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We need to clear our warehouse for some exciting coffees arriving soon, so we’re having a massive one-day sale on November 15, 2018. Most of these coffees are fresh and cupping beautifully, but we need to move them quickly. That means great prices for you as you gear up for the holidays.

Check out these huge discounts.

Europe, Asia & The Middle East

Brazil 2017/18 - $5/kg 

Burundi 2017/18 - $5/kg 

Honduras 2017 - $5/kg 

Colombia 2018 (excluding LPET) - $5/kg 

Guatemala 2018 - $9.50/kg 

Kenya 2018, 3 top lots - $14.50/kg

Contact Nico, Veronika or Bjornar in Europe, and Julia in Asia to book your lots.

North America

West Coast Honduras - $1.90/lb 

All Guatemala - $3.90/lb 

All Ethiopia - $3.90/lb 

All Kenya - $4.90/lb 

Contact Sal on the East Coast and Colleen on the West Coast to book your lots.


In order to secure these great prices coffees must be booked on November 15, 2018 and released by December 15, 2018. No soft bookings, only contracted coffees can be purchased with these discounts.

CCS at the International Barcelona Coffee Festival


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.

CCS Top Five: Bjørnar

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. 

Ricardo Perez and his daughter Lucia of Santa Lucia / Helsar de Zarcero, Costa Rica

Ricardo Perez and his daughter Lucia of Santa Lucia / Helsar de Zarcero, Costa Rica

Costa Rica, Santa Lucia

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. 


Karyu - coffee washer at the Hallo Fuafuate washing station

Karyu - coffee washer at the Hallo Fuafuate washing station

Ethiopia Hallo Fuafate

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.

Volcán de Agua, known as Hunapu in the Mayan language, Antigua, Guatemala

Volcán de Agua, known as Hunapu in the Mayan language, Antigua, Guatemala

Guatemala Antigua Hunapu

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. 



Kenya - Karimikui AA

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.

Drying beds, Kiunyu Coffee Factory, Kirinyaga, Kenya

Drying beds, Kiunyu Coffee Factory, Kirinyaga, Kenya

Kenya - Kiunyu AB

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.  

Meet Dulce Barrera, Quality Control Manager for Bella Vista, Guatemala

Dulce Barrera recently triumphed over twelve other competitors to take the inaugural CCS Colombia Tasters Challenge crown at the SCA. When not killing it in competitions, Dulce is in charge of Quality Control for Zelcafe, our partners in Guatemala. 

It is not surprising that a professional cupper might win a cupping competition against coffee professionals who have to leave the cupping table now and then to run a roaster. What is remarkable is that Dulce has only been cupping for a few years, and in that time she has managed to win the Guatemala Cup Tasters Championship two years in a row. 

But it wasn’t sheer luck that won Dulce these accolades. Nor can her success be put down to natural talent. It was dogged determination and constant practice, as she explains below. 

Meet Dulce Barrera

Dulce Barrera (right) with Melanie Herrerra, both of Bella Vista, Guatemala 

Dulce Barrera (right) with Melanie Herrerra, both of Bella Vista, Guatemala 

I began working with the Zelaya family at the Bella Vista mill on January 4, 2002. We were working with small producers and processing record quantities of cherries. About eight years  after I started, Luis Pedro (Zelaya) began working with micro-lots to meet the demand from our customers. It was my job to prepare the samples for the Quality Control manager, who came the to farm once every week or so with customers. That’s when I discovered coffee cupping, and I wanted to know more. 

Luis Pedro invited all the administrative staff to learn to cup coffee. We worked in a small space that later became the Bella Vista laboratory. Long after everyone else had left I was still there, tasting tasting tasting, learning everything I could. I shadowed the Quality Control manager each time he came to Bella Vista, and I learned how to score coffees. I learned from the customers who came to taste coffees, people like George Howell, Laura Perry, Tal Mor, Tom Owen and others. It was difficult because I don’t speak English, but I watched to see what they liked and didn’t like, and always tasted those coffees once they were done. 

The Bella Vista Quality Control manager retired around three years ago, and I became the cupper for Bella Vista. I was still learning, so if we had major doubts about a coffee we would send a sample for a second opinion, but Luis Pedro had faith in my skills. In May 2016 he entered me into the Guatemala national Cup Tasters Championships. He didn’t tell me until a week before the event! I had no idea how the competition even worked, and I finished in seventh place, just outside the finals selection. 

I competed again in 2017 and I made it to the finals in fourth place. I won the final, the first woman to win the Guatemala Cup Tasters Championship, with seven correctly identified coffees in 5,24 minutes. I went to Budapest to compete in the international competition, and placed 21st. This year I won the Guatemala Cup Tasters Championship again, and I am ready to compete for the international prize in Dubai in November. 

At Bella Vista I work with small producers. I make sure to record all the information about each lot, where the coffee is from, the altitude, the varieties the farmers work with. I manage the Quality Control, and I give a price to the farmers based on the quality of their coffee. 

