CCS and our friends at SlowMov will kick off the International Barcelona Coffee Festival with a cupping of fresh crops from Kenya, Ethiopia, Costa Rica, Guatemala, plus a few surprises!
Wednesday Oct 10th, 5 pm
Address: Carrer de Luis Antúnez, 18, 08006 Barcelona, Espagne
Spaces are limited to 15 people. Email Nico to confirm yours.
Friends in Czech Republic, CCS is coming to town for the Prague Coffee Festival. Veronika will be there, brewing with our friends at Coffee Desk, and visiting CCS family members including Populus Coffee, Doubleshot, Nordbeans, Casino Mocca, Diamond’s Roastery, Morgon Coffee Roasters, and Kavárna Pražírna.
Join us in the Cupping Room on Saturday October 20 at 1.30pm to cup some fresh crops from Costa Rica, and La Palma y El Tucán from Cundinamarca, Colombia. Plus we will have a selection of incoming coffees from Peru, a new origin for CCS.
Veronika is around to meet and discuss your roastery’s menu, forward planning for 2019, or just to have a chat. Email Veronika to make a time.
It's no secret I'm big lover of Panamanian coffees. It is the first origin I visited and my favorite coffee origin to compete with at brewing competitions, because of my personal connection to this country. So my Top Five consists mostly of Panama, but there are some surprises from Latin America too. Click on a title to order a sample.
One of the farms I have visited in February 2017 was Finca Elida, owned by the Lamastus family. They are well known for such a great Geisha lots, winning Best of Panama year after year and baristas repeatedly competing with their coffees. No wonder - this is the one you should go for your competition. Intense floral aroma with flavors of strawberries, hint of mint and creamy body. Sounds like a delicious dessert!
When we did a blind cupping at the farm I found my favorite ever coffee: Catuai, naturally processed. It has intense candy sweetness with a fruit explosion, which it consistently delivers each year, crop after crop. Even the geishas were jealous.
I tried to get to El Burro, driving two hours uphill on a rugged path that was one meter deep and the width of our car. Sadly it started to rain and the road became muddy and slippery. We had to turn back, but I see now in my cup how precious are those climate conditions up there. This coffee explodes with apricots, bergamot, exotic florals, strawberry. It is juicy, sweet, and a well balanced cup.
4. Brazil, Santuario Sul, Sudan Rume, Anaerobic
Every morning I come to office and I brew my V60 and share with my colleague Suzie - the best start of the day, with a proper cup. I never thought I would be excited about brewing Brazilian coffee, but this year the team from Carmo Coffees brought lots which are total game changers. My favorite is the Sudan Rume processed by anaerobic fermentation - such a clean and fruity cup! Read more about these exciting coffees.
Team of La Palma Y El Tucan are open about being coffee nerds. So am I and I believe most of us are, competitors especially. When looking for something funky, unexpected from Colombian coffees, they have wide selection of Heroes Series coffees including Sidra, Geisha, SL28 varieties. This year my favorite is a Sidra Lactic, fermented specifically to to play around with different acids found in the coffee. This sweet fruity coffee sparkles with blackberry, florals and banana. Buy it! Brew it! Win!
Friends in Russia, drop by Booth 3F115 at PIR Coffee Expo and say hi to Nico. He’ll be there with our partners KLD Coffee Importers on Wednesday September 26 and Thursday September 27.
On Friday September 28 at 11am Nico will be at the KLD offices hosting a cupping of fresh crops La Palma y El Tucán. Contact Nicolas for more details.
As part of our mission to source the right coffee the right way, we invest heavily in long term meaningful relationships in the coffee industry. This includes relationships with our customers, coffee roasters. We love growing with a business, understanding your markets, connecting you to producers, and sourcing the perfect coffee for you. We consider you a part of the CCS family.
This is the first in an ongoing series of blog posts celebrating the businesses and the people roasting CCS-sourced coffee.
Interview with Prestin Yoder, Roaster, Reveille Coffee Roasters
Describe your coffee journey
I went to college and immediately got a gig as a barista. Found it a useful skill as a side-hustle while I did school. After graduating, I was not comfortable working within my line of study. At the time I found friends who were trying to improve quality of green, roasted and brewed coffee. The culture was lit with critical thinking and potential. I wanted in. Working my way through Seattle, New York and San Francisco, I soaked myself into a dissolved solid.
Why do you roast coffee?
