May & June 2013 Cupping Events


collaborative-3248 London in Review

Thank you to The Association and Prufrock Coffee for being such excellent hosts for our recent cupping events!

To recap: Our focus during the Association cupping were the Hacienda La Esmeralda Special auction lots. The Peterson family produces separate lots based on geographic areas, microclimates and picking dates from their farms and then auction these lots each year. The date for this year's auction is May 21st and we wanted to give UK roasters the opportunity to taste and form a buying group to bid on these amazing coffees during auction.

Our cupping at Prufrock had a broader focus and in addition to cupping the Esmeralda lots, cuppers tasted  fresh crop Guatemalan and Honduran coffees coming from our friends at Bella Vista in Antigua and San Vincente in Santa Barbara. Also in the mix were soon-to-arrive Kenya and Ethiopia coffees.

There were great turnouts at these events! Thanks to all who took the time to join us.

May and June Events

For all you out there who couldn't join us in London, don't despair! We're make the rounds again in May and June. Mark your calendars!

Oslo: May 15 @ Kaffa Roastery. Esmeralda auction lots, Guatemala, Honduras, Kenya and Ethiopia.

Berlin: May 21 @ the Barn. Esmeralda auction lots. Auction is that day! May 28 @ the Barn: Guatemala, Honduras, Kenya and Ethiopia.

Nice: June 26-28 during SCAE World of Coffee. Details to follow!


London Again! April 23-24

Prufrock Coffee, London

Prufrock Coffee, London

London has become a second home for us at the Collaborative - especially at Prufrock Coffee, which has now welcomed and helped us co-host several cuppings since the very beginning. We have cupped some fantastic coffees and met some great coffee people within these walls, and now we are heading back to our London home again next week.

This time around, however, we have another venue and event to talk about: an exclusive cupping of coffees from Hacienda La Esmeralda at The Association. We have developed a great relationship over the years with the Peterson family, owners of Hacienda La Esmeralda. Throughout the history of Panama's Best of Panama competition, the Petersons and their geisha coffees have performed very well - winning or placing close to the top, many times. The quality and unique flavour characteristics have become so well regarded, that the family decided to hold their own auction, where lots are separated amongst their farms based on geographic areas and microclimates, and picking dates. These auction coffees comprise the Hacienda La Esmeralda Special lots.

Since 2006, we have been buying coffees from the Petersons and will offer their Esmeralda Boquete geisha blend this year, as we did last year. In addition to the Boquete Blend, we are excited to announce that we will be cupping this year's auction lots at The Association next week. This is an opportunity to be amongst the first to taste these amazing coffees, as well as provide interested roasters the opportunity to organize a buying group during the auction, which takes place on May 21st.

Where: The Association, 12 Creechurch Lane When: April 23, 4:30-6pm RSVP: Please confirm your attendance here

The next day, as part of UK Coffee Week, Prufrock is co-hosting a cupping where you will again have the opportunity to taste Esmeralda's auction lots. In addition, cuppers will taste fresh crop Guatemala and Honduran coffees from our friends at Bella Vista in Antigua and San Vincente in Santa Barbara. This is your chance to decide which lots are coming to Europe and into your roasteries before they are shipped! Also in the mix are soon-to-arrive Kenya coffees and again, you will have the opportunity to reserve the names you want offered in your menus.

See you there!

The Guatemala Box. It's Here!

Bjørnar and the Guate box
Bjørnar and the Guate box

Right now I am sitting by the cupping table at Kaffa and Josh Hockin, from Transcend Coffee in Edmonton, is serving me an espresso. It’s Thursday, the 7th of June and he is preparing for the World Barista Championship in Vienna next week. The Collaborative Coffee Source, in Oslo, is about to receive its first container from Guatemala.

In the container are 375 x 46kg bags (approximately 17 000 kg) of green coffee and about half of this will be shipped out to different roasters all over Europe within a week.

My first visit to Guatemala occurred this winter. The purpose of the trip was personal: I wanted to vacation and learn Spanish, but I also went for the Collaborative, to source coffee. I stayed in Antigua, a city about an hour outside Guatemala City for five weeks.

Antigua is one of the most beautiful cities I’ve been to and part of its beauty stems from the ruins and cobblestoned streets. Antigua was once the capital of Guatemala for more than 200 years but after an earthquake in 1776, the capital was moved to its current location, Guatemala City. Antigua is surrounded by three volcanoes, the closest one being Vulcan de Agua (“the water Vulcan”). Near the foot of the volcano is a beneficio (i.e. mill) called Bella Vista. Bella Vista, run by Luis Pedro Zelaya, is both a farm and a wet and dry mill. All of our Guatemalan coffees this year were processed here.

Luis Pedro started working at Bella Vista after being educated in Honduras. It has been in the family for generations and is now owned by Luis Pedro’s father who also is called Luis Pedro. Together they have grown the company, beginning with the managing of their own farms: Bella Vista, Pulcal, Candelaria, Buena Vista, Chuito, and Santa Clara and over time, they began to manage other farms in the Antigua region. The Zelayas have always had a focus on quality and six years ago they began separating lots. The results haven’t led to an increase in quantity but there has been a significant rise in quality, leading to increases in price. At Bella Vista, cherries are received everyday, both from farms owned by Luis Pedro and his family, as well as farms managed by Luis Pedro. Bella Vista also processes coffee for nearby farms; Luis Pedro buys coffee from these farms, processes at Bella Vista and then sells this coffee.

