Direct Trade Coffee - Nicaraguan Los Placeres

We traveled to Nicaragua in December and fell in love with the people, the culture, and the food. Read about our trip and find out why we think this is one of our favourite regions in Central America.

Chris and myself along with Nan & Gerry (of Good Earth Cafes) just finished visiting the Meirsch family in Nicaragua.  Together we toured Matagalpa and Jinotega to see their 5 unique coffee estates, each show casing a different cup characteristic that stand out from one another.

The Merisch family is a 3rd generation coffee family that currently evolves 2 generations, with a 3rd (or the 4th in total) not far behind.  It was easy to see how close this family is to one another and how important family is to them.  When staying at Erwin Merisch’s Seniors home, you were always in the company of his siblings and wives, their children as well as cousins.  We certainly didn’t feel like outsiders either, as we were welcomed with open arms.

Coffee cupping

(more…)

Direct Trade Coffee - Guatemalan Montecristo Rainforest Alliance Estate

After 16 hours of traveling from Calgary to Guatemala, Nan, Gerry (of Good Earth Cafes), Chris and myself arrived in the San Marcos region where Neuva Granada Estate is located.  At the highest elevation of 5200 feet, you will find a micro lot of 100% Bourbon coffee called Montecristo.  This small lot of coffee is exclusively prepared for Fratello Coffee in the North American market.

After spending a few days with Johann and his wife Holly Nottebohm I come away with a renewed energy towards supporting there coffee.  Johann is a 3rd generation coffee farmer who has been committed to the quality of not only the coffee they grow, but also the life styles of their workers and community around them.  This farm is meticulously keeping up with, and surpassing the standards of Rainforest Alliance certification.

When we last visited this estate, we saw first hand the activities and investments Johann was doing to improve the lives of their workers, but this time, we got to see how far his progress has come.  Not only does he have free health care and school for the 60 children that live full time on the estate (grades 1-6 as well as computer class), he is almost ready to open his 3rd class room which will host grades 7-9.  What excites us the most is that he is now going to open these classes up to the families that do not live on the farm.  This proves his commitment to continually improve the community which lives around the estate.

(more…)

Kenya – Wamuguma – Ritho Coop

Our new Kenyan is now available and ready to purchase.  This is an upgrade on our preview Kenyan Giathuga Nyeri; however you will notice a similar thick/syrupy body that you loved in our last offering.

Fully washed blend of SL28/SL34.  Aromas of chocolate raisins with a syrupy mouth feel,mild pink grapefruit acidity and clean flavors of brown sugar/graham cracker.

Cupping Score 91.0

Wamuguma is one of two washing stations associated with the Ritho Coop in the Thika region of Kenya. This Coop is located on the slopes of the Aberdare Mountains, which form the eastern border of the Great Rift Valley.

The Coop has a membership of approximately 2,000 farmers, and half of the members deliver cherry to the Wamuguma washing station.

Rainforest Alliance - Coffee farm audits

We have written and spoke a few times about why Fratello Coffee chooses to purchase Rainforest Alliance (RA) certified coffees over other certifications.  We believe strongly that RA is the most complete certification available to us today.  A certification that looks at many different levels of life and accountability on the farms we choose to work with.

Not all of our coffee is RA, however, more and more are and we will continue to source coffees that first stand out as exceptional on the cupping table; followed with the hopes that these estates are/could be certified.

Below is a short video provided to us by The Rainforest Alliance that shows a few of their objectives while auditing at the farm level.

2009 Brazilian Cup of Excellence public coffee cupping

Fratello Coffee is going to be holding a public cupping of the top 10 Cup of Excellence coffees from the Brazilian 2009 competition.  If you are interested in tasting these coffees, please come to Fratello Coffee on January 12th @ 1:30. 

The auction for these coffees will be on January 19th.   26 lots of coffee were awarded the prestigious Cup of Excellence award this year; however, Fratello Coffee will only be focusing on the top 10 coffees.

What we’ll be cupping is:

Lot #1  Fazenda Ouro Verde

Lot #2  Fazenda Sant’Ana

Lot #3  Fazenda Recreio

Lot #4  Fazenda Monte Verde