|Origin||90 female farmers affiliated to Kirindera Washing Station, North Kivu, D R Congo|
|Variety||Blue Mountain, Katwai, Rumangaboo
|Notes||Golden Raisin, Blood Orange, Strawberry
Don Santa is back, and this year he has brought us a delicious coffee from a group of female producers in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
The Virunga National Park is one of the most bio-diverse places on the planet, and is home to one-third of the world’s last remaining mountain gorillas. The region has been deeply impacted by armed conflict and poaching over the past 20 years, and a small group of brave park rangers are charged with protecting the park, as powerfully documented in the Netflix film Virunga.
The National Park believes that the economic well-being of the people of North Kivu and the conservation of the park go hand in hand. With plentiful sunshine and rainfall, a temperate climate, volcanic soils, and altitudes rising to over 2,000m, the land bordering the park - including the Rwenzori Mountains and the uplands to the north-west of Lake Edward - has the potential to grow some of the finest arabica coffee in the world.
Through the Virunga Alliance the National Park is investing in a number of initiatives to promote the economic regeneration of the region. Significant investment is being made to increase the quantity and quality of the coffee produced in the region, including upgrades to washing station infrastructure, training in good agricultural practices, and the installation of cupping labs.
The farmers in the region are affiliated to two vibrant, young cooperatives - Kawa Kanzaruru on the western flanks of the Rwenzori mountains, and Coopade in the highlands to the north-west of Lake Edward. Of Coopade’s 4,518 members, 38% are women. Its Women’s Section was founded in July 2016 with the objective of allowing female coffee farmers to control and develop their own production through the whole chain, from production to export.
The Women’s Section has built seven of the fifteen Coopade washing stations to date, including the Kirindera washing station that this particular lot comes from.
90 female farmers have contributed to the lot, and they have named it the Kirindera Women’s Peace Coffee for reasons best explained by cooperative member Gisele Kahindo:
“It’s because of the atrocities that have been committed and which continue to be committed in Eastern Congo. It’s so that by growing coffee women can say no to what is happening – and in particular by employing young people we can provide them with an alternative so that they are no longer drawn to join the armed groups that are destabilizing Virunga National Park. We want to see peace for everyone living in D R Congo, and above all for those living on the borders of the Virunga National Park”.
In the cup it is a bright and warming coffee, with a beautiful syrupy texture, and notes of golden raisin, blood orange and strawberry.
|Origin||Finca Casa Vieja, Puyango, Loja, Ecuador|
Lucas Leonidas Vera Galarza
|Variety||Typica Mejorado, Caturra|
|Notes||Fudge, Toffee, Stewed Apple|
We were so impressed by our first Ecuadorian coffee, courtesy of Grace Morales from Finca Cruz Loma, that we had to go back for more. This particular lot is comprised of typica mejorado and caturra grown by Lucas Leonidas Vera Galarza on his four hectare plot at Finca Casa Vieja. Lucas is a member of a group of 44 smallholder farmers based in the mountains of El Limo in Ecuador's Loja province. Proving that first time round was no accident, Lucas has knocked it out of the park by producing a coffee that is utterly delicious. In the cup it has a beautiful creamy body and silky mouthfeel that is complemented by notes of fudge, toffee and stewed apple.
We like it so much that we felt it worthy of launching our new box packaging! The idea here, apart from just having a bit of fun creating beautiful things, is to differentiate our shorter run coffees, so if you like the look of this one you'd best get your orders in quick before it all runs out!
The boxes themselves are made here in the UK from FSC certified recyclable card, and the bags inside are made from the same Biotre 1.0 material that our other bags are made of. The card insert acts as a record of the coffee, and includes all the key information, including origin, variety, process and altitude. There is also a QR code linked to the product page on the website where you can find more detailed information about the coffee.
These have been a long time in the making, and we couldn't be happier with how they have turned out. We are so excited to be able to finally share them with you all, and hope you like them (and the coffee inside!) as much as we do!
|Origin||Suke Quto Farm, Shakiso, Guji, Oromia, Ethiopia|
|Certification||EU Organic, Rainforest Alliance|
|Notes||Black Tea, Cola, Honeydew Melon
|Journey||Follow Suke Quto's journey here|
Suke Quto, one of our favourite and most-loved coffees, is back... but not as you know it! Over the course of the last couple of years, huge efforts have been made by our importing partner Trabocca, in collaboration with Fairfood, to improve the traceability of this coffee.
