We’ve long been fans of coffee from this part of Honduras, incorporating it into our favorite blends. But Jose Isidro Lara’s prolific, organic farm begged to be highlighted as a single origin coffee, with all the sweet, tangy complexity that can open minds about coffee.
Jose Isidro Lara is an attentive farmer. He loves his coffee trees, but he hates dirt. He’s as fastidious about his patios as he is passionate about coffee. When we visited his farm well after the harvest season, his patio and wet mill remained spotless, like they had been scrubbed the day before.
We asked Jose how he processed his coffee: animatedly talking a million miles an hour, he detailed every step of picking, sorting, fermenting, washing, cleaning, and all the other steps important to Specialty Coffee. He stressed that the slightest degradation in his coffee would pull it off his export list — he would rather sell a coffee locally or not at all than damage his relationships with his buyers in an international market.
The farms in this region, specifically in the town of Capucas, where Jose’s farm and mill are located, are typically very productive and totally organic. The rich black soil, rainfall, and altitude are just perfect for coffee.
Traditionally, the coffee that Dallis Bros. Coffee has purchased from this region is sold in our Red Den and Unisphere blends. After meeting Jose and tasting his coffee it was clear that we needed to highlight this particular farmer and his hard work. His enthusiasm shines in the cup, and so does ours.
Importing coffee from its birthplace, Ethiopia, has become a particular art in the modern age of regulated commodities. Dallis Bros. works closely with trusted pros within the country to help us access the best of the classic, red-berry, huge fruit coffees its growers are most known for, like this one we call Ardi.
Ethiopia is a land of legend, whether it’s the discovery of coffee or the unearthing of a 4.4-million-year-old prehuman fossil nicknamed Ardi. Our friend Samuel Demisse, who has a personal relationship to this mill, began importing this beautifully processed natural coffee from the Guji region around the same time that Ardi-the-skeleton was recognized, and thus his spectacular coffee is named in tribute.
About 60 miles south of the famous small town of Yirgacheffe there is a town called Hagere Maryam. All of the Ardi coffee comes from one mill in this town. Starting next year there will be two more additional mills buying and processing coffee for Samuel.
This is a natural processed coffee, which helps to yield the super typical blueberry and strawberry flavors that are found in the cup. In order to control the drying process of this coffee it is first dried for two weeks on raised beds in the sun. There are several women who clean the coffee as it dries. Any under-ripe cherry (green in color) stands in stark contrast to all the red cherries on the bed. All the under-ripe cherries are removed, and after two weeks, the coffee is set to dry on a concrete patio.
Demisse, who now lives in the United States, comes from a family of coffee producers. His father owned a mill in Ethiopia and a farm as well. Samuel grew up picking coffee and attending coffee ceremonies, and has been selling fine Ethiopian coffees to Dallis Bros. for years now.
A citric-yet-savory coffee with great presence in the cup, El Lagulito is the product of both two special coffees, and our continued interest in rediscovering the huge potential in coffees often overlooked in the Dominican Republic. We’re excited to offer this beautiful blend from farms in two of the best coffee-growing regions in the country.
Nowadays, it’s rare to see Dominican Coffee offered on a roaster’s single origin offering sheet. But in the 1950s, the Dominican Republic was one of the major coffee producers for the United States coffee market. Times have changed.
Our Coffee Director, Byron Holcomb, has particular expertise in the Dominican Republic, having lived there — and owning his own coffee farm there. Through his firsthand experience and his contacts in the DR, Byron has been able to both find great coffees and tell their stories.
El Lagulito is classified as one kind of coffee, Tipo Juncalito, because it meets the elevation and cup characteristics required for this well-known Dominican region. But it comes from two different towns, Las Lagunas and Juncalito. The coffee from Las Lagunas has a brighter, orange-driven acidity while Juncalito has a peach acidity and a bigger body. Both are great on their own. However we decided to combine them, because as they were blended they tasted really beautiful together. The sum of the parts is truly greater than the whole on this one.
Both coffees were picked ripe, fermented and then washed and patio dried. The coffee from Las Lagunas comes from one of the highest growing altitudes in the region, which many say contributes to the coffee’s acidity. Warm tasting notes of cedar are also found, a perfect expression of the romantic cedar trees that shade the region’s coffee trees.
Join us for a tour of our coffee roasting factory and tasting room in Ozone Park, Queens!
Our next tour is Saturday, January 7th beginning at 1:00 and wrapping up at about 4:00. Space on the tour is limited so book now at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tours are $10, and due to the tasting component we ask that all participants show up perfume and cologne free! If you have any questions feel free to call our office during business hours, (718) 845-3010.
We have offered this special coffee for two years. It comes from the farm of one of our own: Byron Holcomb, our Director of Coffee. Finca La Paz’s name was inspired by the two years that Byron lived in Los Fríos, Dominican Republic, as a Peace Corps Volunteer (Cuerpo de Paz in Spanish). Nearly six years ago, Byron purchased the farm from an old friend. Some things have changed in Los Fríos in those years, and some things haven’t. The community still doesn’t have electricity, and the running water only comes once a day.
Coffee takes a long time to grow from a seed to a fruit. Usually there is a 4 year gap between planting and the first real harvest. Finca La Paz was basically abandoned when it was purchased, but is already showing its great potential. This year’s crop is even better than last year, owing to the lack of rain during the drying season and the attention to detail during the fertilizing and harvesting from farm manager Antonio.
