Ethiopia Koke is back!

We did run out of the Koke two weeks ago, and now it is back. The beautiful balance of lemon and sweet red notes can be yours again.

Updates CoE Roast Dates

Hello all. I just noticed that I published the wrong next roast date for our CoE coffees. We will be closed on Monday 2/21/11 for holiday. We will roast all CoE orders on Tuesday 2/22/11. Sorry about that.

Cup of Excellence Coffees available!

We are very proud to introduce a variety of Cup of Excellence coffees!  Now available in 12 oz bags and roasted fresh each Monday.  We have an array of delicious options to choose from, featuring theEl Salvador Lot#: 11 Luis Alonso Araujo Padilla – La Pinera, Honduras Lot#: 8 Ezri Moisés Herrera Urizar – Las Amazonas, Nicaragua Lot#: 8 Gonzalo Adán Castillo Moreno – Las Flores, and Rwanda Lot#: 5 Nzabonimpa Damascene – Kopakama.

For a taste of these remarkable coffees along with Susie Spindler, Executive Director with the Alliance for Coffee Excellence / Cup of Excellence program, stop by Berkli Parc this Thursday at 1:00.

Las Amazonas Honduras CoE #8

Continued advancements in Honduran coffee growing and processing, along with the incentives and recognition offered by the annual Cup of Excellence competition, are the genesis for more and more great coffees coming out of this nation. We’re delighted to offer the #8 selection from the 2010 Honduras Cup of Excellence, a tart lime tweak on a rich, spicy stonefruit base.

While Honduras shares many attributes of good soil, high altitude and temperate climate with its neighbors, coffees from Honduras have often suffered from poor processing and lack of exporting infrastructure. Luckily, these factors have begun to change; events like the Cup of Excellence (CoE), first held in Honduras in 2004, have helped create incentives for producers to pay closer attention to cup quality, which has improved dramatically over the last five years. At the 2010 Honduras CoE, Dallis Bros Coffee had a seat at the judging table and we were happy to see so many unique and truly beautiful coffees.

Las Amazonas ranked 8th in the 2010 competition. When farmer Ezri Moisés Herrera Urizar arrived to the La Paz region of Honduras in 1992, he believed the climate and soil were right to grow excellent coffee. Using his life savings, he purchased some coffee farms that were in need of improvement and some unplanted land, currently he and his wife Marysabel Caballero have about 28 hectares, either in production or still developing. About 90% of it is planted with Catuai, though Urizar has been experimenting with planting Bourbon in shadier sections of his land, which is between 4,750 and 5,500 feet above sea level.

The farm has its own wet mill with a de-pulper, fermentation tanks, washing area, drying patios and mechanical dryers.The mill uses water and gravity channels to help separate coffee cherries by density. The farm also has its own storage area to rest the coffee before its transported to a dry mill for final preparation and sale. All this care and attention at every step along the coffee’s journey from seed to packaging for export really pays off in the cup. Cup of Excellence judges describing it as having notes of rich dark chocolate, with a caramel-y sweetness and a spicy, dried apricot nose. The soft lime acidity is perfectly balanced by a velvety, round body.

Kenya Tegu

Tegu is a rather big deal in terms of Kenyan coffee. The Factory is award winning for quality. The sample of this coffee arrived in great shape. The green, un-roasted beans, looked promising. When, Byron our Coffee Director, put it through the sample roaster, lemon-bar aromas were outstanding. On a table of great Kenyan coffees the Tegu stood out above the rest. We are proud to offer this coffee for the next few months. Buy it while you can.

Kenya is split between three different altitude regions. Low, Medium and High. It is only the Medium altitude that has two crops in one year. The High altitude has only one crop and it is often called the main crop because that is when the Medium and High zones harvest coffee. This coffee comes from the High zone and has been well protected by vacuum sealed packaging.

To understand why Kenyan coffee is so expensive one must first understand how the coffee gets from the tree to the roaster. Start with the coffee farms, there are two categories: Estates which are 2.5 hectares (6.2 acres) or larger or Small Holders which have between 50 coffee trees and a few thousand. A small holder is not allowed to mill their own coffee, by law. They must deliver their coffee at cherry to a mill where it will be sorted for quality and the farmer is paid on the spot. Estates are allowed to mill their own coffee.

