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Tim Wendelboe

Your Coffee Subscription – March 2021

March is here and I am already in the middle of purchasing season which normally lasts from February throughout August. It is the time of the year when we are gradually selling out of last years coffees and starting to plan for this years purchases. We are expecting some really nice Kenyan and Ethiopian coffees this year and hopefully we will get them in house in June / July depending on shipping times. Until then I hope you will enjoy the coffees I have picked out for you this month.

The first coffee we are sending out  is a washed coffee that was fermented with added yeast from Los Pirineos in El Salvador. The yeast fermentation contributes with an interesting fruity character to this sweet and chocolaty Orange Bourbon cultivar. The second coffee is produced in Kenya at the Karogoto wet mill. It is a peaberry coffee that gives an intense and fruity cup. A perfect contrast to the El Salvadoran coffees we are sending out this month. The third coffee is a Pacamara cultivar from Los Pirioneos in El Salvador. It is honey processed, hence you can expect a slight fruity cup with layers of chocolate and tropical fruit flavours.

Los Pirineos Orange Bourbon 1 + 4 bags filter 
Flavour notes: Chocolate, fermented fruit & roasted nuts
Producer: Gilberto Baraona
Harvest: February 2020
Origin: Tecapa-Chinameca, Usulutan, El Salvador
Process: Fermented with yeast & washed
Cultivar: Orange Bourbon

Orange Bourbon means that the coffee cherries on this Bourbon cultivar turn orange once they are ripe instead of the usual red colour. I have cupped several orange Bourbon coffees over the years and find that it can have subtle or bigger differences compared with a red, yellow or pink Bourbon. It really depends on the growing conditions wether it tastes very different or not. In the case of Los Pirineos, I have found the orange Bourbon to be rich and sweet , just like the red Bourbon Elite that we sent out in December. However it is the “fermented fruit” character that really defines this coffee. Although the coffee was fermented in a tank, which is a usual step in the wet process,  Gilberto added an additional yeast culture  to alter the fermentation when processing this lot. The yeast culture is specifically designed for coffee fermentation and  makes it easier to control the outcome. With a long fermentation time you end up with a coffee that has a more fruity cup profile that is reminiscent of a honey processed coffee or a natural processed coffee.  I find it to be quite an interesting profile and hope you like it too.

Karogoto Peaberry 2 + 5 bags filter
Flavour notes: Rose hips, hibiscus & blackcurrants
Producer: Several smallholder farmers
Harvest: December 2019
Origin: Nyeri, Kenya
Process: Washed
Cultivar: SL28, SL34, Batian & Ruiru 11

This coffee is produced by several hundred farmers, most of them growing the famous Kenyan  SL28 and SL34 cultivars.  While some have planted newer hybrids like Ruiru 11 and Batian you can clearly taste the clean and fruity flavours in this coffee that are so common for the SL cultivars. The coffee from Karogoto has a very distinct and intense fruity flavour with a refreshing acidity. Expect winey notes of rose hips, and blackcurrant. Peaberries occur inside coffee cherries that only has one bean inside as opposed to the normal two beans. Some people claim that  peaberry coffees tastes better because it gets more nutrients during the developing phase since it is all by itself inside a coffee cherry. I personally think this is not true but in my experience the more round shaped beans are easier to roast more evenly, hence you end up with a more intense cup. This is the same lot as we sent out last month, so I will let you decide wether it is more intense compared to last months AA (big normal beans) version of this coffee.

Los Pirineos Pacamara 3 + 6 bags filter 
Flavour notes:  Chocolate, tropical 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.

Los Pirineos Orange Bourbon 1 + 4 bags espresso 
Flavour notes: Chocolate, fermented fruit & roasted nuts
Producer: Gilberto Baraona
Harvest: February 2020
Origin: Tecapa-Chinameca, Usulutan, El Salvador
Process: Fermented with yeast & washed
Cultivar: Orange Bourbon

Karogoto Peaberry 2 + 5 bags espresso
Flavour notes: Rose hips, hibiscus & blackcurrants
Producer: Several smallholder farmers
Harvest: December 2019
Origin: Nyeri, Kenya
Process: Washed
Cultivar: SL28, SL34, Batian & Ruiru 11

Los Pirineos Pacamara 3 + 6 bags espresso 
Flavour notes:  Chocolate, tropical fruit & strawberries
Producer: Gilberto Baraona
Harvest: February 2020
Origin: Tecapa-Chinameca, Usulutan, El Salvador
Process: Honey
Cultivar: Pacamara

In memory of Our friend and coffee producer  Gilberto Baraona

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.

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.

I hope you will enjoy the coffees
Tim W

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