I like the work. It’s interesting, gratifying and fun. I have been working with coffee for over a decade now, I want to get closer to the product and its producers. I like the challenge, meditation and discovery of the job.
If you weren’t working in coffee, what would you be doing?
Painting and mashing apples hillside.
(After coffee) what is the thing you love most?
People, my first love.
If you could change one thing about specialty coffee, what would it be?
Compensation for farmers. The chain has got to change, though I know we are better off now than before, there is much work to be done. This is a multifaceted issue of course.
If you could change one thing about the world, what would it be?
Our current administration.
Tell us about Reveille Coffee Roasters
It started with two brothers, Christopher and Thomas Newbury. They tricked out an old DHL truck and started brewing the best coffee they could find. It was a modest operation for San Francisco, but it proved to suit the neighborhood of Jackson Square. After that, they locked down their first brick and mortar location in North Beach. As the company grew, logistically, the next step was to roast for themselves.
What makes Reveille Coffee Roasters special?
Reveille’s roastery is unique to me because it is one of the few light roasters in the city. We push the cup score for the Bay Area with acidity and clarity. I also find the coffees that CCS provide us with are above par. Quality green cannot lie.
Tell us about the San Francisco coffee scene
Oh San Francisco. What a romance, a steel colander of colorful characters strained into a reserved social disposition. It’s beautiful here, the greenscapes at your fingertips and the ocean whispering at you from all sides. We are fortunate to have a big audience for quality coffee here. Coffee is a staple for most folks in SF, the everyday consumer is a bit more conscious of what is good. The tech community has a special place in their heart for specialty coffee, they never cease to surprise me with their level of engagement.
What is your favorite CCS coffee?
That’s hard to say. One that comes to mind is the 2017 Harvest of Gakuyu-ini AB from Kirinyaga. That coffee was seductive with red velvet, saturated berry sweetness, ethereal hibiscus florality and a nippy carignan grape/cranberry finish...just for the record. That coffee aged really well, I appreciated how it opened up and remained vibrant/stable beyond 10 months post-harvest.
Preferred super power: flying or invisibility?
Flying, true Leo styles!
Friends in Slovenia, Veronika is coming to the Ljubljana Coffee Festival.
On Friday the 5th of October Veronika will give a presentation on the role of a sourcing company in the specialty coffee supply chain in The Lab, and at 5pm she will lead a cupping of select CCS summer crops at the Sensory Cupping Table.
On Saturday she will be around, judging the barista competition and meeting old and new friends. Want to meet with Veronika? Get in touch.
We are thrilled to announce that our good friend Benjamin Paz will be in Oslo next week. Benjamin is both a producer and an exporter of coffee from Santa Barbara. To celebrate, we will host a cupping of fresh crop Honduran coffees that are fresh off the boat.
Spaces are limited. Email Bjørnar to reserve yours.
The CCS Summer’s End Celebration was our biggest cupping event for the year so far. For two action-packed days we cupped, chatted, discussed, competed and partied with roasters from all over the world.
Tetsu Kasuya wowed us all with his cupping skills in the LPET Tasters Challenge, and took home the great prize of 12.5kg of La Palma y El Tucan Heroes Series Sidra Lactic. Spectators were also part of the action with a competition to guess the winner of the finals and their time. Emi of Mame Coffee in Switzerland was the lucky winner of 1kg of LPET gesha, by picking Tetsu as the winner of the competition, guessing he would complete the challenge in one minute. It took Tetsu 51 seconds.
Stay tuned for details of our next cupping event in November. Sign up for our newsletter to make sure you are the first to know.
PLease note, this position has been filled. Thank you to everyone who applied.
QUALITY CONTROL & ROASTING ASSISTANT, NORTH AMERICA
Collaborative Coffee Source (CCS) is looking for a self-motivated individual to join our team in the Boston area in North America. This individual will assist the Global Buyer & Quality Control Manager - responsible for the quality control of all the green coffee imported by our company - and provide additional support for Sales and Logistics. This is a full time position with some travel, based in the Boston area.
Who are CCS
We are a quality and education focused green coffee sourcing and import company founded in Oslo, Norway, and are expanding our market in North America.
CCS currently sources coffee in ten countries from Central & South America and East Africa and serve clients across three continents: Europe, North America and Asia.