At Bella Vista I cupped many hundreds of coffees and ended up buying from just a handful of farms in the Antigua region: Buena Vista, La Folie, Santa Cruz, Felicidad, Potrero, Colombia, El Rosario and also a coffee called Hunapu. Hunapu is the original name of Vulcan de Agua, in the native language K’iche, which is one of the most prominent of the native languages in Guatemala. Hunapu literally means "mountain of flowers” and is the brand name for coffee processed at Bella Vista. It is a blend of coffees received at the mill and it is separated by day-lots. Most of the coffee is of the bourbon varietal but there can also be a mix of other varieties, like caturra. The reason the Zelayas have chosen to make this a blend is because it is only within the last couple of years that the speciality coffee industry has focused on seperating lots and talking about varieties. The Hunapu blend is made up of coffee picked on the same day by different producers and is based, in part, on the amount of coffee delivered from each farm. It is simply not sustainable for Bella Vista to process two bags of cherry from each producer. However, the Hunapu blend is changing; one of the biggest deliverers to the Hunapu blend, Dario Hernandes, is now beginning to separate his own day pickings. We bought four bags of Dario’s coffee this year and are encouraging him to separate everything for next year’s harvest.

I was fortunate to spend a lot of time at Bella Vista and by spending so much time with one producer, I learned much about how things work, not only Bella Vista and the wider Antigua region but also within the coffee industry as a whole in Guatemala. It has been an interesting learning experience and I am looking forward to the continuation of this relationship. Four months after my visit, I am sitting here awaiting the container I helped organize during my trip.

While in Guatemala in February, I also spent a weekend at El Injerto in Huehuetenango, the winner of this and previous years Cup of Excellence competitions. El Injerto is truly a magnificent farm which has, in the last year, begun to organize its own online auction. This year the Collaborative Coffee Source will coordinate buying from this auction which will be held on Tuesday, June 19th.

At the end of my five weeks away, I briefly visited Colombia, Costa Rica and San Fransico and was back in Olso for only a month before going back to Guatemala in May as part of the international jury for Cup of Excellence. It was really nice this time because I got to cup coffee, wonderful coffee, from all over Guatemala, rather than just from Antigua. Overall, I would say these past months have initiated a good basis for understanding a new origin for me; an origin that we at the Collaborative will work with a lot in the coming years, with our espescially skilled partners at Bella Vista.

Josh has now dialed in his espresso and it is a complex one with a fresh, crisp acidity that reminds me of lemon candy. I wish him all the best in the competition.

It's now time for me to pull up my sleeves and stack 375 bags onto pallets with the help of my good colleagues… and maybe Josh as well.

Looking forward to see all the nice Guatemalan coffee on shelves all over Europe, maybe we can all taste them together one day soon.


London Cupping, May 18 - the lineup

Hello London Coffee! Hope you're ready and excited to cup some fantastic coffee today. Here is the lineup, organized by origin, varietal, then process.

Table #1: Highlights from Central America

COSTA RICA, various mills & regions Helsar de Zarcero mill, Arce, Caturra, washed Herbazu mill, Villa Sarchi, washed Herbazu mill, Caturra, red honey

GUATEMALA, Buena Vista mill, Antigua region Hunapu, lot #1, blend Bourbon, washed Hunapu, lot #3, blend Bourbon, washed Felicidad farm, Bourbon, washed Potrero farm, Caturra, washed

HONDURAS, San Vicente mill, Santa Barbara region Juan Pablo Cruz, prod. Pacas, washed Castellanos, prod. Pacas, washed Nelson Ramirez, prod. Yellow Catuaí, washed Mario Moreno, prod. Pacas, washed Miguel Moreno, prod. Pacas, washed Amado Fernandez, prod. Yellow Catuaí, washed

Table #2: Best of...Best of Panama 2012

PANAMA, various producers/mills, Chiriqí region Duncan Organic farm, Caturra, washed (BoP #1) Don Julian farm, Pacamara, washed (BoP #2) Elida farm, Catuaí, washed (BoP #4) Elida farm, Catuaí, honey (BoP #5)

Los Cantares farm, Geisha, washed (BoP #1) La Milagrosa farm, Geisha, washed (BoP #2) Rojas farm, Geisha, washed (BoP #3)

Don K farm, Geisha, natural (BoP #1) Mama Cata farm, Geisha, natural (BoP #2) Casa Ruiz farm, Baby Geisha, natural (BoP #3)

Table #3: Highlights of natural processed coffees from El Salvador

El Salvador, various mills & regions Presented by Graciano Cruz, HiU

Incoming Coffees from Bella Vista

Good afternoon, good coffee people!

It's already been close to five weeks since Bjørnar left Oslo for Antigua. He's been cupping furiously during this time and he's put together a container of fantastic coffees processed at Bella Vista by Luis Pedro Zelaya and his team. He's also been mastering Spanish during this trip - his language course was one of the main reasons for his going away.

Very soon, he will post stories, information and photos of his cuppings, farm visits and travel adventures. For now, here is a list of farms we've bought coffee from:

Hunapu Felicidad Buena vista Dario Hernandez Potrero Colombia Folie Pulcal Santa Cruz

I realize this doesn't tell you much (unless you've bought or tasted coffees from these places before). Bjørnar and I are hosting a cupping on April 4th from 13.00-16.00 at KAFFA for those of you who are interested in tasting these coffees yourselves. The container will be shipped next week and will hopefully arrive first week in May. At our cupping, we will also sample the Kenya coffees that will arrive this month. Let me know if you're coming! Hope to see you then.


Senor B
Senor B