Introducing our latest Yellowbird Seasonal Espresso Blend

August 6, 2011 2 comments
– By John Ryan Ting

A view of part of the plantation of Samambaia

Firstly, many thanks to all who loved our previous seasonal blend created with coffees from Fazenda Lambari from Brazil + Sidamo Valley, Ethiopia. It’s a pity that we ran out of the coffee from Fazenda Lambari sooner than we expected. But fret not, we have got our hands on some lovely, creamy pulped natural coffee from the similar region of Minas Gerais, this varietal of Mundo Novo that has been grown at the altitudes of 1,150 metres above sea level.

Fazenda Samambaia, located in the city of Sul de Minas, is owned by Henrique Dias Cambraia who contributes the success of the farm to a combination of various factors – the geographic location at 1,200m above sea level, steady cool climate averaging 21 degrees centigrade, competent management of the plantations, constant training based on total quality control program that involves the whole team that works on the farm.

Henrique is committed not only to producing high quality coffee, but to farming in a way that is socially responsible and environmentally sustainable. He is happy to say that, during his absence from the farm between March 2000 and July 2001 – when he was studying towards a Master’s degree in International Business in Phoenix, Arizona – his employees demonstrated that they fully understood and were capable of upholding the Samambaia concept of sustainability.

Recently, Henrique Dias Cambraia was elected President of Sulminas-Café. Together with other 20 coffee producers of the Santo Antônio do Amparo region, he founded the Santo Antônio Estate Coffee, to build relationships with the specialty coffee market.

Combining this lot of coffee from Samambaia with our current stock of the coffee from Sidamo Valley, we present to you a combination of; creamy & viscous mouthfeel, balanced sweetness of caramel & honey, notes of hazelnuts & vanilla, finished with a soft orange acidity and subtle floral finish.

Look out for these notes in our Yellowbird Seasonal Espresso Blend that is hitting the shelves. Have you gotten yours yet?

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Introducing Oriole’s new Seasonal Espresso Blend

June 6, 2011 Leave a comment

We have gotten our hands on a very limited lot of coffee from Fazenda Lambari, located in the region of Minas Gerais, Brazil. This farm is certified by the BSCA, which means that the farm meets the criteria of Quality, Social Responsibility, as well as Ecological Responsibility.

Fazenda Lambari is located in Poços de Caldas, in the far south of the state of Minas Gerais on the Serra da Mantiqueira. On this farm, coffee is grown at 1,100m, accompanied by two well defined seasons: one rainy and dry. With an annual average temperature of 19oC and 2,000 mm of rain spread across its long summer.

The microclimate of this region favors a concentrated flowering and therefore uniform maturation during the dry winter when harvesting takes place. The great difference between day and night temperatures combined with “patio” drying makes a unique coffee. In this region you even find Bourbon plants that may well be over 100 years old.

This naturally processed coffee is of mixed varietals of Acaia, Bourbon & Catuai from the crop of 10/11. Cupping notes of this coffee on its own: buttery mouth feel, flavours of butterscotch & almonds, clean & refined.

Creating a blend using this coffee as a base, completing it with a fully washed coffee from Sidamo Valley, Ethiopia, our latest seasonal blend displays floral notes in the front palate, rich & creamy mouth feel, hints of almonds and ending with a dark chocolate finish.

This will be featured for a limited time only as this is a very sought-after coffee. Do try it and give us your feedbacks on how you think of this.

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Café Familia Montaño

May 3, 2011 Leave a comment

We are very happy to introduce this micro-lot coffee that we have gotten our hands on, sadly we only have a very limited stock as this is a well sought after coffee that  our friend kindly shared with us.


Country: BOLVIA
City: Coroico
Region: Nor-Yungas
Altitude: 1,460 metres above sea level
Variety: Typica, Catuaí and Caturra
Processing: Semi-washed and sun-dried on raised drying screens
Owner: Cervando Montaño Rocha

Cervando Montaño Rocha has been growing coffee in Bolivia’s green and mountainous north Yungas region since 1977. After both his parents died of Yellow Fever when he was five years old, he was taken in and brought up by a local family, on whose farm he worked until the age of 20. That year he was gifted a coffee farm of around 10 hectares in return for his hard work for the family.

Cervando’s farm is located at an average of 1,460 metres above sea level, some 115km from La Paz and 7km from the mountain town of Coroico. The region is blessed with ideal conditions for growing coffee – a temperate climate, fertile soil and high altitude. Cervando originally planted out the Arabica varieties Typica and Catuaí, and later also added some Caturra trees to the farm.