RESPONSIBILITIES & TASKS
Handle green coffee samples from inventory management of samples to distributing samples to customers, as well as samples roasting and setting up cuppings for customers. This includes:
Receive Samples (offer samples, pre-shipment samples, arrival samples, miscellaneous);
Perform quality control on all samples that have been received (e.g. water activity, moisture level, Blacklight);
Enter coffee data (origin info & QC results) into Cropster and Quality Control Google spreadsheet;
Roast & cup received samples, send feedback if needed and/or report back
Manage outgoing samples that are to be sent out to potential customers from Sales Team;
Manage samples for Sales Presentations;
Maintain Cropster Hub;
Organize lab, create systems, protocols, etc.;
Logistics support processing releases and providing customer service.
Education and/or experience: a minimum of five (5) years in specialty coffee with at least one (1) year roasting experience.
Excellent interpersonal and customer service skills;
A demonstrated capability to collaborate with and maintain effective relationships with colleagues and customers;
A flexible nature, positive temperament and ability to handle stressful situations;
Enjoys working independently with minimal guidance as well as with a close-knit team;
Strong work ethic, self-motivated;
The ability to maintain confidentiality in all matters;
Strong attention to detail;
Strong written and verbal communication skills;
Demonstrated creativity and initiative finding solutions for key issues.
To apply, please submit your resume to Robyn.
On Sunday June 3rd, Guatemala’s Volcán de Fuego erupted. Within minutes, homes, villages and coffee farms were consumed by a pyroclastic flow, a fast-moving mixture of hot gas and volcanic rock.
Activity in this volcano is common, however the force of this eruption took everyone by surprise. It shot a blast of smoke more than 6km into the sky, and rained ash and volcanic rock down for miles around. The government declared a state of emergency in Chimaltenango, Escuintla and Sacatepéquez, the provinces most badly affected, where an estimated 70 people were killed and 1.7 million affected.
CCS has been sourcing coffee from this region for over five years, with the help and guidance of our export partners at the Bella Vista Mill.
How to help
Many of you have asked how you can help our producers and partners in this region. Some of you have raised funds and would like to know how to get the money to those who need it.
Below is an update from Melanie Herrera of Bella Vista Mill, including suggestions for donations to help our people on the ground.
Antigua Guatemala, August 27th, 2018
UPDATE ON FUEGO
I hope this letter finds you well.
As many of you know, on June 3rd, Fuego erupted causing a lot of damage in Guatemala.
Some members of our team were affected. Some lost family members, some lost their homes and belongings, some died during the disaster. Some coffee plantations were affected by ash and lava.
We have been working on how to support our team in the best way we can. We have given some time for things to calm down and to find out how our friends have been affected. After some time of discussion we have decided to involve a third party with experience in fundraising, distribution and emergency relief.
We have agreed to partner with Funcafé, the social arm of Anacafe, created to pursue socio-economic development of coffee producers in Guatemala. We will have a specific fund with Funcafé to help our crew who have been affected by the eruption. Funcafé will work on a diagnosis to fully understand the needs of everyone affected and will work on a plan to allocate the funds that many of you raised for this cause. If you would like to make a donation please contact me so I can give you instructions.
Thank you very much for your love, friendship and support. We highly appreciate it.
Earlier this month Colleen King, of our US West Coast office, and I visited Valle del Cauca, Colombia. It was CCS’ first official visit to this department which is better known for producing cane sugar, than coffee.
Café Sello Mujer
One of the reasons for visiting Valle del Cauca was to meet the women of Café Sello Mujer in Caicedonia.
Though they only officially formed in December 2017, the group already have a significant project under their belt: the launch of their own brand of roasted coffee. With the assistance of Cafexcoop mill, the group set a quality standard, and all coffees from the last harvest that met that standard, were blended, roasted, ground and packaged by the mill.
This impressive association of women producers has a very clear vision of what they need, and where they want to go. Their number one priority is improving the quality of the coffee. The second priority is increasing visibility of women producers in Colombia.
Obstacles faced by women producers in Colombia
Eugenia Balanta is the director of the Cafexcoop mill and one of only a few women executives in coffee in Colombia.
Eugenia identified several obstacles that women producers face in Colombia that may prevent them from achieving the quality needed to earn a premium for their coffee. Firstly, she said, women struggle to access training programs offered by cooperatives, aid agencies and the FNC. In addition to cultivating coffee, women are expected to care for children and manage the household. If attending a training program requires traveling overnight, very few women can attend, as it would mean leaving their children.
Secondly, even when women are cultivating the coffee, their husbands may be the one making the business decisions. This may include whether or not they can enter their coffee into competitions like Valle Cafetero.
