New Single Origin Coffee: Colombia Finca La Loma & Ethiopia Yirgacheffe Aricha
Early this year before the onset of the pandemic, we set out on a pre-buying journey and was slurping away from one cupping table to another, determined to look out for outstanding naturals from both Colombia and Ethiopia. We tasted some amazing ones and a few emails later, bought a combined of five pallets of both these coffees. Unfortunately, a global lockdown follow suit affecting not just the coffee consuming cities worldwide but also the coffee growing countries. Work in the farms and the mills went into a standstill and the next thing we know, the shipment got delayed and the March 2020 arrival was soon delayed to August!
In June, our team in the roastery was rubbing their hands in glee, upon receiving confirmation that both the Colombian and Ethiopian coffees were loaded up in the containers, leaving from origin and on their way to Singapore port. Boy, they sure were excited with this news. The team has been analysing, cupping pre-harvest and pre-shipping samples, working hard on roast profiles and brewing parameters, work tasks that usually get done in-lieu while anticipating the arrival of new coffees.
First up, from the Americas, we have the lovely Colombian. There is never a year that past us by without buying any good Colombians and luckily enough, there are always aplenty of fruity, sweet and complex Colombians for everyone due to their two season of harvest. From the first harvest, a period between October - January of 2019/2020, we welcome a beautiful micro-lot:
Located in the mountainous terrain and temperate climates of southwest Antioquia, Finca La Loma, translating to "The Green Hills", has the perfect climate for producing excellent quality coffee. In this ideally situated terrain, the Guerra family has dedicated 20 of their 22.2 hectares to coffee, with the rest of the farm being utilised for livestock.
Having owned the neighbouring farm of Finca Las Mercedes since the 1960s, Alfonso Guerra purchased Finca La Loma in 2005 with aim of further expanding their business. Today, the Guerra family farms are now primarily managed by Alfonso's son, Juan Carlos, and his grandchildren. This means that five generations of the Guerra family have tended the lands of Cuidad Bolivar.
Not the easiest of coffee to roast, the roasting team has worked very closely together, carefully profiling the roast to allow the delicate flavours of this this coffee to shine, with a clarity rarely found in a natural processed coffee.
Next up, from the origin that always makes us feel like little children again, the Ethiopian, we have the lovely Yirgacheffe Aricha. This is an origin close to our hearts, one that we uses too many of in a year, in our award winning Dutch Blend, as a single origin espresso, in our filter offerings in the retail shops, in single origin batch brews as well in coffees dedicated to as to our wholesale partners, domestic and international.
What is there not to love, this coffee that is universally referred to as the birthplace of coffees, the 'mother-dough' of all doughs and initially consumed by Kaldi and all human beings as a fruit has always pulled the strings of consumer hearts with its fruity explosion, aromatic florals and its elegant tea-like quality. In search of these same qualities and flavours profile, we started cupping since late February/March 2020 and delighted as they get un-loaded out off the containers in Singapore port. From this Ethiopia harvest, we introduce you:
This exceptional Natural coffee was dry milled and exported by Primrose, PLC. The coffee was grown by smallholder farmers living around the kabele (town) of Aricha in Gedeo County, Yirgacheffe region. Most contributing farmers own less than a hectare of land, and they grow coffee simply as a backyard cash crop. Coffee will usually be interspersed with other subsistence crops, such as sweet potato, mangos and avocados, but there are no other primary cash crops grown in the region.
Our exporter is a stakeholder in the supplier washing station and works directly with them to control for quality and cultural practices on the farm. Income from coffee is important but minimal for most farmers due to the small size of their farms. As such, inputs are minimal – most coffee grown in the region is 100% organic, though not certified, as farmers simply don’t have the money to apply chemical fertilisers, pesticides or herbicides.
Primrose ensures that there are agricultural officers who work closely with each farmer to ensure the fertility of the farm land. In fact, soon the wet mill and surrounding farmers will also be RFA and UTZ certified. Primrose and the Aricha mill pay more than the market price for a kilogram of red cherry, and those farmers that bring quality red cherry are paid a cash incentive, ensuring higher-than-average overall quality. Coffee is selectively handpicked before being delivered to the mill collection points, usually within 5 km of the producers’ homes.
Great care is taken upon delivery to separate out any overripe, underripe or damaged beans before consolidating with other lots for the road to the wet mill. At least once a day, the collected coffee cherry is delivered to the mill, where it is floated and then delivered to dry on raised beds. Here, it will be thinly spread and regularly turned over the course of several weeks, or until it reaches 12% humidity according to the moisture metre.
Both coffees are already available in our retail stores as well our online shop and the good news is, we have about 500kg of the La Loma and 1600kg of the Aricha greens available and this will be two coffees that we should see throughout the remainder of 2020. Enjoy them while they last.
Psssttt... Keep a lookout for coffees from El Salvador, Guatemala, Mexico and Panama coming your way too in Q4 of 2020!