The coffee is entirely organic and grows in the shade of native forest trees, providing habitat for the many birds and insects that can be seen on the farm. The coffee cherries are picked by hand when fully ripe, washed, and sun-dried on raised drying screens.

Cervando is now married to Alejandra Ramos and has 10 children – 6 girls and 4 boys, who grew up helping their parents on the farm. His son, Damian Daniel Montaño Ramos, won 19th place at Cup of Excellence in 2007 with Café Inca.

This Bolivian coffee offers green apple acidity, smooth & syrupy mouthfeel, short dry finish, hints of figs in its aftertaste.

Stay tuned for more exciting and interesting coffee coming up. :)

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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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Single Estate Offerrings- Fazenda Rodomunho

September 11, 2010 Leave a comment
Farm: Fazenda Rodomunho
Varietal: Acaiá, Catuaí, Icatú, Mundo Novo
Processing: Natural
Altitude: 900-1,050 metres above sea level
Owner: Cristiano Ottoni
City: Rio Paranaíba (Minas Gerais)
Region: Alto Paranaíba, Cerrado
At Oriole Coffee, this bean currently forms  the base of our espresso blend, providing that powerful creaminess and chocolaty body. It also works beuatifully as a brew coffee as it’s balance, body and malted flavours showcase what Brazillian coffees are truly appreciated for. We currently serve it as a single-cup filter and it is available for sale in our 250gm retail packs.

This Fazenda is located in the highest region of the cerrado region in the state of Minas Gerais, an area known for producing truly exceptional coffee.

The Dias and Ottoni families  are seasoned and respected coffee producing familes in this prestigious area of Brazil since the early 1800’s. This farm also champions social and environmental responsibility. Their labour are paid well above average for the sector  and are provided with modern housing, sanitation, utilities, schools, medical and even sports facilities with the idea that happy workers produce quality pickings.

The growing areas are also designed to minimise their environmental impact (active recycling, organic farm practices, solid waste recycled to soil, and natural/ pulp natural process greatly reduces water consumption).

The farm has won several awards and Rodomunho has also been present at Cup Of Excellence competitions.

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The Espresso Grinder – The unsung Hero Part 1

September 7, 2010 Leave a comment

By John Ryan Ting


Mazzer RoburSo you love espresso? So do we, the guys and gals at Oriole! Many of you might think that the espresso machine is the single key piece of equipment to a great shot of espresso, but that’s not exactly true.  The humble and inconspicuous, over-worked and oft over-looked grinder is just as important.  Many purists argue that the most important piece of equipment in any coffee brewing situation would be the grinder simply because it allows for the freshest possible coffee to be brewed, giving you control of extraction of flavour and soluble solids from the beans.

True freshness in coffee can only be achieved by complementing freshly roasted coffee with ‘Grind-On-Demand’ – grinding only what you need just prior to brewing. The grinder intricately controls the rate at which coffee & water come together to create the ‘black gold’ in any brewing method.

The milling of the coffee beans between the blades breaks down & fractures the cell walls so as to increase the surface area for hot water to mix with the soluble materials in coffee. Why are grinders important in this equation? It controls the individual size (more about uniformity later) of each coffee particle, and thus, determines how much time and how much surface area is made available to the brewing water.Coffee distribution

The sizing of coffee grinds is commonly known as a grind setting. Grind size directly affects the contact time between coffee & water.  Quite simply: the longer the brewing method, the coarser the grind, the shorter the brewing method, the finer the grinds. (A point to note is grind setting varies between coffee to coffee, roast to roast. There is only a guideline, but no definite grind setting that works for all coffee on any single brew method.) Espresso is the shortest and most intense of coffee brewing processes. Therefore grind sizing greatly affects the final quality of the espresso brew.

Some key points below before you jump into buying your next grinder.


Fact: roasted coffee is very delicate and sensitive to heat. Heat makes the coffee swell and affects the consistency of the grind size for a given setting. This results in uncontrolled variations in extraction results which affect flavour and the list goes on.

Coffee grinders generate heat through 1) the friction caused by the blades as they cut through the coffee beans, 2) Heat generated by rotation of the grinder motor.  These factors contribute to exposing coffee to unnecessary heat even before brewing the coffee. Good grinders generate less heat and can cope with higher volumes.

In the next part of this blog, we will discuss on Doser Or Doserless?  Flat Burr vs Conical Burr.

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