The Suke Quto farm was set up by Tesfaye Bekele following a bushfire in the area. In order to conserve the remaining forest he distributed coffee and shade-tree seedlings amongst the local community, and recruited out-growers to replant the forest. The out-growers harvest the coffee each year, and deliver it to the Suke Quto Farm for processing.
This year we are able to tell you the name of each of the 278 contributing out-growers, how much coffee each of them delivered to the farm, and how much they were paid for it. You can also see details of the coffee's subsequent journey to Trabocca's storage facility in Holland, its last port of call before onward shipment to ourselves.
With a background in agronomy, horticulture and quality-control, producing sustainable, high-quality coffee is at the heart of Tesfaye's operation. The coffee is EU Organic and Rainforest Alliance certified, and the farm participates in Trabocca’s “Cherry Red” scheme that rewards farmers for hard work and innovation.
As always, the coffee itself is absolutely delicious. In the cup it is super clean, and reminds us of black tea, cola, and honeydew melon. When it comes to meeting our guiding principles of quality, traceability and sustainability, it doesn't get much better than this!
|Origin||Finca Potosi, Granja La Esperanza, Caicedonia, Valle De Cauca, Colombia|
White Grape, Mango, Retsina
Colombia's Granja La Esperanza is renowned worldwide for its experimental and competition winning coffees. Sweet Valley, a natural-processed colombia variety from Finca Potosi, was one of our favourite coffees last year, so we are delighted to be able to offer it to you for a second year running. If possible, it is even tastier this year - clean, syrupy, and absolutely bursting with fruit flavour. In the cup it reminds us of white grape, mango and retsina.
Finca Potosi started life in 1930 when Israel Correa and Carmen Rosa Vega arrived in Caicedonia by mule from Armenia in the neighbouring department of Quindio seeking unoccupied land. They acquired the land on which Finca Potosi now stands for 4,000 Pesos (about $1.15 USD at the time), and started to plant arabica coffee. Israel and Carmen had fourteen children, and of those children it was their daughter Blanca and her husband Juan Antonio Herrera that were assigned to work on the farm in 1945. Today, Rigoberto Herrera continues the family tradition. Finca Potosi now has 188,725 coffees trees spread over 52 hectares. The farm is split into 10 lots and grows sidra, mandela, san juan, castillo and colombia varieties.
In Don Rigoberto's own words, "I see Café Granja La Esperanza contributing to what we all want in Colombia and the world. The contribution to peace, creating jobs, giving support and good treatment to the people who work in the countryside... That is the future of Café Granja La Esperanza, sowing peace, development and education for people".
|Origin||Smallholders of Sierra Sur de Oaxaca, Oaxaca, Mexico|
Golden Syrup, Tangerine, Vanilla
I have been looking forward to sharing this coffee with you for a while. I used to live very close to an amazing taqueria in London called... Taqueria! I fell in love with the vibrant, complex flavours of Mexican cuisine, the rich culture... and the margaritas! Over the ensuing years my obsession with Mexico has grown and grown. A wonderful episode of The Food Programme awakened me to the unbelievable work of Diana Kennedy in documenting Mexico's food heritage. Oaxaca in particular has a special place in my mind as a cornucopia of deliciousness, so when the opportunity to purchase some organically grown coffee from Oaxaca came along, I grabbed it with both hands as an opportunity to immerse myself even more in this fascinating culture.
This particular lot comes from 11 smallholder farmers in the Sierra Sur region of Oaxaca. The coffee is named after Monte Alban, a large pre-Colombian Zapotec ruin that can be seen from the coffee farms hidden in the surrounding Sierra Sur mountains. Coffee growers from this region have been producing coffee for more than three generations in a very traditional, and mostly organic way. This particular lot is certified EU organic. The coffee is fully washed in micro-mills at each farm and is then sun dried on patios and raised beds.
In the cup it is clean and sweet, and reminds us of golden syrup, tangerine and vanilla. If you enjoy it as much as we do, then, once it's safe to do so, I suppose I'll just have to go over there and find some more!
8 Smallholder Farmers of Pitalito, Huila, Colombia
|Process||Washed, Natural Sugar Cane EA Decaffeination|
|Variety||Caturra, Castillo, Colombia|
Milk-Chocolate, Honeycomb, Berries
Our current decaf is comprised of nine lots from eight smallholder farmers located in the Pitalito area of Colombia's Huila Department. The coffee is hand-sorted and processed on each farm before being sent to Descafecol in Manizales for decaffeination by way of the Natural Sugar Cane EA Process. This process involves placing the coffee in a solution of water and ethyl acetate, a naturally occuring compound derived through the fermentation of sugar cane. Aside from resulting in the tastiest decaf coffee we have tried to date, this process also has the best sustainability credentials in comparison to other decaffeination processes that we are aware of. The carbon footprint is kept to a minimum, with the solvent being derived from the domestic sugar cane industry, and the process occuring within Colombia (as opposed to Europe or North America). This also benefits the domestic economy.
