If you are looking for a good excuse to jump into a micro lot coffee, look no further. We have been fortunate again this year to cup some of the best coffees the Naranjo and Tarrazu regions in Costa Rica and the Marcala region in Honduras have to offer. Kudos to our traveling roaster panel for sticking it out and assisting us in cupping over 200 different lots in total. We had some "repeat" lots as well as some interesting newcomers which resulted in a nice lineup this year. It’s always nice to cup some great new crop coffees, let alone these premium quality lots, but even more rewarding is visiting the families that stand behind them. The lots will be shipped in 152lb. bags and will arrive in New Jersey around May 15th.
So jump in before you miss out!
Jaime & Richard
Costa Rica Micro Lots
Here’s what’s available as of April 8th:
Costa Rican SHB Naranjo "El Roble" Micro lot (honey processed)
Cherry, syrupy, dry finish
Costa Rican SHB Naranjo "La Horqueta" Micro lot (honey process)
Tart peach, dry finish
Costa Rican SHB Naranjo "Sabanilla" Micro lot (honey processed)
Lemon, cherry, mild orange
Costa Rican SHB Naranjo "San Juanillo" Micro Lot RFA
I had the honor and pleasure of visiting Colombia again for the second time in six months, traveling this time to the heart, or ‘axis’, of the coffee region - also known as the Coffee Triangle - which is formed by the departments of Risaralda, Quindio, Caldas and Antioquia. All four of these departments are connected by a road known in Colombia as the ‘Coffee Highway’ due to the large amount of green coffee that travels this road on its way to the port of Buenaventura for shipment all over the world.
The main purpose of my trip was to visit the farm that produces the Organic Colombian Valle De Cauca coffee, which I would venture to say is one of Royal NY’s best Colombian offerings this year due to its sweet fruity notes, mild cherry flavor, and clean finish in addition to the consistent quality of each delivery.
The farm, Finca Potosi, which produces our Valle de Cauca deliveries, is located in Caicedonia at an elevation of approximately 5400 ft above sea level. Caturra and Typica are the most common varietals on the farm although they are starting to renovate some additional property at a slightly lower altitude with the Castillo varietal. After hand picking, the coffee cherries are moved from the farm by truck to the wet mill for depulping, a 48 hr fermentation process, and mechanical drying in silos. Once this processing is completed, the coffee is transported in parchment to the beneficio(dry mill), located in the center of Caicedonia across from the Potosi Farm cupping lab, for final milling, grading, and preparation for export.
Finca Potosi is completely Organic and Rainforest Alliance Certified and sponsors an elementary school for the children of the farm workers. From a region that only 7 years ago was shadowed by the guerrilla wars to an area that is now flourishing with high quality coffee farms, Finca Potosi is an excellent example of the potential that this region has to offer.
Royal Coffee NY is proud and honored to have the opportunity to import the Organic Colombian Valle De Cauca coffee and I’m very grateful to the Potosi Farm Family for hosting me and opening the doors of their home and their hearts.
P.S. As a last note, for many years the Colombian Coffee Federation has been using their logo of Juan Valdez with his donkey to promote the idea that coffee is carried down from the mountains in this manner. Well forget about that, in the Coffee Axis, the “Burros” are actually 1950 model American ‘Willy’ Jeeps! That’s right, your grandpa’s jeep is the way that coffee producers bring the cherry from the high elevation growing areas to the beneficios at the lower altitudes. I had the chance to ride in one of them and these little fellows can move 40 bags of coffee per trip without even breaking a sweat. Juan Valdez should update his logo!
Here’s what’s available as of June 11th:
Organic Colombian Valle de Cauca
Organic Colombian Valle de Cauca RFA
Organic Colombian Valle de Cauca RFA
Costa Rica... Nano, Micro, & Macro lots - there is something for everyone!
Over the past few years we have been fortunate to discover a few great cupping micro lots from the Naranjo & Tarrazu regions. The effort that is required by everyone in the supply chain, most notably the producer, goes above and beyond what is required to produce a full 250 bag shipment of one type of coffee(i.e. the macro lot). It is our feeling that in order to continue our relationships with the producers of these great micro lots it is incumbent upon us to be testing these coffees on site as the crop is being milled.