Esperanza Fajardo of Café Sello Mujer agrees that support from men in the family is essential to the success of women producers. Her husband was waiting outside while we discussed their project and obstacles unique to women producers in societies like Colombia’s. While some may view this as a further suppression of women’s rights, Esperanza and her group see it as true equality. Women and men will always coexist, so cooperation is imperative.
The women in this association meet every two weeks, which is a serious commitment, given how far they need to travel. Some of them don’t own a car or a motorbike, so husbands become bus drivers, collecting and returning women from these meetings.
At its core however, Café Sello Mujer is about women helping women. They support each other through “mingas” which are working bees, or barn raising events, where the women work communally on projects on each others’ farms.
They also plan to harness digital media to tell their stories. Very often women in Colombia become producers because fathers, husbands or brothers are killed in Colombia’s long running internal conflict, but while this is part of their story, it is not what defines them as producers. Nor do they want to be presented as the beauty queens of coffee. “We won’t dress it up, we won’t be something else, we will tell our stories how we want them to be told,” said member Aneth Choronta.
The next coffee harvest in Caicendonia is Dec/Jan, and we look forward to cupping coffee from producers of the Cafe Sello Mujer association.
Valle Cafetero Competition
The reason for visiting Valle del Cauca this month was to attend the fourteenth Valle Cafetero competition. The competition was run by the Cafexcoop mill which is owned by the four cooperatives associated with the Federación Nacional de Cafeteros (FNC).
The department is better known for producing high volumes of coffee than high quality, but this competition aims to increase visibility of specialty coffee in the department, and motivate producers to invest in improving quality. Over the last fourteen years of the competition, the scores of the coffees have vastly improved and the range of scores is narrower, suggesting that overall quality is improving every year.
Over 190 coffees were entered into the competition. The Cafexcoop team narrowed these down to 30 for the panel of judges. The top three winners received a cash prize and all of the top 30 coffees were up for sale at a silent auction at the award ceremony.
Twenty-one of the top 30 coffees were sold during the auction. The lowest priced coffee sold at 30% above the current price in Colombia, while the top placing coffee sold well over 500% of the current price.
The majority of the coffees were sold to exporters with South Korean clients. While we didn’t buy any coffees during the auction, we did identify several producers with delicious coffees, and we will be following up with them in the coming months. The event clearly showed this department has great promise.
All 30 coffee growers were invited to give a short presentation to the judges before the auction. The intention was two-fold: add value to the coffees by telling the story of the producer, and empower producers to negotiate prices for their coffees. While many of the presentations were more like a sales pitch, such as “my coffee is the best,” the experience was valuable to the producers who described it as terrifying, but also exciting to be a part of the sales process.
ABOUT VALLE DEL CAUCA
Some basic statistics:
- 25,815 fincas in Valle del Cauca
- 61,145 hectares in coffee
- Most specialty is 1500-2100m
- Density of planting is 4768 trees/hectare
- Average age of trees is 7.6 years
- Coffees are grown along the 2 Andes ranges in the department
- 151 microcuencas
- 30.2% of the members of these co-ops are women
- The 4 coops have 3302 members in total
Valle del Cauca is a department located on the Pacific coast, bordered by Chocó, Tolima and Cauca. This department is named after the Cauca river that runs through it, and this river is the basis of their unique approach to coffee cultivation.
The National Federation of Coffee Growers (FNC) divides Colombia into 86 “ecotopos” (ecotopes in English) within seven different coffee growing regions. These ecotopos are geographical areas that share the same soil and climatic conditions. Using this guide, the FNC create sustainable development programs, technical and crop forecasting models, and study the relationship between climatic conditions of the ecotopos and the cup quality they produce.
In Valle del Cauca, the flowing waters of the Cauca River unite the people, so instead of using ecotopes to determine their coffee sustainability strategy, the department uses “Micro-Cuencas” or micro river basins. Micro-Cuencas are the epicenter of the community and the source of coffee quality. Everyone, whether they work in coffee or not, must do their part to ensure the water is respected, because contamination flows downstream and negatively affects everything: the environment, the people, and ultimately, the coffee quality.
Sustainability programs in Valle del Cauca work with the unique ecosystem of each Mirco-Cuenca. They encourage coffee cultivation in harmony with the natural resources, maintaining the balance of the local insect population, stimulating natural fertility of the soil, and conserving the river basin for the future of both coffee cultivation, and the community.
