ordering through our webshop, stopping by our espresso bar and letting us send freshly roasted coffee to your mailbox every month. It means the world to us and has really helped us through the year.

For the December subscription I have picked out three coffees that will fit the holiday season perfectly. The two first coffees comes from Gilberto Baranoa’s farm in El Salvador while the third coffee is a Kenyan coffee from Warenew. 

Los Pirineos Bourbon 1 + bag
Flavour notes: Chocolate, dried berries & roasted nuts
Producer: Gilberto Baraona
Harvest: February 2020
Origin: Tecapa-Chinameca, Usulutan, El Salvador
Process: Washed (mechanical demucilage remover) 
Cultivar: Bourbon Elite

It is with great sadness that I am  writing this. In 2020 our dear friend and long term coffee producing partner Gilberto Baraona passed away. I have known Gilberto since 2010 after purchasing his coffee for the first time through the Cup of Excellence coffee auction. Although his coffee was not among the top lots that year winning 30th place, it was by far my favourite at the auction, so I decided to bid and ended up buying the lot. A year later I visited don Gilberto on his beautiful farm Los Pirineos situated on top of the Tecapa volcano. We connected immediately and we both agreed that we wanted to work towards the same goal; making his coffee one of the best in El Salvador.
Gilberto was not afraid to go his own ways, always testing out new things on his farm. I loved his positive spirit, and his eagerness to experiment and improve everything on his farm. In the early years when I visited his farm we would focus a lot on discussing and experimenting on how we could improve his production techniques on the wet mill and improving his drying facilities. We were able to raise the quality of his coffees by tweaking both the washing and especially the drying process by introducing raised beds and shade drying. I remember leaving one year hoping Gilberto would invest in 10-20 drying beds so that he could process the small amounts of coffees we bought the way I liked it. The following year when I re-visited his farm, he had made a huge space on his farm where hundreds of drying beds were already full of coffee drying in the sun. It is one of many great examples of how he always went «all in» and was able to think big.

In the later years Gilberto’s big passion was to develop a production of coffee from rare varieties on his farm. We would exchange seeds and I would also spend days roasting and tasting «nano lots» of coffee harvested from his variety garden, trying to find the best ones for him to plant. When I visited in February 2020 we were finally able to enjoy, taste and discuss the very first pickings of some of these varieties after many years of selecting and planting seeds. It was so rewarding to be able to see the fruits of Gilberto’s labour becoming a reality. Gilberto left us too early, but I am happy to know that he was living his dream to the very end. It is also great to know that his son and daughter will be taking over the farm and carrying on Gilberto’s legacy.
Gilberto never lived to see his coffee take 1st place in the Cup of Excellence, but he had a record breaking number of coffees in the auction. In 2019 he was runner up with his beautiful Bourbon Elite coffee. I am certain that due to Gilberto’s visionary work his family will be able to produce the very best coffees from El Salvador and some of the very best in the world. For the past 10 years I have seen Gilberto transform his farm from being an average farm to become one of the most spectacular farms in Central-America.
Every year the coffees have improved and I personally think that the 2020 harvest was by far the best quality Gilberto ever produced, showing more character and sweetness in the cup than ever before. I sincerely hope you will take the time to enjoy the last crop he ever produced, in memory of the great Gilberto Baraona. May he rest in peace.

This is the Bourbon Elite (old Bourbon) coffee from the top of Gilberto’s farm (or the top of the volcano if you like.) 
I said the same last year, but I believe that the quality of this years harvest was the best ever produced by Gilberto. It is probably the result of his effort to improve the health of his coffee trees in the recent years which gradually will result in better tasting coffees.
The Bourbon Elite is very sweet with loads of chocolate flavours and notes of toasted nuts, dried berries and fruit. 

Los Pirineos Pacamara 2 + bags
Flavour notes: Chocolate baked stone fruit & strawberries
Producer: Gilberto Baraona
Harvest: February 2020
Origin: Tecapa-Chinameca, Usulutan, El Salvador
Process: Honey 
Cultivar: Pacamara

Pacamara is always an interesting cultivar as it was released to farmers around El Salvador a bit early before it was a stable cultivar. That means you can find really great tasting ones and some that are not so tasty. Gilberto has been doing a great selection of Pacamara on his farm and has therefore consistently been in the top 10 of the Cup of Excellence with this cultivar over many years. Like last year, I decided to buy a honey processed Pacamara as I found it to be very clean and have a more pronounced «Pacamara flavour» This is quite a complex and intense coffee with a more fruity flavour, still with the chocolaty character commonly found in El Salvador. 

Warenew 3 + bags
Flavour notes: Blackberries & vanilla.
Producer: Several smallholder farmers 
Harvest: December 2019
Origin: Embu, Kenya
Process: Washed
Cultivar: SL28 & Ruiru 11

Warenew is a company founded by a group of farmers who decided to start working together towards a common goal of increasing their production,  value and quality of their coffee. They are working in a more organic way than what is common in Kenya, using mainly manure as fertilisers, no herbicides and only copper spray for preventing leaf rust attacks, (which strangely enough is allowed to use in small quantities in Organic farming.)  
The farms are located all around Embu, in altitudes ranging from 1300 – 1800 meters above sea level. The members / farmers are mainly growing the SL28 cultivar that is  famous for its fruity high quality cup profile, yet some of the farms located in the lower parts are still growing the Ruiru 11 hybrid.  
We believe that because there is a mix of both SL28 and Ruiru 11 from low and high altitudes, the profile of this coffee is a bit different than what you might be used to from Kenya. It is  both fruity and slight herbal with an intense body and vanilla like finish. The acidity is a bit more tamed compared to some of the coffees we buy from Nyeri, that is grown in higher altitudes. This coffee is refreshing and intense and a perfect finish after a hearty Christmas meal. 

Thanks for reading and as always, we hope you enjoy the coffees and learning from our monthly videos. If you need some brewing tips, visit our website.

Cheers and happy holidays from all of us at 
Tim Wendelboe

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