Guatemala is known for its washed coffees, more so than its honeys or naturals, but these days there is a trend to experiment and buyers want to see more flavor options. My favorite Guatemalan coffees are bourbons from Antigua for their bright and sweet cups with notes of peach, plum and cane sugar, and coffees from Huehuetenango for their tropical fruit notes with pronounced acidity. 

Best wishes and I hope you enjoyed my story.

CCS Colombia Tasters Challenge Recap

The CCS Colombia Tasters Challenge, attracted some serious cuppers. We had roasters, exporters, baristas, and two national Cup Tasters champions, Dulce Barrera who won Cup Tasters of Guatemala in consecutive years, and Steven Cuevas, 2017 US National Cup Tasters Champion. 

The prize on offer that drew such high calibre contestants was a return flight to Huila, Colombia, for the next CCS Acevedo Cup, courtesy of our partners in the region, Fairfield Trading. To take home the prize in this triangulation challenge, the contestant needed to correctly identify the different coffee in eight sets in the final round.   


The first round of the challenge was very competitive, making it quite an accomplishment to continue to the final round. After three heats of four contestants, the top three times were less than twenty seconds apart, with two perfect 4/4 scores. The third place finisher, Zane Derven of Black Oak Coffee Roasters, managed to get three of the four correct in only 2:38 minutes, a blazingly fast time and a respectable score, but only two could advance to the finals.

The finalists were two very talented cuppers, who scored full points in selecting the correct cup in the first round of competition. The ensuing matchup was a fierce competition, and the two competitors finished only four seconds apart. This meant the accuracy of their selections would ultimately decide the winner. Stacey Ann Lynden of Pallet Coffee Roasters put up an impressive score, with 4/8 cups selected correctly, but ultimately the top prize went to Dulce Barrera, who correctly selected 6/8 cups.

Dulce Barrera (right), winner of the CCS Colombia Tasters Challenge, with Melanie Herrera, both from Bella Vista Mill, Guatemala

Dulce Barrera (right), winner of the CCS Colombia Tasters Challenge, with Melanie Herrera, both from Bella Vista Mill, Guatemala

Stacey Lynden of Pallet Coffee Roasters won 2nd place. 

Stacey Lynden of Pallet Coffee Roasters won 2nd place. 

Dulce is part of the CCS family! She works as QC manager and Green Coffee Buyer for our partners in Guatemala, Bella Vista Mill. (We can assure you, there was no favoritism at play here, Juan Valdez was on hand to adjudicate and can swear that Dulce won the competition fair and square.)

I had the opportunity to cup with Dulce in Guatemala last week, so it was no surprise to me that she was able to navigate the difficult competition. Most impressive may be the fact that Dulce only started cupping consistently in 2016. Since then, she has posted back-to-back Guatemalan Cup Tasters titles.   

Thanks to everyone who participated, and to our partners, Fairfield Trading, for a great competition. 


CCS at the SCA

CCS will be at the Specialty Coffee Expo in Seattle this week from April 19 to 22. Check out our events below, and get in touch if you would like to organise a time to meet. 

Friday April 20, 11am
Ikawa Demonstration Roast

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Matt will join our friends at the Ikawa Booth 2624 during the SCA Specialty Coffee Expo for a demonstration roast. Matt has extensive experience as a roaster and manages QC and samples for CCS globally. He'll talk about his experience at origin with a portable Ikawa, and using it for sample roasting, while serving up some Ikawa-roasted Colombias. 

Saturday April 21, 10.15am
CCS Cupping

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Join us in Room 605 for a cupping of our CCS Acevedo Cup winners from Huila, plus fresh crop Guatemala, Kenya and Ethiopia. 

There are just a few spaces left and reservations are essential. Reserve your place at Eventbrite.

Get to know the coffees ahead of time! Check out our origin pages for Colombia, Guatemala, Kenya and Ethiopia where you can learn about the market and our partners, check out the offers, and download hi-res photos and our coffee info sheets. Plus, you can download the Coffee Information Sheets on the coffees that will be presented on Saturday from this Dropbox Showcase.


Sunday April 22, 10.30am
CCS Colombia Tasters Challenge

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Win a trip to Colombia! Sign up here.

Join Collaborative Coffee Source and Fairfield Trading at the Café de Colombia booth for this cupping competition of select Colombians from Huila and Tolima. Hosting this special event is Walter Acevedo, roaster at Amor Perfecto and Colombian Cup Taster Champion 2017, who will go on to represent Colombia at the 2018 World Cup Tasters Championship. 

Café de Colombia Booth
SCA Specialty Coffee Expo
Sunday 22 April


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Collaborative Coffee Source will be at the SCA Specialty Coffee Expo in Seattle. Join us in Room 605 for a cupping of our CCS Acevedo Cup winners from Huila, plus fresh crop Guatemala, Kenya and Ethiopia. 

Spaces are strictly limited so reservations are essential. Reserve your place at Eventbrite.

Want to chat with us while we're in town? Let's make a time to meet!
West Coast sales: Colleen
East Coast sales: Sal
Buying & QC: Matt