In the cup the coffee is clean and sweet with notes of milk-chocolate, honeycomb and delicate berries.
Smallholder Farmers of San Antonio Huista, Huehuetenango, Guatemala
|Variety||Caturra, Catuai, Bourbon|
Dark-Chocolate, Plum, Nougat
The Lake District Search & Mountain Rescue Association (LDSAMRA) provides a vital service here in the Lake District, helping injured and stricken hikers to safety from some of the most remote and precarious places in the country. The vast majority of incidents are safely resolved but there are inevitably a number of fatalities, and without the help of LDSAMRA this number would be much higher.
In order to carry out their work LDSAMRA rely on a team of brave and highly trained volunteers. We are friends with a number of them so are well aware of the great work that they do and the importance of donations to provide them with the kit necessary to do their job effectively.
With this in mind, we donate £1 per kilo of Mountain Rescue sold to LDSAMRA.**
Our current Mountain Rescue coffee is grown by six smallholder farmers based around the town of San Antonio Huista in Guatemala's famed Huehuetenango region, and has been sourced via our importing partner Primavera.
Primavera was set up by Nadine Rasch who grew up in Guatemala and whose family have had a coffee farm there for four generations. After studying finance in London, Nadine ended up working for a commodities fund where she saw the price for commodity coffee drop sharply. She came to realise that the only way to maintain stable prices for coffee was through quality. After working for one year with speciality coffee importers Mercanta, she moved back to Guatemala to gain experience of how things worked on the ground.
Most of Guatemala's highest quality coffees come from the Huehuetenango region. This is a very remote area of Guatemala, and the farmers' traditional route to market has been through local coyotes who mix all the coffee they collect together a pay the 'market' price. This model leaves no incentive for farmers to practice methods that result in higher quality coffee, such as selective picking and better post-harvest processing. It is Nadine and Primavera's mission to change this. They want to educate farmers to produce better coffee that gives them access to the speciality coffee market, higher prices for their product and a more stable future.
This group of smallholder farmers are just some of the beneficiaries of Primavera's work. They are able to use the premium paid by Primavera to reinvest in their farms and wet mills in the hope of achieving higher yields and better quality coffee in the years to come. The coffee is washed in wet mills on each of the farms then sun-dried on patios. The dried parchment coffee is then transported to Nadine's family farm at Finca el Hato where it is sorted, dry-milled and packed for onward transport to ourselves.
Tree Dried Natural
Dark Chocolate, Double Cream, Walnut
Penny Rock is our Great Taste Award winning coffee from Daterra, one of the most pioneering and inspirational farms in the world. Named in homage to a beauty spot on the shores of Grasmere, our spiritual home, we select Penny Rock from seasonal crop to deliver a cup of coffee that bears all the classic hallmarks of coffee from the Cerrado Mineiro region of Brazil. The coffee is well-developed during the roast to accentuate body and sweetness, but is tempered to allow its character room to shine through and express itself in the cup.
I visited Daterra in June 2019 and was truly blown away by not just the scale of the farm, but by the care and level of detail with which it is managed, and the genuine focus on sustainability and quality that permeates everything that they do. Amongst numerous other accolades, in 2015 Daterra was awarded Prêmio Fazenda Sustentável (Most Sustainable Farm) from Globo Rural, Brazil’s foremost agricultural publication, and in March 2018 it became the world’s first farm to receive Level A certification from Rainforest Alliance. To see this implemented on the ground was a truly inspirational experience, and one that makes me incredibly proud to offer their coffee.
Moonshine is something of a lucky dip. It may be an experimental blend that we are keen to get feedback on. It may be a coffee that we contracted a little too much of and we need a bit of help getting through. It may be a coffee that is more than ten days past roast date, but in reality is still perfectly delicious, and arguably still to hit its prime. Whatever it is, it will always be speciality grade coffee sourced in adherence with all of our usual principles. We keep a record of each batch, so if you really like the batch you receive, and want to know what it is, just drop us a line and we'll be happy to tell you.
We scoured the market to find the best looking, highest quality enamel mugs we could find, and we think the results speak for themselves. A damn fine vessel worthy of holding damn fine coffee!