Our second offering from Peru, this one is an Organic bean, with a flavor profile of a classic South American roast, the one your mom and dad would have loved if third wave coffee existed back then. A mix of dark and milk chocolate, and caramelized sugar, are the clear flavor profiles with this Andes Mountain roast. There is nice secondary flavor of Turkish fig and Medjool dates, which makes for a nice balanced, if not mellow finish. If you aren’t quite ready for the bright, citrus flavors from Ethiopia, Kenya and Rwanda, this is the one to start with, especially if you take your mornings a little slow and easy.
These organic beans are grown in the Department of Cajamarca, located in the northwest of the country, in a town called San Ignacio. Cajamarca’s tradition of producing coffee beans dates to the 18th century, when coffee was first brought to the area to be grown. Located at between 4,500 to 5,100 feet in elevation, the town is charmingly known as the “land of coffee, honey and natural forests”. Interestingly, the town is located at nearly the identical distance from the equator as Ethiopian and Colombian coffee, albeit on the southern side of the divide.
Rumibamba is a washed process bean. The ripest cherries are selected by the over 2,400, typically small co-operative farmer/members of CENFRO. The small scale nature of most of the farmers results in manual de-pulping, home-built dryers and roadside parchment drying beds throughout the region of plantations.
Our first honey process since we sold out of a Peruvian honey just over a year ago, what a delight this visitor from the mountains of Costa Rica is. In between a natural and washed process, Aguilera Yellow produces flavor notes of orange, nectarine, cranberry with a pleasant sugary molasses finish. Those with very refined or sensitive palates may pick up berry, passionfruit and floral notes as well.
The beans come from the hilly areas south of Costa Rica, closer to the Pacific Ocean, at an elevation of around 4,500 feet, in a tiny sliver called the West Valley. Farmed on a 150 acre piece of land that is owned by a family of 12 called the Aguilera Brothers (which also consists of some sisters), the average of 150 days of rain helps produce consistently great coffee. The farm extends into some very remote and inaccessible areas, which is part of why they hire 50+ workers each year to help with the harvest, all from the same local families each year, and paying a higher than average wage for the industry in the area.
Honey process is accomplished by a de-pulping of the cherry fruit, so that most of it is gone, however it isn’t washed afterward, leaving behind a sticky mucilage that is very honey-like in texture and taste. The coffee is then turned regularly to keep the mucilage consistent and sticking to the bean. This farm dries its coffee on tarps along a soccer pitch they built for the local community and its workers, making for happy workers and coffee beans that have something to look at as they dry their way into your grinder and cup.
Yet another wonderful Ethiopian natural process, and Organic to boot. Satiny milk chocolate leads the way, with a clear caramel and brown sugar thread, followed by very subtle notes of dried blueberry and cherry, without any strong citrus appearance or high acidity.
These beans come from the Burka Gudina Estate, located in the Limmu Kosa district, within the Jimma Zone of Ethiopia. The farm is run by Ibrahim Hussein, a third generation coffee farmer in the area, and is marked by gentle, rolling, forested hills that range from 1,800 – 2,000 meters.
These natural process beans are dried in the sun before processing, at which point the mucilage is scrubbed off, but still leaving behind some of the dried cherry, the latter being a key component to the sweet, rich flavor of natural process coffees such as this one.
Our first natural process from Guatemala, it has lower acidity than the Ethiopian naturals, while still having a fruity profile. Blackberry, mango are the first flavors we picked up, with guava, red currant following and just the most subtlest of chocolate coming through as the cup cooled. It feels like an Ethiopian natural without the acidity or strong citrus profile.
These beans come from the southeastern part of Guatemala, in a very rural, inaccessible, mountainous area above Laguna de Ayarza (locally known as “Blue Lake”), where there are less than 10 homes in total around its perimeter. Cold, deep and pristine, the lake is said to be formed by two massive volcanoes that collapsed into a large crater, parts of the bottom having never been found. The beloved lake is part of legendary folklore for the locals. Because natural process coffee beans have more rigorous requirements, only those grown in the 5,500-6,000 elevation are selected.
Due to the hilly conditions where the beans are grown, the natural process beans are transported to a neighboring region where there is flatter land available for drying them in the sun, with sufficient breezes to blow over them. Laid out in layers of 3-4″ deep, they are dried for 5-6 days while being constantly turned during the day. The cherries go from red or yellow to purple, and then black. They are then finished for a half a day in mechanical dryers, this final process helping to control the acidity and ensure a final dry process without any pesky rain showers that may cause re-absorption of rainwater.