Over the next few years, Byron will plant a specific percentage of the farm with Typica, Red Caturra and Yellow Catuai based on cupping experiments here at Dallis Bros. Almost every process has been tried on the farm. The best result was a dry fermentation, washed and then dried on raised beds and finished on a patio. This particular lot incorporates that process, as well as a small amount of natural processed coffee, mixed in for flavor complexity. We love this as both espresso and as drip coffee.
Each day of December up until Christmas, buy a bag of whole bean coffee for $2.25 off the list price at our Union Square Pop-Up!
We miss the joys of tearing open little cardboard doors each day of December to reveal terrible, waxy chocolate treats shaped like snowmen (or worse, squares), and as such are turning such fancies to more grown-up delights and sharing them with you, the coffee lover.
For each day of our market in December, 2011, Dallis Bros. will celebrate by offering daily specials bags of whole bean coffee—perfect to get you through the holidays, or to give as a gift! We’ll announce each morning on Twitter and Facebook which of our coffees is on sale that day at our Union Square Holiday Market booth here in New York City. And just to get you that much more motivated to get your shopping done, we’ve made the discount meaningful and covered your subway fare to the market.
Dallis Bros. Coffee has partnered with the great folks at Just Food to help connect farmers and gardeners in the city with all the resources they can get their mitts on. We’re donating chaff, coffee and burlap sacks from our coffee factory absolutely free to anyone who wants to put them to use in their farm or garden.
Though the resources are free, we ask that you arrange pickup in advance so that we can be ready to have things set aside for you. Check out our link on Just Food and all the other great resources available there, and stop by for a few buckets of chaff!
Join us for a tour of our coffee roasting factory and tasting room in Ozone Park, Queens!
The first Saturday of each month we offer a few hours of local history, coffee tasting, and a tour de force of our roasting plant hosted by our Coffee Director Byron Holcomb.
Our next tour is Saturday, December 3rd beginning at 1:00 and wrapping up at about 4:00. Space on the tour is limited so book now at email@example.com. Tours are $10, and due to the tasting component we ask that all participants keep perfumes and colognes at home. We look forward to seeing you soon.
Though we no longer require our sales team to travel via horse and buggy, our coffees wouldn’t make it out onto the streets of New York City and beyond without them. From specialty food stores to cafes to fine dining, our talented sales staff are the link between the roastery and your cup. Meet Sue Fawver, who left behind her first love, the music industry, for a beautiful relationship with coffee.
Where did you grow up?
Portland, Oregon. Good coffee credentials.
How long have you been at Dallis Bros.?
Almost 4.5 years. I made a decision to change careers about 10 years ago, I was in the music industry for years, working for indie record labels. I worked for Watermelon records in Austin, TX and worked for Shanachie here. My specialty was American roots music. But with the music industry being what it is, and watching everything start to change, it occurred to me that I was going to be pretty much extinct.
My other big passion has always been specialty foods and coffee, and I was a fan of Whole Foods in Austin, and they had a career development program. So I got into the career development program in specialty foods, and made my way into being the coffee buyer with the Union Square store, I set that department up. And in the process of setting that department up, they were actively looking for local coffee roasters. I was working there one night and a guy came in peeking around the open barrels of coffee and it turned out he was with Dallis Bros. coffee, and he took me out to the plant and I got samples and I just fell in love with the place. It’s been great! And having been a field rep before, in music, this is great for me, because I’m accustomed to going into businesses and working with them, figuring out what they need. Plus I’m just permanently curious, so I love to poke my nose into anything! I don’t have any problems with knocking on doors. I’m in so many different environments every single week.
What are the biggest challenges in your job?
Oh boy. Keeping up with learning all the new things, definitely. Scheduling is a constant challenge with this kind of job, because there are so many things pulling at you all the time. I want to be focusing on customers, I want to be out at the plant learning things about our single origin coffees, and pourover methods. That’s probably the most challenging part is balancing all that. And the fact that green coffee prices have gone up so dramatically, trying to make all of that stuff that we’re passionate about into a viable business decision for people is really challenging.
What’s the funnest thing about your job?
It’s so hard to pick, the most fun thing is really the coffee, to be honest. When you get the chance to really cup coffee—going to origin and seeing the coffee in Brazil, that was tremendously exciting. The other thing about coffee that’s so great is that you never really learn everything, it’s just a constant ongoing process. I feel like I’m never going to master everything about coffee. There’s constantly new things to learn and new things to practice.
And it’s so interesting culturally, whenever get to meet people—we just had a guy from Ethiopia drop by—interfacing with these people and just seeing what’s going on with coffee in their lives.
What’s your favorite thing about Ozone Park>
What’s your favorite coffee right now, and how do you like to prepare it?
Right this second—can I pick two? The Honduras Las Amazones, the CoE winner, done as a pourover with a Bonmac, single-cup, becuase it turns out really nice and clean and brings out the qualities of that coffee. And then surprisingly, I was cupping a table of dark roasts, and the La Tacita dark was killer! And it’s great in a French press. You get that kind of nice rich siltiness, it’s not dark enough that it’s charcoally at all, it has nice dried fruit tones to it. Really yummy, that.