ZAMBIA AAA/AA MAFINGA HILLS RFA – WASHED PROCESSED TOP LOT

A very similar cup profile to a Kenyan/Tanz coffee but a bit milder. Very nice prep and screen size on these beans.

The Mafinga Hills in Zambia’s Northern Province are home to the country’s highest peaks, where altitude and ancient volcanic soils help produce the sweet citrus flavor profiles that characterize this AAA/AA graded RFA certified coffee from Olam owned estates. Kateshi Estate, near the region’s capital city of Kasama, grows nearly 800 hectares of coffee above 1300 masl. Near the border with Tanzania, Isanya Estate grows 1600 hectares above 1500. Coffees from both estates are milled at the Kateshi mill and blended to create this unique coffee from the home of smoke that thunders.

Long before Dr. Livingston arrived to name Victoria Falls after the queen, the people who had lived around this wonder of the natural world for generations had already named it more appropriately, “the smoke that thunders.” The falls thunder into the Zambesi River, which flows east toward Mozambique. Before the river crosses the border, take a left and head north up the Luangwa River. You’ll move through land rich in biodiversity, including the world’s largest concentration of hippos. As the river meanders and the altitude rises you will eventually arrive at the source of the Luangwa, 1500 meters up the Mafinga plateau, which is also, as it happens, the source of Olam’s high scoring Zambian top lots.

Tasting Notes:
Medium bodied with some gentle brightness behind it. Clean cup with a classic spicy herbal bakers chocolate undertone balanced with mild lemony floral acidity. Darker roasts mute up a bunch of the acidity and give a real big bodied, smoky, complex and very dark toned cup of coffee.

Roasting Notes:
A very fun one to play around with the roast, a bit more acidity in the cup really differentiated the lighter from darker roasts. A good one to drag out a bit if roasting before 2nd crack. Can go from first crack to 2nd a little quicker than average so make sure to keep an eye on it.

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UGANDA RFA ORG. SIPI FALLS BUGISU

Coming from family owned farms located in the Bugisu region on the slopes of Mount Elgon in the Kapchorwa district, Uganda.  The Bugisu region is named after the Bugisu people who are indigenous to this area.  The Sipi Falls coffee project, named after a trio of majestic waterfalls, was established in 1999 to strengthen quality coffee production in the region and create a sustainable income for farmers.

Tasting Notes: 
A nice clean and balanced cup, medium bodied and lower acidity for an African. Lighter roasts will still be a little citric and floral balanced with a semi-sweet chocolaty undertone with very little of that traditional African spice note. Medium roasts mute up the acidity and leave a little hint of a floral and developing a little soft fruit tone mixing with a smoother chocolate tone. Darker roasts pick up some nice complimentary roasty tones mixing with more of a bakers chocolate semi-sweet note.

Roasting Notes: 
Medium to dark roasts were the way to go, clean and smooth, very drinkable with a sweeter edge to it. Lighter roasts added a little bit of floral but reduces the chocolaty edge to just a hint. Dark roasts were very nice as well, smoky and chocolaty, a bit more potent of a cup.

Uganda Sipi Falls
Uganda Sipi Falls

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TANZANIA WASHED CPU PEABERRY

Tanzania Washed CPU Peaberry is sourced from a group of 235 family-owned farms located in the Mbozi district within the Songwe region of Tanzania. Producers harvest and deliver cherry to the CPU (central processing unit) where the coffee is depulped, fermented, washed and dried. The CPUs have been established in the last three years to provide producers with a centrally located processing facility that can process coffee more consistently and ensure better quality, which results in better prices from the international market. The rounder shaped peaberry, formed from the maturation of one seed per cherry rather than the typical two seeds, is meticulously sorted during the milling process for its distinct flavor profiles.

This is a very nice and clean aggregate, a perfect example of what Tanz coffee tastes like. Decent prep, some small beans, clean cupping and tasty.

Tasting Notes: 
Rich, clean and chocolaty, Tanz coffee is always high on our go to list for stronger chocolaty coffee. At light to medium roasts once will see a more gentle cup with a little sweeter edge and a hint of acidity and spice. Darker roasts get much fuller bodied and bring out the strong bakers chocolate edge balancing nicely with the spice note and roasty tones.

