Behind La Palma y El Tucán - Part One: Social Impact

This blog post is the first in a three-part series. Read Part 2, and Part 3.

I could probably write a book about La Palma y El Tucán (LPET). Instead I will limit myself to three blog posts.

I was lucky to travel to the LPET farm in August to make the CCS 2018-2019 selection, along with my team mate, CCS Global Buyer, Matt Hassell. Together we went behind the scenes to discover the strategy, science and hard work behind these stunning coffees.

In Part 2 of this blog series I will tell you about the famous processing and the laser focus on quality, and yes, we will review the crazy varietals they grow on their eighteen hectare farm. In Part 3 we will learn about LPET’s plans for increasing biodiversity and protecting farmer incomes with a new project.

Here in Part 1, what I really want to share with you is the positive social impact that the LPET team have on the local coffee growing community.


Let’s start at the beginning

Felipe Sardi and Elisa María Madriñan bought the LPET farm, located at 1600 masl in Cundinamarca, about 2 hours away from Bogota, and planted trees between August and December 2012. They employ 22 permanent workers and 60 to 70 seasonal pickers for the harvest. 

The farm is eighteen hectares, four of which remain wild primary forest. The fourteen hectares in coffee production are separated into five plots: Typica, SL28, Sidra, Geisha and Java. This is the coffee that will become the LPET Estate and Varietals series, including Heroes Series nano-lots of 25kg. Also on the farm is the state-of-the-art LPET processing facility, where they process coffee cherries purchased from neighboring farms for the Neighbors and Crops Series.

The Neighbors and Crops Program:

The goal of the Neighbors and Crops program (N&C) is to produce finely crafted and diverse cups, while simultaneously helping producers with fair revenues. 

To understand the LPET payment structure, you first need to understand how most coffee is bought and sold in Colombia.

A view of the farm from the neighboring mountain

A view of the farm from the neighboring mountain

The “FNC” Price

In Colombia, the standard way for producers to sell their coffee is to work with the Federación Nacional de Cafeteros (FNC). Created in the late 1920’s the federation is run by elected members, and boasts over 500,000 members. It is the largest agricultural NGO in the world.

One great reason for producers to join the FNC is their guaranteed purchase scheme. On any day of the year, producers can sell their coffee to the FNC at one of over 500 buying stations around the country. The price offered that day is based on the C-Price, with a differential of around 20% paid by the international market for coffee that meets the FNC’s strict export standards.

How does a producer, or anyone interested, learn the FNC price for a given day? Google “FNC precio café” and you will find this document:

FNC chart Nov 19.jpg

Every week the FNC updates this spreadsheet with the current pricing. For logistical reasons, the price offered will depend on the region. The deeper you travel into the country the lower the price, to account for the logistical costs of transporting the coffee to port.

Let’s take a closer look at the second table.

FNC chart Nov 19 table 2.jpeg

This table shows the price paid by yield factor, or “factor de rendimiento.” The yield factor is the kilograms of parchment coffee required to obtain 70kg (a standard bag in Colombia) of green coffee. Lower numbers are the goal, it means there is less that is lost in milling.

We see here that for the best yield factor, 89, the price per carga (125kg of parchment) is 834,125 Colombian pesos (COP). With today’s rate it is $263.40 USD, or $2,10 USD/kg of parchment coffee.

The LPET Model

Felipe and Elisa’s goal from the outset was produce the highest possible quality whilst creating a sustainable financial, social and economic model for neighboring coffee producers in Cundinamarca.

The challenges are many. The farmers in their area, about 200 in total, are small holders, most owning one hectare of land or less. With such limited space, it is almost impossible to build a processing facility that will result in high quality coffee. Additionally, the farmers mostly cultivate varieties that are known for their hardiness and disease resistance, but not for their cup quality, specifically Castillo. Plus, the region suffers another major sustainability issue, that is the absence of young coffee producers. Younger generations flock to the cities in search of more stable and profitable livelihoods, leaving an aging population of producers behind.

