Meet Rodrigo Dumont, a farmer from El Salvador that grows and provides some of Fratello’s favourite coffees like the El Salvador Malacara B and the El Salvador Pacamara. We interviewed Rodrigo to learn more about his farm, community and more about the behind the scenes of what it takes to fill your cup with that flavour you enjoy each morning!
We have a coffee renovation program for the next five years that contemplates an investment of at least 15,000 new coffee plants per year. We are growing different varieties of coffees each year, from our traditional red bourbon, to our new and exciting microlots: orange and pink bourbon, mokka, and pacamara, among others.
A season includes different activities within the coffee farm:
Coffee pruning and management, which is essential for new growth and the stimulation of new foliage, which will eventually provide more crop.
Shade pruning and its efficient management provide enough light for the coffee plants to regenerate its foliage previous to the rainy season, and as it grows back, maintains a cool temperature in the farm during summer. Shade also provides further benefits:
Soil & Foliar Fertilization: coffee plants, like all plants,
require light, water, and soil to grow and bear fruit:
Picking and sorting is crucial to the quality of coffee. A cherry picked at its ripest will deliver a well-formed and larger bean, with higher sugar content, and thus a better cup.
Milling: the milling process is outsourced to Beneficio El Borbollon, even though it is an integral part of the value chain.
These are some of the most important activities that go on at the farm level. They are critical for coffee growth and coffee production. Without these we could not have a harvest at the end of the season.
A good crop can be defined as producing what was expected, not having an environmental impact on the farm (e.g. some kind of plague, strong rains or draught), stable costs, and a secure space to work on.
The quality of the coffee can be established to a certain point by the hard work of the farm workers.
We have a established a traditional method in Malacara B called agobio parra This technique was used in the Santa Ana volcano region more than 50 years ago and provided superior productions for bourbon varieties. The technique consists of bending the coffee trees when they are relatively young. With proper shade and coffee pruning, new trees will grow from the mother tree and provide additional production. Each season, the newer trees are bent and further trees grow to produce the new crop. The growing philosophy behind the agobio is to always have in one parra, three or four producing generations of coffee trees.
In Malacara B, work on the farm starts at 7 am. Usually workers are divided by 20 or 30, supervised by a “Caporal”. There is a farm administrator called “Mandador”. During the year there are between 20 to 60 people working on non-harvest work. During the harvest the amount of workers can increase to 100 at a time. Each group has a specific activity to work on: shade pruning, coffee pruning, or fertilization for example. Lunch break is at noon: beans, rice and “chengas” or tortillas, which the farm provides as part of the work benefits. Work usually ends at 3 pm. If there is any work paid by the job, people choose to keep working and earn additional cash.
In my case, I visit Malacara B and the other two farms we administer, Piedra Pacha and Las Mercedes. At least once a week each.
Malacara B I would say has an ideal microclimate to grow coffee. It is at 1500 m above sea level, perfect temperature in El Salvador for quality coffee. It is in a side of the Santa Ana volcano where no wind hits the farm. It is always partially cloudy, so there is not too much sun or too little. The soil comes from volcanic rock. All great conditions for specialty coffee!
When I drink coffee I have two preferences.
When it is black coffee, I like to drink a Malacara B red Bourbon in a Chemex. Clean, round, balanced and sweet. I could drink that coffee on and on and on.
If there is a good barista around, and a good espresso machine, I like a good cortado: the perfect combination of sweet espresso and milk.
There is so much that goes into roasting that perfect cup of coffee, including a process known as cupping. This is a regular practice done at the roastery to ensure quality and flavour are to complete perfection. When you buy our beans or taste our coffee, we want to ensure that what you are getting is the best. Here is a step by step process known as cupping as completed by our roasters David Schindel and Meghan Gould.
Step 1: Weigh and grind your coffee samples. The ideal ratio is 8.25 grams of coffee per 150 ml of water.
Step 2: Evaluate dry fragrance by smelling the dry grounds within 15 minutes of grinding your coffee.
Step 3: Infuse dry grounds with hot water (200° F (93° C)) filling all the way to the brim of the cup. Let it sit for 4 minutes leaving the crust unbroken.
Step 4: After the 4 minutes is up break the crust by stirring three times allowing the foam to fall off the back of the spoon while gently smelling the back of the spoon.
Step 5: Evaluate wet aroma/fragrance of the coffee samples on your SCAA scoring sheet
Step 6: Before tasting the coffee clear off the remaining wet coffee grinds floating on top of the samples in one swift motion using two cupping spoons.
Step 7: When the samples have cooled for about 10 minutes you can begin your flavour, aftertaste, acidity, body and balance evaluation.
When tasting: the coffee should be aspirated into the mouth so that it covers as much area as possible, making a very audible slurping noise. Flavour and after taste are then rated.
