Mikuba – Burundi

Photo by : Long Miles Coffee Project, Burundi

FLAVOR NOTES:
Ripe citrus fruits, strawberry, rose petal, green apple

Farm : Multiple small farms
Washing Station : Heza
Variety : Red Bourbon

Process : Natural
Region : Kayanza
Micro-region : Mikuba Hill
Altitude (masl) : 1850-2057m
Harvest Method : Handpicking

This coffee, as all our coffees from Burundi, comes from the Long Miles Coffee Project. A remarkable farmer-focused initiative by a small American family who is truly a source of inspiration and an example where perseverance,  hard work, risk-taking and having love toward people can take you.

Kristy and Ben Carlson started out with a dream to facilitate direct relationships between roasters and farmers, and as a result better the quality of coffee and the lives of the farmers. After a while of sourcing coffee around Burundi the Carlson’s decided to build their own washing station. This seemed like the only way to gain total control over coffee quality and the processing as well as making sure the farmers get good compensation for all their hard work.

Their washing station, Heza has a total of 2500 farmers delivering coffee and over 150 employees to produce the best quality coffee possible. They have one team that is responsible for the cherry selection, quality monitoring, farmer reception, and coffee production. Another, female-driven team taking responsibility for extensive quality control and artisanal curation of coffee parchment.

Natural Processing

Natural Processing or dry process, as it’s also known means that coffee cherries are dried as a whole. With the flesh and mucilage of the cherry still intact to the bean. This kind of method is the original way of processing coffee beans and has its backgrounds in Ethiopia. It may take up to 4 weeks before the cherries reach their desired moisture content. After this, the now leather like flesh of the cherry is hulled off the beans before they are ready to be sorted.

Natural processing often enhances the sweet, ripe fruit flavors of coffee. It is also the most eco-friendly way of processing because it requires the least amount of water. If not monitored properly this method has the potential to create defects and unwanted flavors. But when done correctly the results can be quite remarkable.

Heza is a great place for natural and honey processing because of the station’s fantastic conditions and the amount of ripe, dense cherries brought there. LMCP has a six-hour pick-to-process quality timing mark that means that coffee cherries arriving at the station get straight into processing. Its natural unique ‘bowl’ location also helps in this process a lot by providing natural air circulation that helps to control drying.

Read more about the Long Miles Coffee Project on their website!

Cresencio – Honduras

FLAVOR NOTES :
CHERRY COLA, NOUGAT, FLORAL

Variety : Pacas
Process : Washed
Farm : Santa Maria
Location : El Cedral, Santa Barbara
Altitude (masl) : 1600
Soil : volcanic
Average Annual Rainfall(mm) : 750
Size of farm : 3,80 hectares
Harvest season : January to June

About the farm

Cresencio Izaguirre is a second-generation coffee farmer from Honduras. His farm, Santa Maria sits on the hillside of the mountain range in Santa Barbara and cultivates Pacas. Since the first time we had Cresencio’s amazing coffee, he has grown the size of his farm from 0,7 hectares to 3,8. He is also constructing a water mill together with his mother and brothers, who own farms next to Cresencio. He and his family work closely together with the famous Moreno family and have so far been using their premises for processing.

El Cedral is a challenging area to process coffee cherries due to the closeness of the jungle and thus rains. Especially the drying process is demanding and needs to be precisely controlled. After harvesting the coffee cherries are then processed at the neighboring Moreno family’s wet mill while construction works for Cresencio’s own family’s wet mill are ongoing. The Moreno family works together with their neighbors and share their facilities and knowledge thus helping the El Cedral community to produce and prepare better quality coffee. These sometimes problematic climate conditions and altitudes play a vital part in making the coffees from this area particularly interesting. The coffees cup with flavor attributes not found anywhere else in Central America.

Collaborative Coffee Source and Honduras

Our green coffee supplier, Collaborative Coffee Source started working with the farmers in this area during the 2005 Cup of Excellence. Since then they have purchased coffee from over 20 different producers in Santa Barbara through and an amazing exporter company called San Vicente. Together they have built many long-lasting and strong relationships with the farmers, such as Cresencio and Moreno Family. The area has become recognized namely by some of the very same producers CCS has developed close ties with.

Santuário Sul – Brazil

FLAVOR NOTES:
RED GRAPE, GRANOLA, ‘PINK LADY’ APPLE

Farm : Santuário Sul
Farmer : Luiz Paulo Pereira
Variety : Sudan Rume
Process : Anaerobic
Region : Carmo de Minas
Altitude (masl) : ~1250m
FOB : 4,99$ / kg

Santuário Sul is a new project by a long-time coffee producer Luiz Paulo Pereira. He started the project in 2013 in collaboration with Camilo Marizalde from Colombia and Ivan Solis from Costa Rica. The farm currently has 30 hectares of land in coffee production, and they aim to expand to 70 hectares very soon. “We want this farm to be different”, Luiz Paolo says “If we do the usual things, it’s just another farm in Brazil. We are bringing together Brazilian terroir with Central and South American styles.”

The project had an ambitious start with 25 different coffee varietals, making it the biggest coffee garden in Brazil. One of the first harvests was from the variety Sudan Rume. They also have SL28, Gesha and other varieties which are very untypical to Brazil.

Sudan Rume is an heirloom type of Arabica coffee plant that originates on the Boma Plateau of Southern Sudan near the border with Ethiopia. Plant breeders have long used this cultivar of Arabica when creating new varieties of coffee plants because of it’s high cup quality. It’s often crossed with high yielding disease resistant varieties because these attributes, unfortunately, are lacking from Sudan Rume. For this reason, it’s very uncommon to have this variety as a stand-alone.

Their experiments and innovations didn’t stop with varieties but includes also differetn processing methods such as anaerobic fermentation.

Anaerobic Processing

Pickers pick the cherries by hand to ensure perfect maturity. The team washes the cherries as they arrive at the station and then measure the Brix levels* of the cherries. If they are higher than 23, the cherries are used for anaerobic fermentation, if lower, they are destined to become naturals. The selected cherries are placed in the adapted dairy tank for 60 hours without any movement, then the tank is opened to check the PH level. When the PH of the mucilage inside the fermenting cherries reaches 4.5, it is time to take them out.

After fermentation, the cherries are removed and left to dry with the cascara still intact. Drying takes between 18 to 21 days, depending on the weather. The resulting cup is the perfect combination of washed and natural: clean, bright, full of fruit and sweetness.

While Luiz Paulo notes that they are still learning, the initial experiments were so successful that they have installed tanks of three other sites: Fazenda Irmas Pereira (2000 liters), Alta Vista (2000 liters) and Pedralva (5000 liters). This is part of the Carmo Coffees approach to produce unique and delicious coffees year after year.

*Brix level=percentage of solids, such as sugar and minerals, present in the juice of a plant