From the very beginning Felipe and Elisa aimed to create a long-term model that addresses multiple problems with multiple innovative solutions.

Sustaining coffee communities 

When you travel around the LPET Farm and meet the neighboring producers, it is rare to meet a farmer under the age of thirty. The youngest producer I met was Faustino Reyes. He is 60 years old.

Faustino by his processing tanks


Faustino by his processing tanks

His land is adjacent to Dioselina’s farm. Dioselina, who recently passed away, worked together with her neighbor Carmen, who is 83. 

If you ask any farmer in the region about their children, they always say “they live in Bogota, where they have a nice life and a better job.” The new generation don’t want to work on their parent’s farm. Between the low incomes that coffee offers and the close proximity of Bogotá, a large city with more economic opportunities, it’s a no-brainer for the children of coffee producers in Cundinamarca.

The question, of course, is who will produce coffee here in twenty years time?

Producer Carmen, Simon (Sales Representative at LPET) and Edwin (agronomist at LPET).

Producer Carmen, Simon (Sales Representative at LPET) and Edwin (agronomist at LPET).

The late Dioselina on her farm, August 2018, aged 84. We are deeply saddened by the passing of this dedicated coffee producer.

The late Dioselina on her farm, August 2018, aged 84. We are deeply saddened by the passing of this dedicated coffee producer.

Ensuring timely and selective picking

To ensure selective picking, LPET hire a team of pickers that they train themselves. This both guarantees picking of only the ripe cherries, and delivers pickers to the farms when they are needed.

The proximity to Bogota, and competition with new agricultural production such as industrial flower crops and palm oil plantations, makes it increasingly difficult to find pickers during harvest. Additionally, coffee producers are competing against coca plantations for labor around the country, especially in the south. Coca is the raw material for cocaine, and “raspachines,” or coca leaf pickers, earn much more than coffee pickers.

LPET can guarantee a team of pickers for every producer because they pay exceptionally well. The national average paid for cherry picking is about 450 COP per kilogram (about 14 cents USD). The average fee paid for pickers employed by the LPET Neighbors & Crops Program is around 800 COP per kilo, almost 80% more.

Producers do not have to advance the money to the pickers; LPET subtracts the fee for picking from their payment for the cherries.

State of the art processing

To manage the risks of processing on small lots of land, LPET buy cherries, instead of parchment. This takes much of the work, and the risk, from the producers, allowing them to focus on what they know best: how to produce beautiful and healthy coffee cherries from their land.

Timely transport

When buying cherries, it is essential they are delivered to the wet mill promptly to avoid problems with fermentation. This can be a challenge for producers, who may not have immediate access to the required transport.

LPET solved this problem by employing a fleet of trucks to collect cherries as they are picked and deliver them to the LPET farm for processing in their high-tech facility. This is a cost that LPET cover, saving the farmers time and money.

Faustino’s processing set up

Faustino’s processing set up

Faustino told me the thing he loves most about working with LPET was the fact that “pickers are coming.”

Finding people to pick your coffee cherries when they are perfectly ripe is one of the biggest challenges producers face in this region.

“I ask pickers to come next Monday because my cherries will be perfectly ripe, and they tell me yes, but when Monday comes I don’t see them. A lot of my production is damaged because of that,” says Faustino.

Encouraging environmentally sustainable practices

For every kilogram of cherries a producer sells to LPET, they receive 1kg of organic compost, created by LPET’s experienced team of agronomists and chemists. This free organic compost saves producers money, and reduces their reliance on chemical inputs year after year. Plus it improves the quality of the coffee.

Furthermore, from 2019 LPET will provide additional services to their N&C producers through a sister company called BIODIVERSAL. This company will work with the growing community to diversify crops, building environmental resilience and promoting income protection for growers. Stay tuned for Part 3 of this blog series to learn more!