As the coffee continues to cool the acidity, body, balance are then rated. Lastly, the sweetness, uniformity and clean cup should be evaluated before your samples reach room temperature.
Step 8: Add all your scores on your evaluation sheets and you’re done! Based on your scores you can now determine the best coffee suited for your coffee shop.
Making coffee at home is something people do almost every morning in their homes. There is so much that one can know when purchasing the right coffee. It is more than the brand or name on the table. There are several factors and things to be looking for when you are buying your next bag of beans. We put together a list of the top 4 things to look for when it comes to buying beans and keeping these fresh!
FRESHNESS: Freshness is the key! This will go against culture but think smaller is better, for freshness reasons. If coffee is older than 3-4 weeks after its roast date it may not necessarily be stale it just may lose dome of its delicate, brighter and more complex flavours.
ROAST DATE: Look for a roast date on the packaging. This will always be dependent on how you choose to brew your coffee. If you don’t see a roast date there is no way of knowing how long those beans have been packaged into that bag.
AGE: If you are wanting to use your coffee for espresso extraction we suggest that coffee is best aged at least 7 days from its roast ate. If you are choosing to use it for Pour Over, Regular Drip, French Press or Aeropress than we suggest brewing the coffee as early as 24 hours after roasting.
STORAGE: Keep coffee fresh. We suggest to avoid storing coffee in the freezer. This will dry up any oils in the coffee which can be essential to come out of the flavour. We suggest keeping the coffee in a airtight container and stored in a cool dry place away from the direct light.
You can purchase our beans directly from our site or in store at Analog Coffee located on 17 Ave SW, Calgary Farmers Market or Corbeaux Bakehouse.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Fratello Coffee opens its 3rd location in South Calgary
Fratello Coffee Roasters is excited to announce a fall 2015 opening for a brand new Analog Coffee location in Southcentre Mall. Fratello recently celebrated its 30th anniversary of roasting coffee in the Calgary community and this new Analog Coffee location will join the current location in the Calgary Farmers Market and the flagship location on 17th Avenue SW.
Brothers Russ and Chris Prefontaine, co-owners of Fratello Coffee Roasters, have a vision to create spaces for Calgarians to experience community and quality. These spaces exist within the Analog Coffee locations and at Corbeaux Bakehouse, a new concept bakehouse inspired by communal eateries in Europe and other cosmopolitan locales.
The Southcentre Mall coffee house will bring what people love at the 17th Avenue and the Farmers Market locations, including exceptional beverages handmade by trained baristas, community atmosphere and quality service. The menu will additionally offer a broad food service with fresh ingredients from Corbeaux Bakehouse.
This new Analog Coffee location will expand the craftsman coffee experience from existing primarily in the downtown core and surrounding areas to the south quadrant of the City. It will provide shoppers and local residents with an opportunity to retreat and enjoy a meticulously-prepared beverage; an opportunity to take a moment and taste a cup of coffee, not just drink it.
“Southcentre is proud to welcome Analog, a great local business which complements our growing family of retailers and services”, says Shawn Hanson, General Manager, Southcentre Mall. “Our shoppers appreciate quality and Analog is the perfect addition to enhance the guest experience.”
The fall 2015 opening of Analog Coffee in Southcentre Mall is perfectly timed for shoppers and the south Calgary community to enjoy for this year’s holiday shopping season.
For interview and media opportunities please contact:
Social Media and Marketing for Fratello Coffee Roasters
Fratello Coffee is excited to announce the launch of the newest Analog Coffee opening in Southcentre Mall in Fall of 2015. This location will bring what people love about the urban location to the south along with broad food service with fresh ingredients from Corbeaux Bakehouse. This will mark the third Analog location in Calgary and Owner, Russ Prefontaine shares more about the past, present and future Analog Coffee in our interview below.
Our family has been roasting coffee in Calgary for 2 generations now, 30 years. For all those years we’ve worked closely with our wholesale café customers to educate them about what espresso-based beverages are all about and help them to create excellent café experiences. But what better way to show the world our vision for what a world-class café should be than to open one ourselves? Our cafés were created to give Fratello Coffee Roasters a direct voice to those who matters most: the people who drink and enjoy our coffee every day. We like to think of Analog as our stage; on which we have the opportunity to showcase all of our elite coffees. The intricacies of which are highlighted by careful preparation, using only the worlds best brewing equipment and techniques by professional baristas who share our passion for exceptional coffees with dynamic and unique flavour profiles. We’ve been teaching wholesale clients and trying to convince them of our idea of what a proper café can be — now we are able to showcase our products ourselves, controlling every aspect of the finished product from choosing the beans to texturing the perfect milk for a traditional cappuccino. We have a long history and a fun story, its great to finally share it. https://fratellocoffee.com/our-story/about-us/
The idea of having our own café isn’t new. We’ve been talking about this concept for over 15 years, dating back to when we first purchased the roasting company from our parents in 1997. In March of 2011 we took the first step towards realizing this dream by opening Fratello’s Analog Coffee in the Calgary Farmers’ Market. In late 2012 we opened our flagship location, the stand-alone Analog location at 740-17th Ave SW. We’ve always believed that a coffee house should be much more than just a place to get your caffeine fix and with Analog, we believe we’ve created the perfect spot to retreat and enjoy a meticulously-prepared beverage.
