Thursday, 9 June 2011

first bean/s

Here we are kids - I know you have been all chomping at the bit to find out what our new coffees are so here are 2 that will be roasted tomorrow afternoon for your weekend pleasure!

The first coffee on the list is my new favorite its rather complex but its such an interesting cup - we haven't had a coffee like this in for quite sometime!

First of the new coffees that will be available this weekend is Cafe Familia Mamani Mamani from Bolivia. Its grown by Husband and Wife team Mauricio Mamani Camacho and Lorenza Mamani Huanca (hence the name) on their small family farm in Bolivias Caranavi region – renowned for its high quality organic coffees.

Mauricio was born into the Aymara, an ancient indigenous group which lives on the Altiplano (a vast plateau of the central Andes stretching through southern Peru, Bolivia and into northern Chile and Argentina). He arrived in the Caranavi area 15 years ago, following the death of his Parents from yellow fever, and shortly afterwards brought this 13 hectare farm, some 30km from Caranavi town and 162km morth east of La Paz.

With the help of his wife Lorenza and latterly their 2 young children, he farms eight hectares of coffee, producing some 25 quintals (1q=46kg) of parchment coffee per hectare. The rest of his farm is planted out with citrus trees. The coffee grows at high altitude (1500-1700) in the shade of the native forest trees and is fully organic.

Mauricio used to sell his coffee to local markets as wet parchment – known locally as 'cafe enmoto' – but in recent years has started to dry his coffee himself, which allows him to get a far better price for his beans. The coffee cherries are hand-picked, pulped, fermented in small tanks, washed and then sun-dried on african beds (raised drying screens). Peak harvest time on the farm runs from May until July.

The second is something really special -its from Colombia. We haven't had a coffee from Colombia since 2009 (which was the La Manwela, it was a dream in a cold press!). In that year (2009) it had a really uncharacteristically intense dry season which severely affected the area, leading to major problems with Roya (fungus that dries the leaves and affects cherry production). A rise in average temperatures in the region - widely blamed on climate change – which is also prompting farmers to plant more shade trees (Guamo and Cachingo) to protect the coffee plants.

This unique microlot was produced by two small holder farmers - Rodrigo Lopez and Reinaldo Quinayas - in the parish of Alto del Obispo, high in the mountains of Colombia’s Huila department.
This bean was selected on the basis of its cup profile.

The Alto del Obispo area (literally, ‘The Bishop’s Hill‘) has been producing coffee for over a century. Most of its 300 or so families depend on coffee for their livelihood (coffee production accounts for some 90% of local income), which they produce on small family farms. Most families also grow a mix of yucca, plantain, dragon fruit and mango, and keep a few chickens and pigs, mainly for their own consumption. A few make a living from cattle farming.

The average coffee plantation is around 3 hectares in size and mainly farmed solely by the families that own them. Only during the main harvest season (October to December) are extra hands hired to help with the cherry picking process (usually three to four extra people). The coffee is mainly shade grown under the Guamo, a native fruit tree, and also the local Cachingo, a very broad-trunked tree that stores a high volume of water and so helps the soil to retain moisture. The farmers process their coffee themselves using the conventional washed process, where the cherries are pulped, filled with water in fermentation tanks and then washed and sun dried on ‘elvas’ (a local word for roof patios built on top of the farmer’s house). Some producers also dry on patios and African beds (raised screens).

Farms around Alto del Obispo are currently in the process of joining the government-led Good Agricultural Practices programme (Buenas Prácticas Agrícolas – BPA), an initiative that promotes environmental, economic and social sustainability. The programme’s aim is to improve both the quality of the crop and the health and wealth of the farmer, while protecting the local environment. 

These will be roasted tomorrow afternoon and ready for your drinking pleasure Friday afternoon (if your super keen) or Saturday - Glasgow only, Edinburgh you need to take a day trip! Also if anyone is around the CCA on Saturday I will be at Upmarket selling beans and v60 stuff as well as samples - get in there! 

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