Roasting Notes: 
Medium to dark roasts are preferred and let the cup shine. Light roasts although tasty do risk a little grassy tone before city+. We found a quicker roast accentuates some of the sweeter tone and crispness which was a good thing.

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RWANDA BOURBON BUFCAFE – TOP LOT

This coffee comes from Buf Cafe and is 100% Bourbon variety. The famed Buf Cafe washing station is in the mountains near the village of Karaba, in the Ginkongoro prefecture in south-central Rwanda. Buf Cafe started operation in 2000, after funding aid from the Rwandan Development Bank and USAID’s PEARL project.

Buf Cafe is a private washing station, owned wholly by the Muhirwa family, processing coffee cherry from two distinct cooperatives in the Ginkongoro prefecture: Cobabakagi (1300 members) and Terimbere Kawa Yacu (between 400-600 members). They also collect cherry from farmers in other regions, siphoning away outside cooperative output by placing collection sites within the operating zones of other established groups.

Buf Cafe operates two separate washing stations – Nyrusiza and Remera. This particular lot comes from cherry milled at the Nyarusiza station.The larger of the two stations, Remera sits at 1950 meters, and on the drive there we reached hilltop elevations nearing 2200 meters. Processing here follows the Rwandan standard, with a floating tank sort, 8-12 hour dry fermentation, second sort for weight using water shoots, then a 24 hour soak prior to hand washing and hand sorting, concluded by placement on raised drying beds on the mountain valley floor. Similar practices are followed at Nyarusiza. Buf Cafe’s dry mill facility is located in Karaba.

Tasting Notes:
A very cool Rwanda coffee. Super clean and chocolaty, medium to full bodied with just a bit higher than average acidity; more buzzy than citric. A juicer body with hints of citric and peach like fruit balancing with a very clean chocolaty undertone with an accent of spice that lingers in the aftertaste that pulls it all together. A way cool cup.

Roasting Notes:
Good at almost any roast but to see what separates this cup from average consider it a lighter roast coffee; will be a little higher acidity but more buzzy than citric. Darker roasts get a bit smoky with a little bakers chocolate kick. Smack dab in the middle was easily our favorite, smooth chocolate notes with just a little crispness and on the sweeter side. Yum! Will darken up quicker than most and start to develop a sheen at a city + roast, can be a little deceptive.

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PERU SHB FTO – FINCA JUAN HERRERA – RONAL MONTENEGRO – EL PALTO TOP LOT

This lot comes from Ronal Carranza Montenegro who owns the farm “Juan Herrera”. A very cool single producer Peru (almost all the Peru’s we see are co-op driven). Ronal is part of the Asociacion de Productores Cafetaleros Juan Marco El Palto (JUMARP), also known as “El Palto.” The cooperative is located in the Amazonian Andes in northern Peru. Founded in 2003 by 35 small farmers, the association now consists of 189 active members with a total area of 549 hectares in production. All members produce organic and Fair Trade Certified coffee.

Women represent 40 of the organizations families, including continual representation on their Board of Directors. The Association’s mission is to meet the demand of our buyers in specialty coffee allowing an increase in income for the farmer member and their family.

Tasting Notes: 
A very tasty cup; a bit unique for a Peru. It has a nice soft red fruit tone upfront with just a little hint of acidity balanced with a nice and chocolaty undertone, just a little hint of citric acidity. Very clean cup, medium to low acidity along with a gentle medium body and good sweetness. A cup we could drink all day long.

Roasting Notes: 
A very stand up lot good at almost every roast. Being on the snazzy side, lighter roasting is preferred for it will keep those nice sweet fruity tones intact in the cup along with a hint of crisp acidity, darker roasts will mute it up but are still very tasty.

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PERU ORG. SHB EP NORTE

This cup is coming from family owned farms organized around the Central Fronteriza del Norte de Cafetaleros (CENFROCAFE), which is an umbrella cooperative established in 1999 that supports 80 organizations and 2,000 coffee producers in the region of Majorca, Peru. CENFROCAFE provides training and financing aimed at improving coffee quality and yields to increase farmer earnings.

