Garry’s coffee special features three of our more interesting coffees. Higher acidity, fruitier slow dried naturals, this bundle is leaning towards more exotic coffee tones.
A pound each of:
Brazil Matas de Minas – Raimundo Martins – Yellow Catuai Natural
Matas de Minas coffee is characterized by quality craftsmanship, picking by hand and techniques developed by the region’s producers to produce an exceptionally high quality. The result is a diversity of nuances and flavours, contributing to the reason behind many prestigious national and international awards.
From the farmer: “We bought a small farm and we started planting coffee, we gradually expanded the area. Me, my children and my grandchildren have always worked together and we are delighted to grow high-quality coffees, we are winners of various competitions in the region.”
This lot of Yellow Catuai coffee underwent Natural processing. Catuai was developed by the Instituto Agronomico (IAC) of Sao Paulo State in Campinas, Brazil by crossing Mundo Novo and Caturra varieties. Catuai coffees are cultivated widely across Brazil, and are known for their high productivity potential.
Tasting Notes: A beautiful single-origin drinking Brazil. Clean, rich and balanced; this is a cup we are happy to drink all day long! Lighter roasts show a sweet edge, good floral acidity, a little natural-processed soft fruit tone that balances with classic Brazil nutty and dry-chocolate hints. Medium roasts drop some of the acidity but retain a hint of the fruity factor. The body gets thicker and those nutty and chocolaty tones take over the bulk of the cup. Darker roasts get a little edgy and smoky with more bakers chocolate and a lingering nuttiness. This cup shines at the light to medium roast level.
Roasting Notes: Easy to roast, a little chaff heavy. Roasts just slightly two toned. If shooting for those wonderful light roasts, make sure everything is a little through first crack. A longer setup is not necessary, these beans present nicely even 12 hours later. After 4-5 days, loses a bit of floral/fruity factors but the cup will be richer and smoother.
Matas de Minas
The Matas de Minas coffee region is in the southeastern part of the Minas Gerais state, just over the border from Espirito Santo, with Alto Caparaó as its most recognized of the 63 municipalities that compose the region. With a distinct topography featuring rugged mountain terrains, a mild Brazilian Atlantic Forest climate, and large variations in elevation (between 600 and 1450 meters above sea level), Matas de Minas makes a perfect region for growing specialty coffees.
Because of its specific features, special care is taken in growing all the crops of the region. Coffee is harvested manually to select for only the most mature beans, the trees are planted with wider spacing to receive more sunlight, only treated water is used for washing and pulping the beans, and drying is done meticulously and carefully. The region’s family farms emphasize sustainability and the natural integration between people and land. Together, these factors favor the production of the highest quality coffees, full-bodied and with great nuances in both aroma and flavors.
Congo Kivu Org. – Katana Station – Gr. 3 Natural
I have always had a fascination with the Congo – perhaps from a movie I watched as a child. What a different place and culture! It is often seen in a dark light, but specialty coffee cultivation serves as a beacon of progress in a troubled place. Although I have still not personally been on the ground in the Congo (it’s on the bucket list). Our close buddies at Olam own a pretty cool coffee operation in the Congo called Viruga Coffee, it is bringing up specialty coffee in the Kivu region that is return, commands a higher dollar value and pumps much needed money back into infrastructure and expansion of the project.
This is an organic certified, natural-processed, grade 3 lot from smallholder farmers in Kivu, a coffee region on the eastern edge of the Democratic Republic of Congo. This coffee was produced by Virunga Coffee Company, an Olam operation that operates 7 washing stations in Kivu on the outskirts of the Virunga National Park. The region has excellent conditions for specialty arabica production with plentiful rainfall, high altitude and highly fertile volcanic soils.
Tasting Notes: A lovely, crisp, and clean, not overly fruity natural processed. We thought it best right around the medium roast ballpark but will make fans lighter or darker depending on your personal taste preference. Lighter roasting is a bit higher acidity, lemony and floral with some grape skin like fruitiness coming through. A bit more herbal spice right at first crack, needs a longer setup time to shine but will provide delicate chocolaty notes with much wilder acidity and fruity tones. Medium roasts were tasty without the wait! Balanced, tasty, and clean after 24 hours. A pronounced chocolaty factor, medium bodied, hints of crisp acidity backed with a little soft fruit tone and spice. Wonderfully smooth and delicate for a Congo coffee. Dark roasts were tasty right off the bat as well, roasty and stronger but with a sweeter then average edge. The smokiness does compliment the strong chocolaty undertones.
