STORIES


Honduras Capucas

You may have had a chance to try our newest coffee, Capucas from Honduras.  If you have, I hope that you’ve already discovered how delicious this coffee can be.  When I first tasted this coffee I was blown away by the sweetness and the tropical fruit flavors.  As we got to know it better with our initial production roasts we noticed honey-like body with flavors of cashew, dried pineapple and mango.

However, this is only half of the reason why I love this coffee.  In March I was lucky enough to visit the community in Capucas that grows this beautiful coffee.  The town of Capucas has about 100 families that grow coffee, and formed the Cooperativa Cafetelara Capucas Limitada or COCAFCAL for short.

Omar Rodriguez (left) is the President of the cooperative, and he and his family played host to us for the extent of our trip.  They showed us, Chris Davidson (right) and myself (center), tremendous hospitality throughout our stay.  Chris works with Atlas Coffee Importers, who have been working with the community in Capucas since 2007.  The purpose of our trip was to judge their annual micro-lot competition.  The judging took place by cupping (tasting) 30 coffees a day each day of our 5 day trip.  We scored the coffees based on their sweetness, uniformity, balance, aftertaste, acidity, and unique character.

We then assigned the coffee’s points based on those attributes, and they received scores out of 100.  We decided to purchase all 5 of the top lots, but more on that when they arrive in August.  In the mean-time let’s focus on the Capucas coffee you can enjoy right now.  It represents a blended lot from many of the producers in the community, where they harvest their coffee fruit and have it processed at their centralized mill.  There the coffee is depulped, soaked in tanks for 12-24 hours, washed, and then sun dried on concrete patios.  The farms here are immaculate, almost garden like.  The perfect amount of shade cover, neatly spaced and planted rows, and regimented pruning that had just been completed post-harvest.

Walking through the community farms, and meeting each of the producers you get a sense that they all take great pride in producing quality coffee, and working together.  Friendly and passionate people are always rewarding to work with, especially when they produce such a great product.  This is the other half of why I love Capucas!

Dan

Colombia trip report June 2011

After spending a few days at the World Barista Championship, I spent a week touring Colombia, and trying to identify some coffee producers for Irving Farm to work with. 

Our first stop was Monserrate, in Huila.  This mountain-top town is home to over 80 families who produce coffee on their modest hillside land.  The producers here only recently started growing coffee, and chose to do so because they tired of the violence that growing coca brought to their town in the 90’s.

Here in Monserrate each of the producers picks and processes their coffee separately, and then they sell to the exporter.  This means that we can keep each farmer’s coffee separate and identify the highest quality lots from which to buy.  It also helps give the farmers feedback on what techniques are contributing to the quality of their coffee.  These farmers all have their own small mill to process the coffee.  Usually this consists of a depulper and fermentation tank (pictured below) and then they dry the coffee on raised beds (pictured below) or in the street (shown above).

Depulper use to remove the coffee fruit from the seed inside, coffee then falls into the fermentation tank below.

 

here, a producer shows us how he turns the coffee to allow for even drying on the raised beds.  This method of processing coffee is fairly standard across Colombia, although it varies greatly in scale based on the size of the producer.  I visited the whole range in our 7 day trip, from farmers who produce just a few bags of coffee to those who produce many containers (1 container is 275, 132lb bags). I also visited farms in Huila, Cauca, and Antiouquia representing Colombia in 3 major growing regions.

Overall it was a very exciting, and educational trip and I am looking forward to putting a few unique Colombian coffeesin the Irving Farm line-up later this year, and in the years to come.

Dan Streetman

Director of Coffee, Irving Farm Coffee

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