LPET Pricing model 

LPET base the price they pay for cherries on the FNC price. To this they add three potential premiums:

Quality premium = 65% of the base price:
To earn this premium the cherries must pass the quality test. When arriving at the processing facility, Marlon, the Production Manager, measures the number of floaters from a representative sample. Then he removes the under-ripe and over-ripe cherries and calculates the percentage of healthy cherries. Almost all producers get the premium, as it depends mostly on the work of LPET’s own team of trusted pickers.

Loyalty premium = 25% of the base price:
From the second year a producer sells to LPET they receive an additional 25% of the FNC price as a loyalty premium.

Organic premium = 10% of the base price:
LPET don’t demand their producers be certified organic, as certification is an expensive and laborious process, but they do pay a premium if their team of agronomists can verify that the producer is using environmentally sustainable practices on their farm.

LPET Pricing Structure.png

As you can see from this chart, LPET producers have the potential to earn double the FNC price. This pricing structure is the heart of LPET´s sustainable mission. With this income stability, LPET hope to encourage the children and grandchildren of coffee growers to remain in the region and dedicate themselves to coffee. With organic premiums, and the gift of organic fertilizer, they hope to sustain the local environment so it can deliver coffee for these next generation coffee growers, and beyond.

Stay tuned for Part 2 of the LPET story - how they achieve those dazzling cup profiles!

CCS Acevedo Cup 2019

Wednesday January 16 to Monday January 21st, 2019.

Join us in Huila, Colombia, for the third annual CCS Acevedo Cup, with our partners, Fairfield Trading.

The CCS Acevedo Cup is an annual quality competition that brings together the entire community of specialty producers in the micro-region of Acevedo. Five action-packed days of cupping and farm visits culminate in an awards ceremony with the entire community in attendance. The top twenty coffees are announced, along with the winners of the price premiums offered for each category.

CCS invites roasters, green coffee buyers and QC managers to join us in Acevedo, Huila, as judges of the CCS Acevedo Cup 2019.

Register to attend the CCS Acevedo Cup 2019

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Why attend the CCS Acevedo Cup

The CCS Acevedo Cup is the perfect way to get to know an entire community of coffee producers in a condensed period of time. Through five intense days of cupping and farm visits, plus the awards ceremony which is a major event on producers’ calendars, roasters can cup and meet the producers behind scores of unique and delicious coffees. It is an opportunity to forge a long-term relationship with an individual producer, like Parlor Coffee in Brooklyn, NY, who are now exclusively buying the entire specialty grade production of producer Maria Bercelia Martinez.

This event is a fixture in the harvest in Acevedo, attracting hundreds of entries from the entire coffee growing community. The feedback provided by international judges is invaluable to producers, and placing in this competition is a great honor for any grower. As an international guest, you will be treated with great respect, and you will enjoy heartfelt hospitality from all of the producers and their families.

Price premiums per carga of parchment (125kg)

The price paid by Fairfield in recent months for coffee that passes their strict quality assessment was, on average, between 900,000 and 1,100,000 COP per carga. Prices that will be paid to the top twenty lots in the CCS Acevedo Cup 2019 are:

1st place - $2.200,000 COP
2nd place - $2,000,000 COP
3rd to 5th place - $1,800,000 COP
6th to 10th place - $1,500,000 COP
11th to 15th place - $1,300,000 COP
16th to 20th place - $1,200,000 COP


LOGISTICS

We will fly from Bogota to Pitalito early morning on Wednesday January 16th, and return to Bogota from Neiva in the evening of Monday January 21st. Judges must arrange their own international flights, and we will send you the details of the domestic flights. Ground transport and hotels in Huila will all be arranged by Fairfield Trading.

Each day we will cup in the morning, and visit producers in the afternoon.

We will cup three tables per day, 50 to 70 lots in total that have been screened and preselected by the well trained quality management team at Fairfield Trading. The last two days will be spent cupping and placing the top twenty coffees.

On Sunday the producers are invited to the award ceremony in Acevedo Town. The top twenty place getters are announced, followed by a Colombian-style celebration where you can meet the producers of these exceptional coffees.


