Cultivar cupping at Los Pirineos
Last week I visited Gilberto Baraona, the proud owner and farmer of Los Pirineos, El Salvador. We have been buying coffees from Gilberto for some years now and we especially like his Bourbon Elite cultivar which is one of the original Bourbons in El Salvador that was used to develop new Bourbons like Tekisik. He also has a spectacular Orange Pacamara, but unfortunately this year most of those trees were stomped and therefore not available.
Some years ago, Gilberto inherited a cultivar collection from Procafe, the organisation that has developed several cultivars in El Salvador. They had done research on Gilberto’s farm on various cultivars and once they finished their tests, Gilberto took over the garden with about 10 trees of each cultivar. In total Gilberto now has about 80 cultivars growing on his farm but most of these in very small quantities only for testing.
This year he had harvested coffee from about 50-60 cultivars. Gilberto had invited Moises Herrera from the Caballero farms in Honduras and myself to taste all the samples in order to see what cultivars could be interesting for him to plant on his farm in the coming years.
We will of course cup these more than once before Gilberto decides on what to plant as there might be factors affecting the quality that we are not in control of. Also processing small quantities of coffee can be challenging and affect the flavour. Next year we are expecting to be tasting all 80 cultivars and there is a lot of good suff coming next year, like SL28, Geisha, etc. (but only for testing)
(Picture above: I am using the Catador app for scoring coffees. It is based on the SCAA cupping form.)
You can see my scores and comments from the tasting in the link below.
2015 Los Pirineos Cultivar cupping
Please note that these cultivars might perform differently in another soil, climate and altitude and is not to be considered as a guide to what cultivars are good or not. These were only my observations from the cultivars grown at the Los Pirineos farm in El Salvador.
New drying tables at Kapsokisio
I visited Kapsokisio Farmers Cooperative Society yesterday in Mount Elgon, Kenya.
It was very nice to meet with the farmers and see the new drying tables that we funded together with our guests on our 7th anniversary in 2014.
I have already tasted 3 lots from their fresh harvest and bought one lot that will be shipped to Norway soon. Hopefully the samples I have in my bag will taste even better so we can buy some more. The coffees have improved a lot this year. It is great to see that the Farmers at Kapsokisio are now consistently producing great tasting coffees year after year. I still think we could improve the quality even more by further training the farmers and also setting up shade nets over all their drying tables to increase the drying times a bit. But we have to take one step at a time.
Kapsokisio FCS are also building two new wet mills and hopefully they will be ready to process coffee for the harvest in 2015/16.
I would like to take the opportunity to thank all of our guests and followers who has helped us fund the construction of these drying tables.
As one of the board members expressed during our meeting together: “We are seeing the light in the end of the tunnel now and you have given us hope.”
We will be working harder in the coming years in order to make sure the farmers and the coffee from Kapsokisio can improve even more.
Thank you for the support.
We are looking a new co-worker
We have a position open as Wholesale manager / office worker.
Our wholesale manager will be on maternity leave for 9 months, and we need someone to fill her position while she is away.
We are also launching our new website soon, and need help to keep it updated and relevant.
The position is full time and involves working in the office, processing orders from our wholesale clients and webshop. You also need to be able to visit customers and do simple trainings and follow-ups.
We are looking for a persons that has worked in a coffee shop before or has extensive training from the restaurant world.
You need to be interested in coffee, drink coffee and most of all understand what service is all about. You need to be able to speak and write either English or Norwegian as communication with our customers is very important to us.
If you are interested in working with us, then please send us an e-mail with an appliccation and a CV.
Transparency report from 2014
We finally have all the numbers for our transparency report for 2014. See below for the detailed overview over all the prices we paid for the coffees we bought in 2014.
The prices are per pound (lb=453g) og green coffee Free on Board (FOB), which means the price for the coffee packed and stacked in a container delivered to the ship.
Our average price was slightly higher in 2014 than in 2013. This is mainly due to lower prices in Ethiopia and the high prices of the Esmeralda coffees. We are working on solutions to how we can better track and pay better prices in Ethiopia at the moment and we are also looking at the costs of the production with most of the farmers we work with in order to better understand and negotiate better prices for their coffees. We have added a lot of extra steps in the production of the coffees we buy for the last 2 years and in order to secure that the farmers are still getting the margins they deserve, we have to look at the costs and make sure we are paying a fair price to the farmers. Because of this we are expecting to pay slightly higher prices in 2015.
We wrote a post some years ago about how we purchase coffees and why prices are different from place to place. I still feel it is relevant and therefore recommend you to read it to better understand how we trade coffees.
We also wrote a post last year where we explained the breakdown of the price showing who get’s what after we pay for the coffee.
