Archive for February, 2011

New single origins and estate coffees

February 19, 2011 1 comment

coffee plants on the Gethumbwini estate

As we approach this weekend, we are proud to roll out three exciting single estate coffees for  our single-cup brewed coffee at both Somerset and Republic Plaza locations.

First up we have Kenyan Gethembwini single estate. Located in the city of Thika some 35km north of Nairobi.  It is a fully washed coffee that is further sundried on raised African beds.

Gethumbwini Estate spans over  360 hectares of land with perfect growing conditions of  temperature (15-26C) and rich  volcanic soil (from neardy Mount Kenya).

Kenyan gethumbwini estate  coffees are well known for their fine quality with distinct blackcurrant notes, rich creamy body with clean finish.

Regarded by many as the finest coffee from Africa, the management of the farm also takes pride in being socially responsible with providing housing with clean drinking water and electricity for their employees. Medical care is also given to all employees and their families with a qualified nurse stationed in a clinic on their farm. Education is provided for the children of their workers.

Next up, I would like to introduce another single estate coffee from Cafatalera Zamorana Alajuela, Costa Rica.

workers transporting hand-picked coffee to the processing facility

The Zamora family has been growing coffee at the Cafatalera Zamorana estate for over 100 years and four generations. Jorge Zamora is now in charge of the family business, which he runs with the help of his five sons.

Located some 1350m above sea level, the estate is made up of some ten farms dotted around the foot of Costa Rica’s central volcanic mountain range. With rich volcanic soils and mild mountain climate that provides ideal conditions for the production of top quality specialty coffee. The two varietals grown on the estate are Caturra and Catuaí.

The coffee goes through strict selective handpicking before they are taken to the estate’s processing facility in San Isidro, Alajuela. At the processing facility, the cherries are pulped, washed and either dried in the sun on patios, or using a Guardiola dryer.

The solid coffee pulp left over at the end of the process is recycled and used as organic fertilizer on the estate, while the waste water is filtered naturally in purification lagoons.

This crop of coffee from Zamorana has a creamy mouthfeel of dark chocolate, notes of plums and a full rich body. Do take your time to enjoy the sweetness of the brew especially as it cools down.

Lastly, we managed to get our hands on a great batch of quality coffee from Harrar, Ethiopia. What makes it difficult to purchase good quality coffee from Ethiopia is largely due to the fact that in April 2008; the Ethiopia Commodity Exchange (ECX) established a platform for the trade of undifferentiated crops such as wheat, maize, sesame and haricot beans. Sadly, coffee was also brought under this roof later that year – in part to enable the government to realize some of the revenue earnings from this unique crop.

On arrival at the ECX, the coffee is repackaged and then categorized according to cup profile and any origin provenance is effectively lost at this point.

Although this intervention does not  necessarily result in a poorer cup quality – indeed, it may well lead to a more consistent and better cup – and may well help to secure higher prices for growers, the pooling of coffees based on taste alone means that, crucially, the buyer cannot trace a coffee back to the grower, cooperative or region. And this is what is upsetting buyers as traceability has become a defining criteria in specialty coffee as more people want to know where their coffee is coming from.

At this time, an estimated 90% of all Ethiopia’s crop is sold through the ECX and only large cooperatives can seek exemption. Importers and roasters continue to lobby the ECX for greater transparency and remain hopeful that traceability can soon be restored and individual growers of exceptional coffees given the recognition they deserve.

In this batch of Harrar we’ve noted floral aroma with distinct notes of blueberries with a smooth lingering finish. I am really proud to be sharing with you a coffee that has been a long time favorite of mine. Took me long enough to be able to find this and finally have the honor of sharing it with all of you.

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Did you know we had a youtube page?

February 17, 2011 Leave a comment

Did you know we have a youtube page?

Well it started last year and we’d always thought that there was a link to it but there wasn’t!

Well here it is. Oh and please excuse the quality. It is done by professional amateurs.

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