Roasting Notes: Slightly two toned at lighter roasts but even roasting for a natural. Medium chaff, have seen a lot worse out of boutique naturals but still higher than average. Darkens a little quickly, try and keep it between 1st and second crack for a smooth and defined cup. Right at first crack or into 2nd crack were our least favorite roasts. Anywhere in-between was quite tasty.
Virunga Coffee Company was established in 2011 by Schluter SA (now Olam Specialty Coffee Europe) with the vision to: “Change lives in DRC through commerce in a mutually profitable way by being a major coffee actor in Kivu.”
Virunga Coffee aims to achieve this vision by improving the quality and yields for farmers in North and South Kivu, primarily through:
– Developing and implementing field-based support activities
– Introducing Good Agricultural Practices (GAP)
– Investing in processing infrastructure
– Organizing assured organic production in close collaboration with over 2,300 farmers (with a further 1,500 by June 2020)
– Bringing an innovative spirit to the development of new products
As well as providing a stable supply chain and specialty market access, Virunga is actively involved in a number of sustainability and social programs in farming communities. These include an extensive tree planting program, disease prevention outreach to tackle critical diseases such as Ebola and HIV, and equipment to help farmers improve their agronomic practices.
Ripe cherries are delivered to the washing station for sorting and flotation to select only the ripest for processing. The cherries are de-pulped using a Penagos eco-pulper, fermented for 18-24 hours and then washed in clean water grading channels. Once thoroughly washed the parchment coffee is dried in the sun on raised African beds for 12-18 days, depending on climatic conditions.
In the daytime the parchment needs to be raked and turned periodically to ensure a consistent drying process and prevent mold or over-fermentation. The coffee is also covered in the middle of the day to protect it from the hot sun, and at night to protect it from rainfall and condensation. Once the coffee has dried to the right level it is transported to Butembo for dry-milling, grading, sorting and handpicking (triage), before being bagged in GrainPro for export.
Hutwe village is located in the Kirumba region of Nord-Kivu (North of Lake Kivu), on the edge of Virunga National Park, bordered by Uganda to the east. The region has excellent conditions for specialty arabica production with plentiful rainfall, high altitude and highly fertile volcanic soils. The region is also very poverty-stricken and has had a severe lack of infrastructure which has made high quality arabica both difficult to produce and very challenging to export. Virunga Coffee Company has sought to overcome many of these problems through hands-on farmer education and investment in local infrastructure such as roads and bridges. This has allowed quality improvements every season and, in turn, higher premiums for farmers.
Ethiopian Yirgacheffe Gedeb – Chelbesa – Natural Gr. 1
A stellar and exotic Ethiopian Natural. Although fruit forward like many, this cup contains almost a tropical fruit spin on the classic Ethiopian profile. Clean as can be with some brisk acidity upfront. One can fine some truly unique fruitiness to this cup that is not common to Ethiopian Naturals.
Tasting Notes: Lighter roasts are very clean and will show stronger floral/citric/fruity tones, would be considered a front loaded cup but that’s what most lighter roast natural fans will like that about these beans. Stonger citric floral with some exotic fruit tones that linger. A couple here put it as a bit more coconut or pina colada than your average “red-fruit”, others found a bit more grape skin like fruitiness.
If you don’t love bright and fruity, you will likely want to shoot for at least a Medium roast, a less extreme and smooth cup with pretty exotic accents. Develops the more tea like undertones and smooths out a lot of the crisp acidity. The fruity/floral factor reduces to just a hint but still comes off more tropical fruit noted, which everyone here loved. Still slightly floral and after a little setup almost seemed a bit more dark grape skin tone that lingers in the aftertaste.
Darker roasts are fun but have a more limited audience. A bit more semi-sweet and a little edgy and smoky, retains the strong spice notes and brings a bakers chocolaty factor into play with lingering smoky tones in the aftertaste. For those that like a hint of milk or cream in coffee, or espresso heads looking for something more exotic, darker roasted Ethiopians can be a nice cup/shot to change up the game a bit.
Roasting Notes: Natural processed with good prep on it, a fairly easy bean to roast. A bit higher chaff and one will notice a little two toned roasting but being tasty from light to dark, should not be a problem getting a tasty cup. Recommend starting at a nice medium roast, if you don’t like acidic and floral, error a little darker, if you love fruity floral, error a little lighter. A little longer setup really smooths out the cup, can be a little more extreme 1-2 days after roasting.