Tasting Notes:
A great gentle and smooth cup of coffee. Pretty low acidity but one can see a little floral at the lighter roast points. A little less sweet than previous batches, still a very nice, clean and chocolaty cup. A great everyday drinker.

Roasting Notes:
Easy to roast, avoid super light roasts or you will get front-loaded floral tones that taste a bit unbalanced. City + to Full City roasts are  great and will maximize the sweet and smooth tones. Darker and it turns more semi-sweet chocolate based with very minimal acidity, a little more body and adds a hint of smoke.

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NICARAGUAN SHG RFA SELVA NEGRA WASHED

Nicaraguan Selva Negra coffee is cultivated in the most ecologically sustainable and socially responsible way possible.  Learn more by reading our Selva Negra Grower Profile.

Selva Negra’s history is in many ways the history of the coffee in Nicaragua altogether. In the 1880’s the Nicaraguan government invited young German immigrants to come and settle in Nicaragua in order to promote coffee growing in the northern highlands. Many accepted the offer, thus forming the main coffee plantations of the country; some estates bear names of their motherlands. Selva Negra means Black Forest, and the coffee estate is called La Hammonia, Latin for Hamburg. Located approximately 4,000 ft. above sea level, La Hammonia has been producing fine old style Arabica coffee for over 100 years. Eddy Kühl & Mausi Kühl-Hayn, the farm’s proprietors are descendants of two of these original German immigrants – Alberto Vogl and Klaus KÜhl.

Selva Negra Estate Coffee is grown at a high altitude in a shaded environment. This allows the bean to have a slow development cycle which instills an intense and fulfilling flavor to each bean. The coffee is not only 100% Arabica, but more importantly it is mostly Bourbon and Typica strains (which produce higher quality beans than other varieties of coffee trees). The region of Matagalpa, Nicaragua is mountainous with excellent volcanic soil producing exceptional beans. Finally, the coffee is prepared using an environmentally friendly washing process, which gives the coffee still one more unique quality enhancing aspect.

Tasting Notes:
A very nice and super fresh batch of their traditional farm aggregate. A little hint of citrus floral upfront balanced with nice complex malty tones. Great everyday drinker at a medium roast, balanced with a sweet edge. A heftier cup at the darker roasts and equally as tasty, fuller bodied with strong malty and smoky tones but still retains that sweeter edge to it.

Roasting Notes:
Easy to roast, great prep on the beans and roast pretty even. Make sure to at least get a strong medium roast, with being a little lower acidity, not a ton of jazz at those lighter roast points but as you progress the roast it builds that great malty tone that Nicaragua is known for.


Every afternoon of picking all the workers gather for the cherry reception – this is where the work for the day will be logged and the start of the processing for the cherry.

Selva Negra means Black Forest – beyond the coffee trees below you can see why.

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NICARAGUAN SHG RFA SELVA NEGRA HONEY

The honey processing on these beans is very close to the washed processing – very clean honey processing. It does leave it with a hint more sweetness and body but a little less acidity. Not as unique as some of our other honey processed coffees but very tasty indeed.

Nicaraguan Selva Negra coffee is cultivated in the most ecologically sustainable and socially responsible way possible.  Learn more by reading our Selva Negra Grower Profile.

Selva Negra’s history is in many ways the history of the coffee in Nicaragua altogether. In the 1880’s the Nicaraguan government invited young German immigrants to come and settle in Nicaragua in order to promote coffee growing in the northern highlands. Many accepted the offer, thus forming the main coffee plantations of the country; some estates bear names of their motherlands. Selva Negra means Black Forest, and the coffee estate is called La Hammonia, Latin for Hamburg. Located approximately 4,000 ft. above sea level, La Hammonia has been producing fine old style Arabica coffee for over 100 years. Eddy Kühl & Mausi Kühl-Hayn, the farm’s proprietors are descendants of two of these original German immigrants – Alberto Vogl and Klaus KÜhl.

