by David Pohl
Seasonal Coffee Offerings 2008 Equator Estate Coffees and Teas is bringing in some outstanding "grand cru" coffees over the next few months, so I thought I would give our customers a little peek at what we are working on and when to look for them. By "grand cru" I mean outstanding, special, micro-lot coffees, that are only available for a short time. Some of these coffees are already under contract, meaning that barring any unforeseen disaster the coffee will be in our warehouse when predicted, while other coffees are auction coffees, which means that we may in fact be outbid and may not get the coffee. We are not easily outbid, but coffees can go for well over $100/pound these days, which would put the retail price higher yet, so we do have our limits. In any case, we are very excited to offer some new, unique coffees to compliment our well-established line of blends and single origins. Below is a list of the coffees we will be featuring over the coming months, including auction, micro lot and relationship coffees. To order any of these coffees visit our website or call 1-800-809-7687.
Guatemala Santa Isabel Estate Sun Dried - Special prep, relationship coffee from Guatemala. Santa Isabel is one of the most beautiful, well-organized farms I have ever visited and they offered us a small amount of "sun-dried" coffee. This coffee is unusually lively and inviting, full of sweet acidity and beautiful moderate body. Guatemala 2007 Trip
Brazil Chapada Diamantina– A beautiful example of a fruity, complex Brazilian coffee. The Chapada comes to us from the state of Bahia, in the north of Brazil, and it wows the palate with an array of tropical fruit notes and sweet acidity, reminiscent of an Ethiopia Harrar. Certified organic.
Brazil Barreiro Estate Yellow Bourbon Micro-lot– This coffee is a single variety, the yellow bourbon, which is a natural strain of the red bourbon. In the cup the Barreiro shows extremely dense and heavy mouth feel, laced with a pleasant acidity and sweet, lingering acidity. Notes of cereal and chalk are also present. Pulled from a micro-lot of just 25 bags the Barreiro is a rare treat!
Ethiopia Misty Valley – Natural Yirgacheffe- This is the same as our classic "Idido Misty Valley", but from a different exporter. We are trying it to see how it compares, at a time of year when the Idido is not available. The Misty Valley is the new standard for natural Ethiopias in our opinion and we expect this new version to stack up well.
Nicaragua Aldea Global FTO - This is a relationship coffee we have offered for seven years now. Since we invested money through a micro-credit loan into the coop this past year we are eager to see the results in even better (this coffee has ranked very high in the Cup of Excellence in the past) cup quality. It is clean and sweet, totally reliable and solid as a daily coffee. Nicaragua 2008 Trip; Aldea Global Website
Costa Rica Tarrazu Micro Lot La Trinidad - Grown at 1750 meters above sea level (very high for Costa Rica) this beautiful, crisp, bright, lemony coffee stood out at a recent cupping. It is what the Costa Ricans call a "honey" coffee, meaning it is a pulped natural coffee (depulped, then dried in the mucilage) and so it has a little more complexity than a typical washed Costa Rica.
Panama Boquete Micro Lot Don Pepe Estate - This is a "honey" like the La Trinidad, but much more fruit forward and creamy, less citric. Helen and Brooke visited Don Pepe's Estate last year, and we were happy to see this coffee at a recent micro-lot cupping. Beautiful unique one of a kind coffee!
Ethiopia Koratie Natural Grade 3 - We cupped an outstanding Koratie at an auction cupping recently and found the same coffee (though perhaps not the same lot) through one of our trusted importers. We bought a bag and if it is anywhere near the auction coffee this will be outstanding. Aggressive floral notes predominate in the cup.
Guatemala El Carmen- The El Carmen has become our "go to" Guatemala Estate coffee. Grown at 1600-1900 meters this coffee is thick and syrupy in the cup with floral acidity. The farm has been in the same family since 1875 and the current brothers managing the farm, the Mejia brothers, are true old-school hacendados. Guatemala Trip 2007
Panama Geisha - This is probably the most interesting coffee to come through the door here at Equator. We were delighted to have one bag of it last year and we are registered for the auction this year. If we are lucky enough to get some of the Esmeralda Geisha it will be like nothing you have tasted before - everything that is great about a natural Ethiopia, but cleaner and fresher. http://www.haciendaesmeralda.com/
Kenya Top Auction Lot– By the end of the summer we always have a top auction Kenya from Knutsen Coffees. Erna Knutsen has developed strong relationships in Kenya over the years and is able to get Equator some of the best coffees from this origin. While we cannot comment on the coffee for this year as of yet, because the auction is still in full swing, we can say that in the past it has tasted of ripe peach and candied apple.
Ethiopia Auction Lot – In June we are participating in the Ethiopia Limited Auction and hope to get some spectacular micro lots to offer our customers. If we secure a coffee or two they will ship from Ethiopia in July, arriving here in the Bay Area by the end of August. Among our favorites are the coffees from Aleta Wondo, a community in Sidamo I recently wrote about, and whose auction coffees are all wonderful. We will be bidding on these coffees plus some others from around Ethiopia and will give you more info when it becomes available.
Mexico Nayarita Organic Natural and Reserva - This coffee has quickly become our favorite fall arrival. We first came across natural Mexico a few years back but it wasn't until we met the good folks at San Cristobal, an importer out of Washington state, that we had a steady supply of high quality natural Mexico. Natural coffees are easy to generate in theory, since after picking ripe coffee cherries you just put it out to dry, skipping the whole washing process entirely. But in reality, producing good quality natural coffees is exceedingly hard to do, requiring meticulous quality control. This is where San Cristobal comes in with its quality control expertise (having innovated some low-cost techniques for smll and medium-sized coffee farmers). San Cristobal is also firmly committed to social and environmental responsibility and as a result, they export some of the best natural coffees we have every tasted. If you don't prefer the fruity character of natural coffee, take a look at the clean, slightly nutty, but ever so refined, "Reserva" from San Cristobal. www.sancristocafe.com
Holiday Blend– Ethiopia Idido Misty Valley and select boutique lots of Indonesia. This coffee is a combination of some of our favorite coffees from this time of year and makes a perfect treat for the holidays. The Ethiopia Idido Misty Valley is bright and fruity, full of berry and wine flavors, while the Indonesia is big, round and earthy.
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