Why Acevedo?

Acevedo is a municipality located in the south-easternmost corner of the Huila department of Colombia, wedged in the fork between the central and eastern cordilleras (mountain ranges) where the Colombian Andes split into three distinct mountain ranges (the western, central and eastern cordilleras). Just beyond the central and eastern cordillera convergence is jungle and thus, moist, cool air. This cool air simulates increased elevation, and creates many different microclimates with diverse humidity, temperature and rainfalls, leading to varying and ideal coffee-growing conditions. 

The variety found in the cup profiles coming from Acevedo reflect its array of microclimates. Altitude ranges from 1200 to 1800 meters above sea level (masl) with many of the farms we buy from lying within the 1400 to 1800-meter range. Coffees produced at higher elevations are typically denser and are therefore appreciated more by specialty coffee professionals. An increase of elevation usually results in an increase in perceived acidity in the cup. This is potentially in part due to an increase in exposure to UV radiation, but mostly caused by the larger diurnal swings that happen at higher elevations. The cooler nights that occur at higher elevations lead to slower cherry maturation, which leads to sweeter, more complex cups. 

Elsewhere in Colombia, altitudes of around 1400 masl can produce uninteresting, flat coffees. But Acevedo coffees are the exception to that rule. Whether they’re grown at the higher or lower part of the elevation range, they are incredibly sweet, complex and fruited cups. When you visit Acevedo, it is easy to understand why. Mornings and evenings are cool, even in Acevedo town which is only 1300 masl. Daily showers are extremely refreshing, or brutally cold, depending on your attitude, as hot water does not pour from taps in this part of Colombia. On many farms you can see literally watch the billowing, moist clouds roll in from the jungle to envelop the farms. This moist air makes drying the coffee difficult, so farmers use raised, covered beds, which adds to the fruited complexity of these beautiful lots. 

Taiwan International Coffee Festival

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Friends in Taiwan, Julia will be in Taipei at the Taiwan International Coffee Festival with our partners Green Coffee Gallery! Join Julia and the team for four cuppings daily at booth N1305-11, 1206-12.


Cupping Schedule:

Friday November 16
11:00 Kenya
14:00 Ethiopia Washed
15:30 Ethiopia Natural
16:30 Burundi, Colombia

Saturday November 17
11:00 Kenya
14:00 Ethiopia Washed
15:30 Ethiopia Natural
16:30 Honduras, Guatemala

Sunday November 18
11:00 Kenya
14:00 Ethiopia Washed
15:30 Ethiopia Natural
16:30 Panama, Costa Rica 

Monday November 19
11:00 Kenya
14:00 Ethiopia Washed
15:30 Ethiopia Natural

Email Julia for more information.

CCS SALE

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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.




Conditions

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.

Brazil: competitions & competition coffee

If you are a coffee competitor, or an avid fan of coffee competitions, your eyes will be on Brazil from November 7 to 9. Belo Horizonte will host this year’s International Coffee Week, which will feature not one but four world coffee championships:

  • World Coffee in Good Spirits Championship

  • World Latte Art Championship

  • World Cup Tasters Championship

  • World Brewers Cup

Veronika wows the (CCS) judges while training for her upcoming World Brewers Cup performance. Before her competition, Veronika will visit Carmo Coffees to cup some of their exciting new experimental lots.

Veronika wows the (CCS) judges while training for her upcoming World Brewers Cup performance. Before her competition, Veronika will visit Carmo Coffees to cup some of their exciting new experimental lots.


Brazil - the new origin for competition coffees

Our own Veronika Galova Vesela will be there, both as a competitor, and to source competition coffees for 2019.   

These events could not come at a better time for Brazil’s specialty coffee producers, like our partners in the region, Carmo Coffees. Carmo have been experimenting for several years with exotic varieties and innovative fermentation techniques, and just launched their own series of unique and surprising coffees, worthy of competition. That’s right, Brazil is producing competition coffee. 