A client and I were chatting the other day and he asked “What are your top 5 coffees?”
I could spend all day answering this question.
My top 5 of all coffees we have had this year?
Of all the coffees I have cupped lately?
Of all coffees I have cupped, ever?
We started chatting in the office, and I realized the answer says so much about us and our role in the company, and I wanted to share these answers with our customers.
And so, the CCS Top 5 was born.
Each month we will ask a member of the team for their Top 5 coffees. For the purposes of this blog, we decided to focus on coffees that are currently available, that way, if you find our favorites interesting, you can get their hands on them.
I will kick things off this month, so here goes, my Top 5 list (In no particular order). Click on a coffee if you would like to order a sample.
Plum and strawberry, marmalade, blueberry, 88 points.
The coffees from the Mill Helsar de Zarcero have always been dear to me. Santa Lucia (the farm) and Helsar (the mill) were actually the first I ever visited in my coffee career. That was back in 2010. We have purchased coffees from Helsar every year since 2009, first for Kaffa and now for CCS.
When I selected this particular coffee back March, it was a solid and sweet coffee. But when we just recently cupped the pre-shipment sample, I was quite surprised with how the coffee has developed. It is so complex, with lots of deep fruit. I am really looking forward for this to arrive, and hoping it will find a good home.
Floral, peach, lychee, bright and clear, 88 points.
This coffee has consistently been the best washed Ethiopian on all our cupping sessions. It comes from Snap, a new partner for us in Ethiopia. Both the coffee and the partnership are very promising.
Hazelnut, Grape, Red Currant, Roasted Hazelnut, Roasted Bakers Chocolate, Caramel, 87 points.
This is such a solid coffee. Hunapu is the name of a blend of coffees from smallholder producers around Volcán de Agua in Antigua, Guatemala. It’s a coffee that works really well as a filter, with notes of berries and complex acidity. And is also perfect as a darker roast, either as a stand alone deep espresso or as a fresh component in a blend.
Berry, strawberry, rose hips, blackberry, 88 points
This is one of these coffees that keeps on shining on the cupping table. In this lot the AA is by far the most intense and acidity-forward coffee of the three, with my absolute favorite note found in Kenyan coffee: rose hip.
Raspberry, Citric Acid, Tropical Fruit, Grapefruit, Rose, 88 points
We will have all grades from this lot (AA, AB and PB) and they are all performing spectacularly well. For me, the AB sorting from this lot is the most vibrant and complex of the three.
CCS’ founder, Robert Thoresen, has been developing long-term relationships with producers and partners at origin since before he opened Kaffa Oslo roastery in 2005. Anyone who has worked in specialty coffee as long as Robert can tell you, those relationships will be tested. Like any long-term commitment, there are good times and there are bad. Enduring those tougher times only strengthens the relationship, and reaffirms its value and meaning. Our relationship with Moplaco Trading in Ethiopia is one of our most passionate, and right now it is being tested.
We began working with this pioneering company in 2013, and its director, Heleanna Georgalis, has been our trusted guide ever since. Ethiopia is a challenging origin. Its coffees are highly sought after for their cup profiles, the astounding genetic diversity, and for challenging our perceptions of what coffee can be. And yet it is so hard to buy coffee there. The labyrinthine and ever-changing coffee auction system and the laborious government bureaucracy can frustrate even the most patient coffee professional. Add poor infrastructure and political instability, and it is a small miracle that coffee ever leaves the country’s borders. And yet it does, and we can thank Heleanna for showing us how its done.
Our relationship with Moplaco
Heleanna is a coffee producer herself, plus, through Moplaco she has been purchasing and processing cherries through all manner of trading and auction models since she took over her father’s company in 2008. The great value that Moplaco add to their coffees is their meticulous processing, both natural and washed. This work has earned Moplaco an international reputation for exceptional and consistent high quality.
But things have been rough this year. Despite preparing the contracts for these coffees back in March, we have still yet to receive a single container. Rarely are these rough patches the fault of just one party, and we admit our own part, we were late getting confirmation from our clients which delayed our purchasing decisions. If we had confirmed the coffees we were buying sooner, we might have avoided the problems that followed.
A series of very unfortunate events
First, just as the coffees we purchased were approaching the front of the milling queue, the zone where the Moplaco mill is located lost power. It was almost a month before electricity was restored, delaying the milling of our coffees to the end of June. By that time, all our paperwork, the contracts, letters of credit (LC), export certificates etc., were out of date and had to be renewed.
