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Espresso: Guatemala Huehuetenango Mam Microlot

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A mainstay in our coffees from Guatemala are the Huehuetenango and Mam regional blends. The Mam selection is a micro-region specific lot that was collected from sixty smallholder producers around La Libertad and San Pedro Necta municipalities in the Huehuetenango region. Descendants from the Mam indigenous group inhabit the region, hence the name of the coffee. In this area, coffee is cultivated at 1500 meters and above. The harvest takes place from January to March, at some of the highest altitudes in the region. At the highest altitudes, the harvest even extends into April! The farms that produce the Mam coffee receive little exposure to direct sunlight, as the region is covered by a thick blanket of clouds in the afternoon. High altitudes and low temperatures make for a slow development of the cherries, which shows in the rich cup profile of the coffee. It has a more pronounced winey cup profile than our regular Huehuetenango regional coffee, which is bright and crisp with a more balanced sweetness. Our exporter’s quality team specifically screens the coffees they take in at their mill on this particular cup profile, just because it is so specific. Producers get paid a premium for this profile, as the cup profile fetches a higher cup...

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Espresso: Ethiopia Guji Sasaba Natural

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Equipped with a large pulper and over 600 African drying beds, Sasaba processes coffee received from over 500 smallholders working in the hills surrounding the wet mill. Like much of Kercha, the small plots of land around Sasaba sit at high altitudes around the 2000-meter mark. The Sasaba smallholders are a mix of Gedeo and Guji farmers, many of whom have lived here for generations, growing coffee next to each other. Similar to the rest of Kercha district, most of the farmers identify as Protestant Christians in this area. Their coffee grows on the slopes of the hills around Sasaba shaded by a mix of existing forest trees and those planted by the farmers, such as enset (false banana) trees. The Sasaba mill makes it a point to work with the more experienced farmers in the area. These are farmers that have been well-trained and have proven that they consistently produce high-quality coffee. Working alone, it would be harder for these farmers to market and sell their coffee. In the past, they would have sold their freshly picked red cherries directly to private traders in the area at low rates. Now, the Sasaba washing station pays them a premium for their coffee (as long as it meets the quality standards of the mill). In fact, the coffee from ten of these farmers was individually processed by Sasaba and auctioned by Trabocca in 2018, earning the farmers even more for their produce. Tsegay Hagos knows that the success of the Sasaba mill is closely tied to that of the smallholders. “Wonberta does not grow alone”, he says, adding, “We support our farmers and train them, so they can one day export their own coffee.” The company has a very close relationship with the farmers who it works with, always ready to lend a helping hand – whether it means transportation for medical emergencies or loans during the lean months of the rainy season. “We are by their side, whatever happens”, says Tsegay, “and because of that, they are by ours”, he adds. This leads to a positive spiral, with both smallholder and mill benefiting from better coffee and better sales. After...

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Filter: Panama Lerida Pacamara Natural, Special Series

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Finca Lerida is a farm with a rich and unique history. Its founder, Tollef B. Monniche, came to Panama from Norway in 1907 to work as an engineer on the Panama Canal. Tollef retired in 1924, and bought a small farm in Boquete, Panama with his wife – the property was called “Lerida” after the city in Spain. He built a house and on the property, and went to work planting coffee trees as well as fruits and vegetables. He built a dam on the farm, to provide water to the coffee processing plant there, and also developed and patented a device, called the “Sifon” to separate ripe cherries from unripe ones. This device is still in use today, not only at Finca Lerida, but also on coffee farms worldwide. Today, Finca Lerida is run by the Chiari family, who coordinate coffee growing with surrounding rainforest preservation. It also houses a eco-tourism hotel, where patrons can take tours of the farm land and enjoy the ambiance of the rainforest. The farm sits at an altitude of 1600-1850 meters above sea level, and grows Caturra, Catuai, Pacamara, Bourbon and Geisha varietals, which are processed several ways. Pacamara is a cross breed between Pacas (Bourbon) and Maragogype (Typica) that was originally first from Nicaragua. You also have a Maracaturra variety that is a cross between Maragogype and Caturra. We had this last year from our friends at Finca Guadalupana. This coffee is a Black & Bloom Special series. We bought three coffees from Panama this year and this is the first one to...

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Filter: Kenya Kiangundo AA

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Kiangundo is a washing station (or factory, as they are called in Kenya) located in the Nyeri district in the municipality of Karatina. It is one of four washing stations (alongside its sisters Gachuiro, Ichuga and Kiamaina) owned by the Kiama Coffee Farmer’s Cooperative Society, which represents over 3000 producers in the region. Kiangundo washing station represents 690 of these members (520 male and 170 female). These producers have farms located at 1,700–1,950m above sea level. The main varieties of coffee grown in this region are SL-28 and -34, which account for 95% of all coffee produced. The region’s high altitude means that the coffee fruit is able to mature slowly, and this, combined with rich volcanic soil and careful processing, helps to highlight the inherent complex fruit flavours from the SL-28 and SL-34 varieties. Both cultivars have Bourbon and Moka heritage and are named after the laboratory that promoted their wider distribution in Kenya during the early 20th Century: Scott Laboratories. In addition to the SL28 and SL34 that are almost ubiquitous around Kenya, this lot contains around 5% of the Ruiru 11 variety. Thisvariety is slowly becoming more widespread in the region due to its resistance to Coffee Berry Disease and Coffee Leaf Rust and has been backcrossed with SL28 and SL34 to ensure high cup quality. Kiama was established in 2005 and is led by the Chairman Charles Ndamburi Ngure. Day-to-day operations and quality control at Kiangundo are overseen by Factory Manager Iddah Rose Wangui. Kiama receive assistance from Sucastainability, who are on the ground directly helping producers improve their productivity and quality through training and education programs. Their objective is to ensure sustained industry growth by establishing a transparent and trust-based relationships with small-holder producers. By helping them improve their quality, Sucastainability in turn improves the premiums the producers can be paid, which will ultimately have a positive impact on their quality of...

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