CCS will be cheering for two competitors in the World Brewers Cup this year: Veronika, who will represent her home country Slovakia, brewing Finca Deborah, and Tom Kuyken, the Norwegian champion, who will brew an anaerobic Sudan Rume from Carmo Coffee’s experimental farm, Santuario Sul

The farm, which began almost five years ago, is a collaboration between Luiz Paulo Pereira, producer and exporter with Carmo Coffees, Camilo Merizalde, the pioneering Colombian behind the Santuario project, and fermentation expert, Ivan Solis, from Costa Rica. Santuario Sul currently has 30 hectares of land in coffee production, and they aim to expand to 70 hectares very soon. 


New varieties 

Santuario Sul features 25 different varietals, 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. 

Innovative Processing

As the new trees began producing fruit, the team began to experiment with processing, including anaerobic fermentation. Rather than import expensive equipment from overseas, they 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 at a time - around ten bags of green coffee.

Ivan Solis (right), fermentation and processing expert from Costa Rica, and Alessandro "Viola", processing manager at Irmas Pereira with the adapted cheese making fermentation tank used for anaerobic processing on several Carmo Coffees farms.

Ivan Solis (right), fermentation and processing expert from Costa Rica, and Alessandro "Viola", processing manager at Irmas Pereira with the adapted cheese making fermentation tank used for anaerobic processing on several Carmo Coffees farms.


The ANAEROBIC PROCESS at 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. 

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. 

Learn more about the Santuario Sul project. 


Competing with Brazilians

Brazil is better known for espressos and blenders, than head-turning micro-lots, but Tom Kuyken is not the only barista who will present a Brazilian coffee this year. The location of the competitions has inspired many a coffee competitor to take a second look at this origin.

Finding your competition coffee

Are you looking for that stunning coffee to wow the judges in an upcoming competition? Check out our Competition Coffee offering, and get in touch with Veronika to book your lot now. 

Planning for next year? Before her competition Veronika will visit Carmo Coffees, to cup and learn, and discover those gems for shipment in 2019. Plus, we are thrilled to announce we will soon distribute Finca Deborah coffee, and we can expect more delicious surprises from our friends at La Palma y El Tucán, so stay tuned for exciting arrivals in the coming year. 

Los Angeles Cupping

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Friends in SoCal, Colleen is coming your way for a series of cuppings. 

She’ll be in LA on Friday November 2nd at 10am for a cupping of stellar Colombian, Kenyan and Guatemalan coffees with our friends from Paramount Coffee Project in DTLA

Spaces are limited, so email Colleen to reserve yours.

CCS Exclusive: Finca Deborah, 2019

The breadth and depth of expertise in the CCS team is astounding. Case in point, Veronika Galova Vesela, one of our sales representatives in Europe, is the reigning Slovakian Brewers Cup champion. Veronika will depart for Brazil next week for the World Brewers Cup championship. This is the fifth time Veronika will be competing on a world coffee stage, representing her home country, and the third time she will be competing using Finca Deborah coffee from producer Jamison Savage in Panama. 


Deborah Geisha Natural and Carbonic Maceration

CCS is thrilled to announce that we will have seven 15kg boxes of Finca Deborah Geisha Natural and seven 15kg boxes of Geisha Carbonic Maceration coffee from the 2019 harvest. 

This coffee will be available in Europe, Asia and the Middle East, with the exception of a few countries*, and will be exclusive to CCS in Norway, Sweden, Finland, and Denmark. Samples are expected in May-June, with the coffee due to arrive end of August, but the coffee can be booked right now. 

What makes this coffee so special?

Finca Deborah is owned and run by Jamison Savage, originally from the US, and his Panamanian wife Leslie H. Freitag. In 2007 the pair bought land in the mountains of Volcan, Chiriqui at an elevation of 1900 masl. After several years of infrastructure works, including the construction of a 1km road to reach their farm, and a solar energy system to power their processing facility, they began planting trees in 2010. 