Moplaco’s headquarters are located in Dire Dawa, Ethiopia’s second largest city, located in the Somali Regional State in Eastern Ethiopia. Ethnic tensions are always simmering in this region, but in the last nine months violence has escalated, causing Moplaco to close their office. Internet in the region has also been intermittent -- cutting the internet is a tactic in some African countries to restrict the mobilizing power of social media. Admasu, the Moplaco staff member based in Dire Dawa is currently working in local banks who have sporadic internet access he can use when it is not busy processing international transactions. We are concerned firstly for the safety of Admasu, and secondly — by a very very long margin — that this is slowing down the paperwork.
We are frustrated, of course. We want our delicious Ethiopians to hit the market early. We want them on your menus before anyone else’s. But this is the reality of working in Ethiopia. Other exporters have not faced these issues this year, and there is plenty of Ethiopian coffee available on the market, but we are not blaming Moplaco for the delay. Our respect for Moplaco’s meticulous work, knowledge of Ethiopia, and their stellar coffees is not diminished. We will continue in this relationship and support Heleanna in her efforts to counter each problem as it arises.
The silver lining is that the delays caused by the power outage mean our coffee was only recently milled, so it will arrive fresh and delicious.
To better times ahead.
Moplaco Container update
Two containers for Continental are on the road to Djibouti and should ship soon. We expect them to arrive in September. The third container should arrive in October.
Two containers are ready, all the paperwork has been updated, and will leave for Djibouti in the next week. We also expect them to arrive at the Vollers warehouse in September.
We are working on an updated Letter of Credit (LC), an essential document that guarantees payment for the coffee to a government approved Ethiopian bank. We hope to have this sorted soon, and we are expecting the container to arrive in September.
Plus we have stellar Ethiopian coffees from our partners SNAP, Kata Maduga and Guji Highlands available for spot purchase.
Nico is currently in Cundinamarca, Colombia, at the La Palma y El Tucán farm. He is cupping coffees, discovering the latest innovations in varieties and processing, and finding some time for a few beers and a game of tejo. Follow Nico’s adventures on Instagram.
Who are La Palma y El Tucán?
La Palma y El Tucán are pioneering producers from Cundinamarca, challenging the status quo of coffee cultivation and processing in one of the world’s largest producing countries, Colombia.
The name comes from two rare species they discovered cohabiting on their land when they purchased the 18 hectare plot: the Emerald Toucan and the endangered Wax Palm. These species live in a happy symbiotic relationship, something the team hope to emulate with coffee and community.
LPET Heroes Series
Within just a few years, the name La Palma y El Tucán was all over the coffee competition circuit. On their own farm, they grow exotic varieties like Geisha, Sidra and SL28, and experiment with different fermentation techniques to produce unique and sometimes wild flavors in the cup. These coffees are called their Heroes Series, and they continue to attract judges attention at the international level in barista and brewing competitions.
All coffees in the Heroes Series score 89 points or above, and are sold in 25kg boxes. Only 100 boxes are available each year, worldwide.
See our available Heroes Series lots in the CCS Competition Coffee shop on Cropster Hub.
LPET Neighbors and Crops
The Neighbors and Crops program was created to help producers with small farms and limited processing infrastructure gain access to the specialty market. These producers are cultivating typical Colombian varieties including Caturra, Castillo, Colombia, Typica, and Bourbon. LPET buy cherries directly and transport them to their state-of-the-art facility for processing. The team work with more than 70 coffee-growing families located within 10km of the LPET farm.
Building a sustainable community
LPET hope to revitalize the coffee growing culture of Cundinamarca by buying and processing exceptional coffee cherries from farmers who would otherwise not have access to the post-harvest infrastructure required to process high quality coffee. Additionally they invest in innovative practices to protect the local ecosystem.
The average age of producers in the Neighbors and Crops program is over 60 years old, and younger generations who don't see a future in coffee farming seek new opportunities in cities like Bogotá (often with little success). LPET believe for future generations to continue cultivating coffee, it has to make economic sense, so they offer the following to their Neighbors and Crops partners:
- Prices that are at least 50% more than the country's average;
- Training for local cherry pickers in high-quality coffee harvesting methods;
- Transportation of cherries to the LPET processing facility;
- Donations of trees raised in the LPET nursery;
- Donations of organic fertilizers created by composting cherry pulp on the LPET farm.