New year, new coffees
There has been a change in our coffees during the last week. This is because we obviously sell out of coffees having to replace them with new ones.
- There is a new lot from Los Pirineos. This one is from a higher elevation and is sweeter and cleaner than the previous lot.
- Also a new lot from Finca Tamana. This time a Varied Colombia cultivar that has an intense vanilla like sweetness.
- And last but not least, we changed the lot in our Caballero espresso this week. This particular lot was harvested a tad later than the previous ones and has a more intense sweetness.
We hope you like the new coffees.
We have updated our offerings as we are now sold out of the Gitwe espresso.
We are now roasting the Bourbon Elite coffee from Los Pirineos in El Salvador for espresso. This is a really sweet espresso with low acidity and loads of chocolate and creamy notes.
There is also a new lot from Finca Nacimiento that has replaced the previous one. The new lot is a later harvest blend of Bourbon and Pacas. As always, the later harvests from Nacimiento has more fruit flavours and more intensity. This is the first out of 3 late harvest lots we will release from this years crop.
You can order the coffees in our webshop and yes, we do offer international shipping.
Wilfa coffee brewer launched in the US
Finally the Norwegian made Wilfa Precision Coffee maker has been launched for sale in the USA and Canada in the Williams Sonoma stores. The reason for this taking so long has been that Wilfa had to customize the brewer in order for it to work with 110 volt power supply. The job is now done and the brewer has been tested and should work as good as the 240volt version.
This is a great coffee brewer for small cafes, at the office or at home that brews with very precise water temperature. You can even remove the filter holder and glass jug and put your Chemex or V60 rig underneath and use the Wilfa just as a hot water dispenser if you wish.
I wrote a review about it here, and yes, I have been part of the development team for this brewer.
3 New Coffees In Stock
There are 3 new coffees in stock from the 2014 harvest.
A sweet and big bodied coffee roasted for espresso from the wonderful Marysabel Caballero and Moises Herrera in Marcala, Honduras.
From the Santa Barbara region, further north in Honduras, we have the first picking from Finca Nacimiento. Jobneel has been doing an exceptional job this year tidying up the process and drying his coffee in shade. This has lead to the cleanest coffees we have ever tasted from his farm. First out is a small Pacas lot picked in January.
Last but not least, the first lot from Hacienda la Esmeralda is out for sale. We are starting off with the ES-W8 Lino San José that we bought outside the auction.
All coffees are available in our store and web shop.
We are pleased to announce that our 250g bags are now 100% recyclable.
The old bags (and most sealable coffee bags) have a foil layer to create a better barrier against oxidizing. This made it impossible to recycle the bag with other plastic packing material. (In Norway at least).
We have spent over a year finding a bag that is suitable for recycling and has a barrier that is good enough to keep the coffee fresh. Since we operate with 3-4 weeks shelf life of our coffee after roasting date, the plastic pouches provided by Dutch Pack were perfect for our use.
So now you can place the coffee bag in the plastic recycling bin after use.
We also encourage all our customers to throw the spent coffee grounds in the compost / food recycling bin. The coffee filter can also go in the compost bin, so it should be the easiest thing to do.
The Kenyans are here
Finally the 2013/14 crop of Kenyan coffees have arrived.
After tweaking the roast profiles for the last week they are finally ready for sale and available in our store and web shop as of today.
There are 3 new coffees in stock.
A lovely and super sweet and jammy coffee from Kapsokisio. Last year we installed some new raised beds to help the Kapsokisio cooperative improve their drying process, and it clearly worked. The coffee is tasting cleaner than ever . We also raised USD 5000,- at our 7th anniversary and that money will be spent on building even more drying tables at the Kapsokisio wet mill.
Another coffee that we found in Kenya this year is a coffee from the Gitwe cooperative in Gatundu. We have decided to roast this for espresso as it is such a rich and sweet coffee with the classic rose hips and black currant flavors that Kenya is known for.
Last but not least, a coffee from a cooperative in Nyeri called Mutheka. This particular lot is from the Chorongi wet mill and it is probably the best coffee we have tasted coming out of Nyeri in many years. It is a remarkably clean, transparent and sweet cup with intense flavors of black currants and blackberries. A real gem! This is our first year buying from Mutheka and hopefully we will be able to buy more in the future along with coffees from our other favorite cooperative, Tekangu. Unfortunately it was difficult to get coffee from Tekangu this year due to a change in the marketing, logistics and sales structure in Nyeri.
We will for sure try to push harder next year in order to get coffees from both Mutheka and Tekangu. Until then, we really hope you enjoy the fresh crop Kenyan coffees.