Just a few weeks ago I was fortunate enough to make the trip to visit both the CoopNaranjo cooperative & Asoproaaa association in Tarrazu and be part of a cupping panel that included several roasters, baristas, and the producers themselves(what a concept!). It was a very productive trip from the perspective that in just 4 days we were able to cup, purchase, and visit some of the farms that would be producing some of the coffees we would be shipping back home.
Cupping results exhibited some of the following flavors : Cherry, orange, peach, tart, stone fruit, milk chocolate, slight syrup, green apple just to name a few. Having cupped well over 40 different lots we were able to purchase 17 winners that left both the producers and cuppers extremely content with the prospect of offering these great coffees for this coming year as well as many years ahead. These coffees should land in New Jersey by mid May and will be in 152 lb. bags shipped in GrainPro.
Jump in before they are all gone!
Here’s what’s available as of April 30th:
Costa Rican SHB Naranjo "Corteza" Micro lot GP
Peach, orange, milk chocolate
Costa Rican SHB Naranjo "La Joya" Micro lot GP
Bright lemon, cocoa
Costa Rican SHB Naranjo "Los Mangos" Micro lot RFA GP
Mild tart, stone fruit, balanced, uniform
Costa Rican SHB Tarrazu "ASO-RIO" Micro lot GP
Rich cherry, stone fruit, peach, nectarine, floral
Costa Rican SHB Tarrazu "Las Vueltas" Micro lot GP" Micro lot GP
Peach, lemon, nectarine
Yes, Honduras again…
A country once known for good pre-ship samples and disappointing deliveries has bloomed into the largest coffee producer in Central America with a strong emphasis on quality and the distinction of being the SCAA portrait country at next month’s convention in Portland, OR. As with any producing country, there are various levels of quality based on altitude, varietal, picking, processing, producer and many other factors; in these respects Honduras is no different. What does seem to be different about Honduras is that the importance of quality has become an epidemic…and this is good news for us specialty coffee folks.
With Hondo history out of the way, I will tell you a bit about our most recent trip. As I’m sure many of you know from our offering sheet and recent blog entries, we have a partnership with an awesome coop in the premier region of Marcala – COMSA. COMSA is an Organic and Fair Trade certified group of growers who currently produce great quality coffee but also continually strive to improve. This year, in an attempt to elevate quality and provide the opportunity for better prices to their members, they hosted an internal competition of micro lot coffees that could be produced by any member of the coop. The only guidelines were to pick the highest part of your farm with the best varietal and to put as much time and attention into the picking of ripe cherries and processing as possible. The competition yielded 90 micro lots; Richard Borg and I were fortunate enough to be asked to cup, grade and select the winners. What an honor! We were appreciative of the invitation, impressed with the results and are extremely proud to offer the best of these coffees to our customers.
Royal New York and Royal California, after a few challenging days of slurping, spitting and grading these 90 lots, purchased the top 20 and divided our winnings between both coasts. Needless to say these coffees are great! They will be packed in GrainPro bags and shipped in April and we are looking forward to their arrival. These coffees can be found on our offering sheet under both the conventional Honduras as well as the Organic Honduras sections.
We encourage you to contact your representative for info, cupping notes and farm details on the micro lots. Lastly, we are currently in the process of establishing this type of Micro Lot program with other producers in Honduras as well as with other origins. We will keep you informed of our forward findings and always welcome any feedback you have to offer.
Thank you for your support, we will talk with you soon.
Andrew’s Trip to Honduras and Guatemala – 2012
January 30th - February 4th
I’ll start this story with the end of my trip because it is the freshest part in my mind. I arrive home after a week of travel @ 6:00 pm on Sunday February 5th just in time to see the NY Giants beat the Patriots in the Super Bowl…my apologies to all of the Brady fans.