The first harvest was in 2014, but much of the coffee was lost to inclement weather. The second harvest reached the market in 2015, and it immediately earned a reputation for being among the world’s best. The following year, Finca Deborah was the coffee used in the winning presentation by the World Barista Champion, Berg Wu. 

Veronika visited Finca Deborah in 2017, a place she describes as heaven on earth. 

“It's such a beautiful farm, it looks more like a jungle, with coffee trees interspersed, providing necessary shade.”

Part of what makes Deborah such an astounding coffee is Jamison’s rigorous approach to cultivation and processing. The Deborah Geisha Natural that Veronika will use in competition is dried on a three-tiered structure of Jamison’s own design. The coffee begins on the top layer, with full sun exposure to kill unwanted bacteria and initiate the fermentation process. The coffee moves to the second layer, with additional shade to develop the sweetness. Finally it is moved to the bottom layer to dry slowly until the moisture content is reduced to 11%. 

Jamison Savage and his three-tiered drying beds, Finca Deborah, Panama

Jamison Savage and his three-tiered drying beds, Finca Deborah, Panama

The other key factor in producing exceptional quality is the unique environment of Finca Deborah. Bordered to the east by Costa Rica, the high elevation of the farm means temperatures can drop to as low as 10 degree celsius at night, causing the trees to push more sugars into their fruit. Combined with an ideal rainfall of 2200 mm per year, a soil rich in minerals, and careful use of organic fertilizer, the result is an intensely sweet cup.

Selecting coffee for competition

The Brewers Cup is sometimes called a “sourcing competition.” Unlike the Barista Championship, where so many points are attributed to service and the innovation and deliciousness of the signature drink, the Brewers Cup competitors are judged almost entirely on the final cup. Veronika’s goal in this year’s international competition is to let this coffee speak for itself. 

“In my brew I am aiming to unlock all the flavors and capture the unique profile of Deborah, its sweetness and complex fruity spectrum.” 

What drives Veronika to compete year after year is also a driving force behind CSS, to tell the stories of these coffees, and the many committed coffee professionals working to realize its full potential.  

“Producer, Roaster and Barista - we all are striving to bring the best possible coffee to the cup. We can achieve it only when working together with the same level of passion and dedication.”  

Veronika Trains for the World Brewers Cup


Watch Veronika’s competition performance

Veronika will be taking the stage for the first round of the World Brewers Cup on Wednesday November 7 at 3.45pm local time (6.45pm GMT). Follow us on Facebook and Instagram for links to the Live Stream of her performance. 

And, of course, contact Nico, Bjørnar or Veronika in Europe, or Julia in Asia, to book this exclusive coffee from Finca Deborah in 2019. It is available to reserve now. Need that unique stunner to wow the judges in an upcoming competition? Check out our full range of Competition Coffees

* Finca Deborah will not be available through CCS in the following countries: France, Germany, UK, Greece, Australia, Malaya Thailand and Korea



CCS Monthly Cupping

Beginning this November, CCS will hold a monthly cupping in our Oslo HQ.

On the first Thursday of the month we will make a selection of coffees to cup with our friends in the specialty coffee community. It will be a relaxed family affair and everyone is welcome.

On the table you’ll find a selection of the most interesting lots we have cupped in the last month, be they experimental lots, new origins or regions, or simply delicious coffees we want you to try. 

Anyone interested in specialty coffee is welcome. 

Join us for the first of our monthly cuppings on Thursday November 1, 3pm at the CCS Oslo HQ: Enebakkveien 117b, 0680, Oslo, Norway.

Email Bjornar for more information. 


San Diego Cupping

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Friends in SoCal, Colleen is coming your way for a series of cuppings. She’ll be in San Diego on November 1st for a cupping of stellar Colombian, Kenyan and Guatemalan coffees with our friends from Manzanita Roasting Company.

The roastery is located at the south entrance of the Bernardo Winery. (Stick around for a wine tasting if you’re so inclined.)

Spaces are limited, so email Colleen to reserve yours.