Milling coffee involves taking ripe coffee berries (called cherries) and pealing them in a machine. Then the pealed coffee is called mucilage coffee. The bean and fruit are left intact in mucilage coffee.  Natural fermentation occurs over a period of about 12-72 hours. The processed sugars are washed off with clean water and this stops the fermentation. After this stage, the coffee is usually sorted in a washing channel and then soaked for 24 hours. Finally the pristine coffee is taken from the last tank to the drying beds. At this drying stage the coffee is called parchment coffee. The parchment is usually categorized as P1, P2 and P3. P1 being the highest grade coffee that typically yeilds the AA and AB grades. By the way AA and AB are only sizes. AA is bigger and AB is slightly smaller. Truth be told some Kenya AB’s taste better than the AA lots because the smaller sizes add more complexity to the cup. This Tegu is one of those. . . it is an AB.

Once the coffee is fully dried, usually in the sun in Kenya, it must be sold. At this point a marketing agent helps the co-op or estate to mill the coffee and bring it to auction. The marketing agent plays a major and important role in the auction. They often mill the coffee, send it to a certified warehouse, they handle the money, and they are the farmer advocate.

Auctions happen on Tuesdays. When there is lots of coffee, like now, the Auction happens every Tuesday. Buyers pay top dollar for Kenyan coffees because they are buying a product that is limited and they had one week to taste the product. Lots in the auction range from 3 to 150 bags. So when a great coffee goes up for bid, all the major buyers are keen to push their red button and snag a winner.

This coffee is no exception.

SUMATRA Fair Trade Organic

Lively and sparked, we love the clean, effervescent dynamics of our coffee from Sumatra. Coffees from this prolific region are known for an intensely rich, often fruity depth, and we’ve sought out the best from Sumatra’s small farming cooperatives to offer you this fully certified Fair Trade Organic coffee.

Sumatra is an interesting island nestled among the thousands of islands that make up Indonesia. Each is massive in size and diverse in profile. Fortunately for the coffee drinker, they all produce wonderful coffee. Sumatra, Java and Sulawesi are each major producers of coffee. One fact unique to Sumatra is that its farms harvest coffee ten months out of the year.  This provides a steady flow from a great cash crop – coffee – almost year-round. Most of the coffee from Sumatra comes from small farmers, that means they are delivering small quantities of coffee cherries or parchment year round to collectors, which process the cherries and sell the parchment. This makes tracing coffee back to the individual farmers near impossible.

We chose to work with cooperatives in the northern point of the island to produce our Fair Trade Organic Sumatra Coffee. This region is called Aceh. The 2010-2011 coffee harvest has been plagued with almost every type of adversity: natural disaster, low production because of irregular rains, poor quality, and most recently corruption and fraud in shipping coffee. These recent challenges have pushed us at Dallis Bros. Coffee to find quality Fair Trade Sumatra coffees where we can. This means we will be buying from a few different co-ops until the market stabilizes.

At the cupping table we call this coffee wild but clean. Every cup is fruity with hints of chocolate and a soft buzzing acidity.


Buy coffee from Sumatra here.

FINCA LIQUIDAMBAR

This past year Dallis Bros Coffee had a seat at the judging table in the Honduras Cup of Excellence Competition. The competition environment is always incredible because in some cases a coffee that one group of judges falls in love with does not gain as much favor with another group, which can cost a given coffee a spot in the top final round. Reina Mercedes Claros celebrated last year when her Finca Liquidambar coffee placed 15th overall. Fortunately we were there when the same farm produced a coffee that we thought should have been in the top ten, but fell just one place out of the top finalists in the country. Reina Mercedes Claros found this 7 or so hectare farm in rough shape when she took it over just four years ago, but clearly her hard work has brought incredible results. Reaching national and international acclaim with consistently impressive outcomes at Cup of Excellence has solidified her family’s place amongst the finest coffee farmers in the country. She has 10 workers (8 are family members) all year round and about 30 workers during harvest that she brings from a nearby community.

Pruning is done manually with a macheteand shade is provided by the Liquidambar (sweetgum), Pine, Zapotillo, Eucaliptus, Prunes, Guamo, Guanijiquil, Banana, Lime, and Cedar trees that grow on the farm.
The department of Intibuca is home to the majority of the country’s native ”lenca” population (the indigenous Indians of Honduras) and boasts of some of the most temperate and fertile land in Central America. The area is picturesque with abundant pristine mountain water and air, with breath-taking cloud forest views. Due to these conditions, as well as the agrarian lifestyle of the Lencas, Intibuca produces about 80% of the vegetable produce of Honduras as well as some of the world’s finest cloud forest coffee. This Cup of Excellence National Award Winner is absolutely delicious, with a sweet flavor laden with papaya, peach, honey, cinnamon, cardamom, brown sugar, and pear like acidity. The body is creamy and smooth. Thank you to Reina Mercedes Claros and her family for producing this wonderful coffee.