Allright, I’ll start over. My trip started in the Marcala region of Honduras with a visit to an Organic & Fair Trade certified coop we have been purchasing from for many years – COMSA. COMSA is an impressive, quality focused coop. Their main principles are: treat your employees and their families well, offer great customer service, strive for the best quality coffee and never stop improving. After spending time with their founding partners, visiting some farms, and touring the wet and dry mills, it was evident that the many things they preach are also being practiced….a sometimes rare occurrence these days. Quality and quantity for this year’s harvest is promising and they have begun to separate and meticulously process many of their much smaller, higher grown coffees for what are sure to become some EXCELLENT Organic and Fair trade certified Micro lots. There is already one lot listed on our offering sheet (Organic Honduran SHG “Fatima Mercedes Las Flores” Fair Trade – Micro Lot), look for a few more offerings as the harvest develops.
After COMSA I traveled to the Santa Barbara region of Honduras, which should be renamed the Cup of Excellence region. Santa Barbara is broken up into 3 sub regions, El Cedral, El Celito, and Los Flores. 70-80% of the COE coffees from the last 4 years have originated from these Santa Barbara regions. We visited many farms here and have established many relationships with the hope of bringing you great quality Micro Lots over the coming months. We are focused on enabling the producers to achieve the premium their quality deserves, while delivering these great coffees to our customers during the peak of the harvest. Historically it takes several months for the “Best of the Best” lots to complete the auction process and arrive at your roastery – we are hoping to shorten this timeline by sourcing and importing more efficiently – ultimately delivering greater quality to the roaster.
After Honduras I made a brief stop in Guatemala to visit the estate known as “Ceylan”. Ceylan is an Organic, Rainforest Alliance, SMBC certified plantation that is the most environmentally and socially sustainable farm I have ever had the pleasure to visit. After only 5 minutes into my visit, it was easy to see why this coffee consistently cups great, year after year. The farm is in pristine condition, has over 50 different types of shade trees in a 3 tier canopy and possesses its own wet mill and drying patios. It is a completely self-contained environment with full control of every step in the process. Aside from excellent quality coffee, they provide housing and education for their workers, a nurse onsite, and even a small chapel with weekly visits from the local priest. We are proud to carry this coffee and encourage those of you who care about quality and sustainability to try a bag from Finca Ceylan.
Thanks for reading our Blog and make sure to look out for upcoming posts about great coffees. Lastly, remember to contact us any time for coffee info, pictures and marketing materials.
Pictures of Finca Ceylan, Guatemala 2012
Camilo’s Trip to the Santa Barbara Estate, Colombia 2012
Regards from Colombia... Again?!
It might feel like “groundhog day” – reading or writing another story about a visit to Colombia…but because Colombia is such an extensive coffee-producing country with so many unique coffee-producing regions, there is always something to write home about.
On my recent trip to Colombia, I had the opportunity to visit the Santa Barbara Estate which is located in the department of Antioquia. Since the first time we cupped this coffee in the Royal New York office, we felt that there was something special going on behind the scenes and this visit helped us to discover the whole story. In Colombia the size of the average coffee farm is between 2 and 4 hectares and this means that in order to get a full container of coffee for export the beneficios need to mill and mix cherry from various farms. These circumstances make it impossible to maintain the traceability of coffee from the individual farms, and more often than not, good quality coffee gets blended with coffee of average quality. Because the Santa Barbara Estate is comprised of 350 hectares and has a fully integrated processing facility, they are able to produce enough cherry to export their own brand (no blending with other farms here!) and to keep very strict quality control measures for their coffee in place all the way from the tree until the moment that the containers of green coffee are loaded on the export vessels. Another difference is that the Santa Barbara Estate continues to use a more traditional washing and fermentation process in contrast with the mechanical demucilage processing that is commonly seen in Colombia.
For many years this region suffered from the violence generated by the guerrillas and the narcotics wars; now Antioquia is trying to turn the page and write a new chapter for their future while creating a legacy for their country shown by the love and devotion behind their work. Quite simply, they want to put the Santa Barbara Estate name and the Antioquia region ‘on the map’.
We find the Santa Barbara Estate coffees offer a sweet, citrus start with a milk chocolate finish – Give this coffee a try and become a part of the Santa Barbara story.