Colombia Origin Trip Update

The “best flavor profile” is, obviously, highly subjective. Mine changes by the hour. I often look for something smooth and chocolatey in the mornings. In the afternoon, give me something lively and exciting.

Whatever your profile, it’s likely you can find it in Colombia.

The CCS team has been all over Colombia in the last few months. On this trip we visited Nariño, Huila and Tolima as guests of our export partners, Fairfield Trading. I split this trip with Colleen, and met the team in Acevedo. We immediately packed ourselves into one of FFT’s safari-style off-road vehicles and set off for the first farm visit.

Finca Los Angeles

We soon arrived at Finca Los Angeles, home of the much-lauded Maria Bercelia Martinez. We spent time touring the farm and discussing the many upgrades and additions she has implemented since our last visit. Success, of course, does not come without hard work and innovation, and Maria is a leader in both. In addition to refining the infrastructure (drying beds, fermentation tanks, and her super-impressive custom patio), Maria is experimenting with new varietals and processing methods.

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San Agustin

From Finca Los Angeles, we made our way west to San Augustin. Fairfield Trading, one of our partners in Colombia, recently purchased and renovated a storefront to become a new purchasing point. This will act as a satellite location for buying coffee, sample roasting and other quality assurance measures, and general business practices. When I say recently, I mean the last coat of paint was drying the night before we arrived! To be among the first to see the beautiful new facility was a spectacular honor. You could see how proud the FFT team was of what they accomplished, and they were so very excited to share it with us. Like their coffee, their hard work on the facility was evident, and they should be proud of the result. Best of luck, Alejandro, Sascha, Ana Beatriz, Eduardo and the rest of the team!

Welcome, clients and producers! The inauguration of the Fairfield Trading purchasing point, San Agustin, Huila, Colombia. From left to right, Stephanie and Dillon from Parlor Coffee, Alejandro of Fairfield Trading, Robert William Thoresen of CCS, and producer Maria Bercelia Martinez.

Welcome, clients and producers! The inauguration of the Fairfield Trading purchasing point, San Agustin, Huila, Colombia. From left to right, Stephanie and Dillon from Parlor Coffee, Alejandro of Fairfield Trading, Robert William Thoresen of CCS, and producer Maria Bercelia Martinez.

Bring on the coffees!

With a fresh boost of inspiration from the unveiling, it was time for the guest of honor – the coffee! We spent the next three days at the old purchasing point in San Augustin, cupping just under one hundred lots. Our group was a big one, with CCS customers from all over the globe including Parlor Coffee from Brooklyn, NY, Sey Coffee from Brooklyn, NY, Behind The Cup from Dubai, United Arab Emirates, Reveille Coffee from San Francisco, CA. The space was tight, but with the masterful sample roasting of Esnaider Ortega and direction of Eduardo Urquina, the operation was fantastically smooth. On the table were coffees from Huila including Acevedo (Tarqui, Baralla, and San Augustin), Valle de Cauca (Caicedonia), and Tolima (Planadas, San Antonio and Ibague). The scope of flavor profiles was impressive! The coffees ranged from soft subtle florals, to big bright citric fruits, and even super sweet chocolate/caramel.

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See you in Acevedo

My time in Colombia was short, but as always, very impactful. I came away from the trip as I normally do: feeling blessed to have the opportunity to spend time and learn from some of the best coffee minds and hardest working individuals in the industry. We are all eager for these delicious coffees to make their way to your hands, and I am already dreaming of my next trip to Colombia. Luckily, the Acevedo Cup is right around the corner! Stay tuned for details.

CCS at the International Barcelona Coffee Festival

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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
SlowMov
Address: Carrer de Luis Antúnez, 18, 08006 Barcelona, Espagne

Spaces are limited to 15 people. Email Nico to confirm yours.

CCS at the Prague Coffee Festival

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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 CoffeeDoubleshotNordbeansCasino Mocca, Diamond’s RoasteryMorgon 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.