LPET & Sustainablility
In addition to sustaining their community, LPET are committed to sustaining the environment. Part of the LPET farm is dedicated to an agroforestry project and the team grow a wide range of complimentary crops, including beans, corn and bananas, nestled amongst perennial tree species including cedar, avocado, walnut and guayacan.
This is all done using organic farming methods, decreasing the need for inputs for their coffee trees. The intention of this model is to leave the land enriched and viable, to support the community nutritionally and financially for generations to come.
LPET Neighbors and Crops Exclusive Purchasing
These are small lots of lovingly processed coffees, and from this harvest, we will be offering them as complete lots. Select your producer and have exclusive access to that coffee in Europe. Minimum purchase is 10 x 35kg bags. There are only fifteen lots for all of Europe, and nine are already booked. Make sure you don't miss out, contact Nico to find out what is still available. When all coffees have been booked we will put you on a wait list.
To book your exclusive lot from the 2018 harvest, contact Nico.
To order current crop Neighbors and Crops, available by the bag, see our Colombian offers list.
LPET Cuppings in Oslo
We will be cupping these coffees at our upcoming Summer’s End Celebration. On Tuesday September 4th we’ll cup Neighbors and Crops and on Wednesday September 5th we will feature the LPET Heroes Series in our special Competition Coffees cupping. Sign up for this event in the form below.
LPET Tasters Challenge Part II
For those of you who missed out in Amsterdam, here is your chance to get your hands on some of this exclusive coffee with the LPET Tasters Challenge Part II, at our Summer's End Celebration in September.
Eight contestants will battle in a triangulation competition, with the extra challenge of identifying La Palma & El Tucán's different fermentation methods and exotic varieties.
The winner will take an amazing prize: a full 12.5kg brick of an LPET Heroes Series coffee!
The competition will be on Day 2 of the Summer's End Celebration, Wednesday September 5th, in the CCS Oslo HQ.
There are a few spaces left for this exclusive event. Complete the form below to reserve yours.
Sign me up for the CCS Summer's End Celebration, Sep 2018
Retrouvez Nico et notre vieil ami Thomas de Belleville Brulerie, pour ce nouveau CCS Road Trip!
Au programme: Cuppings, ateliers roast et plus...!
Septembre 7 Paris @ KB Coffee Shop
Septembre 9 Lyon with Placid Roasters @ Slake Coffee - 16h00
Septembre 11 Marseille @ Deep Coffee Roasters - 17h30
Septembre 12 Montpellier @ Café BUN - 18h30
Septembre 13 Toulouse @ Café Cerise - 9h00
Septembre 13 Bordeaux @ Oven Heaven - 17h00
Septembre 15 Paris @ Belleville Brulerie - 13h00
Plus d'information: email@example.com
It was a busy time leading up to the World of Coffee in Amsterdam. The team were working long hours, roasting crazy quantities of samples, packing equipment, finalising schedules, checking checklists. Then the Brazilians arrived.
Everyone dropped what they were doing to meet Luiz Paulo Pereira and Hugo Silva from Carmo Coffees at the cupping table.
What we tasted was like nothing we have come to expect from Brazil. Alongside the great washed and natural coffees we know and love from Carmo Coffees were these SL28 and Rume Sudan anaerobic newcomers: clean, bright with candy-intense fruitiness.
Exotic varieties? New processing methods? Is this really Brazil?
The Carmo Coffees approach
This is exactly the response Luiz Paulo Pereira was hoping for. This has been his mission since he started Carmo Coffees with his cousin Jacques Caneiro in 2007.
The beginnings were not glamorous. The cousins, from a family of coffee producers, opened an export office in the small town of Carmo de Minas. It was important to look professional, so they hired Rose to work as a secretary and put a big white box of a computer on her desk. The machine didn’t work, but it showed they were a serious business; they had a secretary and a computer.
They exported their first coffees in 2007, the same time CCS founder, Robert Thoresen, was in Brazil, sourcing for our sister roasting company, Kaffa Oslo. The three discovered a shared mission to showcase Brazil’s potential for specialty coffee, and began one of CCS’ longest running relationships.
Twelve years later, Rose works in the QC department, Carmo Coffees employs 62 people, and all of their computers work.
Carmo Coffees and Specialty
Carmo Coffees work differently to other coffee companies in Brazil. Firstly, they believe good coffee is born of relationships.