Selva Negra Estate Coffee is grown at a high altitude in a shaded environment. This allows the bean to have a slow development cycle which instills an intense and fulfilling flavor to each bean. The coffee is not only 100% Arabica, but more importantly it is mostly Bourbon and Typica strains (which produce higher quality beans than other varieties of coffee trees). The region of Matagalpa, Nicaragua is mountainous with excellent volcanic soil producing exceptional beans. Finally, the coffee is prepared using an environmentally friendly washing process, which gives the coffee still one more unique quality enhancing aspect.

Tasting Notes:
A very clean and sweet cup of coffee. Medium to full bodied with just a little hint of acidity. Lighter roasts produce a pretty delicate cup with a hints of melon and floral balanced with a herbal spice malty note. Medium roasts were our favorite with a bit more pronounced malt tone and a little fuller bodied.  Darker roasts produce a very cool sweet malty and smokey type cup – much fuller bodied with a bit more strength to it. Really dark gets a bit edgy.

Roasting Notes: 
A good clean cup at almost any roast point. A little lighter bodied at very light roast points but the body builds nicely at even a city plus roast. We liked it best just before 2nd crack – kept it nice and smooth but built up decent body and the nice smokey malty tone.

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MALAWI FTO MZUZU CO-OP AB+

This is an AB Plus grade of coffee (bean size) from the Mzuzu Cooperative. Farms and producers who are considered a part of the Mzuzu Coop are primarily located in the northern districts of Malawi from Mzimba upwards. Most recently they have also begun supporting a number of smallholder projects in Central Malawi and more particularly in the Ntchisi East district, between the town of Kasungu and lake Malawi. There are approximately 2,700 small scale farmers working within these cooperative districts of which over 30% are women. This particular blend is brought together from five small districts, all near the western banks of Lake Malawi: Misuku Hills, Phoka HIlls, Viphya North, Nkhata Bay Highlands, and South East Mzimba. The coffees grown are a mixture of Catimor 129, Nyika Catimor and a small percentage of Geisha – inherited from the early days of the cooperative movement – and are all fully washed and sun dried.

Tasting notes:
This cup has a nice heavier body and creamy feel, a bit higher acidity this year then its been in the past. Citrus and floral with lighter fruit tones upfront and a real rich and smooth bakers chocolate and smoky undertone that can turn much stronger into the darker roasts (past/into second crack). Very clean cup, holds up to a bit lighter roast but most prefer it right before to touching 2nd crack. Gets much more of a caramel sweetness with just a hint of floral versus an pretty acidic but very clean light roast.

Roasting notes:
This is a complex cup of coffee. The taste will be highly dependent on roast. Good from light to dark. A little more exotic at the lighter roast points. Real big body, buttery and sweet into those darker roasts. Allow for a longer set up time when roasting light. It goes into the second crack quickly so you’ll want to keep a close eye in this one.

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INDONESIAN SUMATRA TAKENGON ORG. IKA GRADE 1

Coming from the Jagong Mill and surrounding family-owned farms located in the Takengon and Atu Lintang coffee region of Aceh province on the island of Sumatra, Indonesia.  Irham Junus owns and operates the Jagong Mill with his son, Andi and daughter, Ina. The Junus family has focused on meticulous ripe cherry selection resulting in something truly unique in Sumatra. The Junus family also has full control of the processing and milling right up to the final export stage, avoiding the long and convoluted supply lines that can compromise Sumatran quality.

Tasting Notes:
A great, fresh traditional Sumatra offering. Very thick and creamy, a predominately darker toned lower acidity cup of coffee. Good prep for a Sumatra and fairly clean in its taste profile. One will get lots of chocolaty tones (ranging from smooth to bakers chocolate) mixing with herbal spice and a bit of smoky, peat-like tones. Good as a single origin or blend component.

Roasting Notes:
Medium to dark roast coffee, too light and the chocolaty tones and body will be lacking.  Due to the wet-hulled processing these beans will roast a bit two-toned. Good to bring them up to temp a little slower and if shooting for a medium roast, make sure everything gets through first crack before cooling. If it doubt any signs of 2nd crack, hit cool.

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