Red Beetle

Red Beetle

Red Beetle is our exporting partner in Mexico, and more recently in Peru. The name derives from the red Volkswagen Beetle that founder Thomas Pingen bought and converted into a mobile coffee lab, complete with sample roaster, miller, humidity reader, UV lights, grinders, cupping bowls and brewing equipment, alongside essentials for life on the road, including hammocks and a gas cooker.

Thomas, and his business partner Shaun, spent their formative years driving into the remote hills of Oaxaca, making contact with remote groups of producers. They found that in many instances the coffee had incredibly high potential, but due to their remote location, and a lack of infrastructure and expertise, they were only able to sell their coffee at low prices to local coyotes.

In tandem with the team at the Untao dry mill in Magdalena Apasco, and the representatives of the communities that they work with, Thomas and Shaun oversee a system of rigorous lot separation, analysis and sorting, resulting in high scoring lots that are able to command higher prices on the speciality coffee market. These include the lots from Yoloxochitlán and the Zapoteco group of producers based around Santo Domingo Cacalotepec, that feature consistently as part of our seasonal offering year on year.

In 2017 Thomas spent a season living and working with legendary producer Enriqué Lopez at Finca Chelín in Oaxaca’s Sierra Sur. Enriqué is renowned for his encyclopedic knowledge of coffee, and his work is focussed on growing rare varieties and experimental processing methods. He is a great ambassador for Oxacan coffee, sharing his findings with the wider coffee community, and showcasing the potential for coffees grown in the region. We are proud to showcase a small selection of Enriqué’s coffee each season, notable examples of which have included his red honey gesha, and washed harrar longberry.

Red Beetle also operates in Peru, this time in tandem with existing cooperatives such as CASIL in San Igancio, and Finca Churupampa in Chirinos. We have only just started to explore this relationship, but our overwhelmingly positive experience of working with Red Beetle in Mexico has left us with a thirst for more, and we’re extremely excited to see how this new relationship unfolds.

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