“We have producers who come to us and ask, ‘I want to sell my coffee to you. What is the price?’” Luiz Paulo explained. “We want to know what is your plan? What future is there for both of us?”
Their sales force are called “Coffee Chefs.” Like a fine dining chef who sources the best ingredients and transforms them with passion and creativity into a delicious dish, the sales team must follow the coffee from the day it is planted until it is harvested, processed and delivered.
“Ninety nine percent of coffee traders in Brazil look for papers, the price, shipping times, negotiation possibilities. They sit at a computer all day,” Luiz Paulo said. “Our team are part of the coffee process from the beginning. They visit the producers, know their land, the costs, the challenges, the ambitions. This is all before the coffees arrive in our warehouse.”
While Carmo Coffees have impressed us year after year for their consistent clean and fruity profiles, it was the coffees from Luiz Paulo’s new project, Santuario Sul, that had us all mesmerized in June.
The project, which began almost five years ago, is a collaboration with Camilo Merizalde, the pioneering Colombian behind the Santuario project, plus the Santuario fermentation expert, Ivan Solis, from Costa Rica. The farm currently has 30 hectares of land in coffee production, and they aim to expand to 70 hectares very soon.
We want this farm to be different,“ Luiz Paolo said. “If we do the usual things, it’s just another farm in Brazil. We are bringing together Brazilian terroir with Central and South American styles.”
They began by planting different varietals, 25 in total, making it the biggest coffee garden in Brazil. Last year they harvested a their first crop of Sudan Rume. This year saw the first harvest of SL28.
The next step was to experiment with processing, specifically anaerobic fermentation. Rather than import expensive equipment from overseas, the team looked in their own backyard. Carmo de Minas is dairy country — Luiz Paulo's grandmother is as famous for her cows as she is for coffee — so they bought a fermentation tank used for cheese making.
The closed steel tanks are easy to clean and feature double walls and temperature controls, which Ivan Solís adapted to the exact temperature range required for coffee processing. The tank used on Santuario Sul can process 2000 liters of cherries - around ten bags of green coffee.
Anaerobic processing on Santuario Sul
The cherries are hand-picked to ensure perfect maturity, then washed to remove any juice excreted during the picking process which can significantly reduce the clarity in the cup.
The team then measure the Brix levels of the cherries. If they are higher than 23, the cherries are used for anaerobic fermentation. If the Brix levels are lower than 23, they are destined to become naturals.
The selected cherries are placed in the adapted dairy tank for 60 hours without any movement, then the tank is opened to check the PH level. When the PH of the mucilage inside the fermenting cherries reaches 4.5, it is time to take them out.
“We experimented with a PH of 5,” Luiz Paulo explained, “but the flavor was too funky.”
After fermentation the cherries are removed and left to dry with the cascara still intact. Drying takes between 18 to 21 days, depending on the weather.
The resulting cup is the perfect combination of washed and natural: clean, bright, full of fruit and sweetness.
While Luiz Paulo notes that they are still learning, the initial experiments were so successful that they have installed tanks of three other sites: Fazenda Irmas Pereira (2000 liters), Alta Vista (2000 liters) and Pedralva (5000 liters). This is part of the Carmo Coffees approach. They are not interested in trends, or glamour, instead they aim to produce unique and delicious coffees year after year, which means everything must be repeatable.
The natural processing on Santuario Sul differs from other naturals from Brazil primarily in the picking, which is done manually. Maturing is a particularly long process in this part of Brazil, and trees frequently have both flowers and ripe cherries at the same time, making hand-picking only mature cherries essential. After picking, the cherries are laid to dry on average for 23 days.
In both styles of processing the cherries are hand sorted as they dry on the beds. Carmo Coffees recently ran a competition, men vs women, to see who could select the largest number of imperfect cherries in the shortest amount of time. The women won by a large margin.
The cherries are hand-picked for perfect ripeness. They are de-pulped with some mucilage left intact. The coffee is left to ferment for an average of 24 hours, or until the PH level reaches 4.5. It is washed to remove any remaining mucilage and dried. Micro-lots are dried on African beds. The initial layer of coffee on the beds is very thin and as the coffee dries, they increase height of the layers.
Want to get your hands on some samples?
Carmo Coffees will be special guests in Oslo at our Summer’s End Celebration in September, presenting more of these stereotype-busting coffees. Email firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to join us.
If you can’t make it to Oslo, add your details to the form below and we will contact you as soon as pre-shipment samples arrive.