These lofty goals has been both the most rewarding and taxing. To achieve this every single day requires you to be surrounded by like minded people who authentically want those same goals. You can’t fake it. For us, our success has come from the team of people that have joined us at our roastery and cafes. This team is truly behind the idea of delighting our guests. The biggest challenge at first was finding these people, but now that we are together, together we attract more people who are passionate about what we do, and that is very rewarding. The success of Analog Coffee is only because of our team.
This has literally been our “dream” location in Calgary ever since we had our offices down the roast on 17th ave and 9th street. At that time we weren’t doing any roasting, it was still our parents company. Back then we were called Espuccino Imports and were only focused on importing specialty restaurant equipment, like espresso machines. Training and service was our specialty. In those days we would look at the old Buy Right Grocery Store which is now Analog Coffee, and talk about how this location would be ideal for a local coffee shop. It took over 50 years for the owners of this location to finally retire, but when they did, we were ready to take it over. We wanted to keep some of the history of that old grocery store alive, so we installed their old outdoor signage inside our store.
At Analog you will experience craftsman-like drink preparation on our Slayer espresso machines, single origin coffee and single estate tea offerings, delicious snacks and food, and a place where you can engage with us and learn more about the coffee we offer and how we make it. We want to show our passion and elevate your drink every day. When people get a coffee at Analog, we want them to have a true experience in every sense of the word. We want them to taste the coffee….we don’t want them to just drink the coffee. We want to help educate and assist our clients, not preach to them. We want them to be comfortable and relaxed as soon as they approach us and enter our cafes. We want to be hosts. This has always been the goal at both our locations and this hasn’t and won’t change. What has changed is our food offering. Food was the most frustrating part of Analog. Trying to find bakeries that wanted to actually WORK with us, not just give us “off the shelf offerings”. In order to take control of every aspect of our cafe, we needed to create our own food. This is when Corbeaux Bakehouse was born, and the concept continued to grow to where it is today. Now we are not only creating our own sandwiches, but are a full from scratch Bakery and Patisserie. We see the future of high quality, “3rd wave cafes”, and that future is food. You can’t just offer exceptional coffee and customer service, you need to have a complete offering.
At South Centre you will see and experience everything people love at 17th Ave and the Farmers Market. Exceptional beverages hand made by professional baristas. What you will also notice is a much broader and complete food offering. We will even be baking many products fresh each day in store. All of the foods and products will be produced by Corbeaux Bakehouse specifically for our needs. It will be a great experience for shoppers who are looking for a break from shopping, a place to sit with friends, a “office” space for meetings and a little taste of down town. This really will be something different for a shopping mall environment.
My brother and I are always dreaming about new business opportunities and concepts, and we will continue to travel abroad seeking inspiration. Lets just say, we aren’t done yet.
Most people enter a coffee shop, order there coffee and move on with there day. Yet, behind the scenes there is SO much that goes into preparing that espresso, latte or whatever your drink of choice may be. From where the beans are grown, how they are roasted to the testing of the beans to ensure they taste just right. One of the practices we run often at Fratello is QA (quality assurance). We sat down with head coffee roaster, David Schindel as he walked us through a process known as cupping. This practice is a routine test to evaluate the beans and access any adjustments that need to be made in the roasting process to bring out the best flavours.
What is quality assurance and how often do you do it?
Quality assurance is testing our current offerings through cupping and making sure it meets the same quality standards as it did when it was first profiled, within reason. We constantly are testing our product our goal is to make sure we taste all of our offerings at least once a month, some of the special offerings are done every week.
What exactly is cupping?
Cupping is a sensory exercise, it starts by smelling the grinds of the coffee then pouring water on them and testing the aroma with the water on it. After a steep time of four minutes we do what is called a break, essentially breaking the crust the grounds and oil of the coffee has formed at the top of the cup, this is another aroma test as well. Once it has been broken and the grounds and oils have been cleared off the top we wait until the coffee is at a temperature that we can taste without burning our tongues that usually occurs around the 10 minute mark. We then grade it on 6 characteristics, Flavour/Taste, Acidity, Aftertaste, Balance, Body and Overall impression as per the SCAA standards. This is done from when the coffee was hot to when it reaches almost room temperature to ensure no changes happen well it is cooling.
Explain what you are looking for during this process?
We are looking for any changes in the roast, which will show its self in one of the 6 characteristics.
What changes can you make post this process to ensure higher quality?