El Salvador Finca Los Pirineos - Direct Trade Coffee

Los Pirineos El Salvador Direct Trade Fratello

I was fortunate enough to meet Gilberto Baraona back in February and toured Finca Los Pirineos which is located in the region of the Cordillera Tecapa Chinameca.  This was an enlightening experience as I witnessed some of the nicest processing I’ve ever seen at a beneficio (wet mill) and dry-mill.

Finca Los Pirineos El Salvador Direct Trade Fratello

Gilberto was doing things to the extreme on every level, starting with his stainless steel micro-mill set up, which he referred to as “his kitchen”.  This mill was absolutely spotless and completely state of the art featuring 4 Colombian style de-pulpers, which consume very little water.  To ensure the best quality, Gilberto has brought in the best equipment to process and sort/screen his coffees.  This was also seen in his dry-mill which had technology brought in from Brazil.  It is rare to find someone who handles every step for quality assurance, including the exportation of his beans.

Los Pirineos El Salvador Direct Trade Fratello

Gilberto is currently doing experimentation with 45 different varietals of coffee trees on his farm.  His goal is to find the next “Geisha”…..To do this, he needs to find which varietal of coffee tree results in the best cup profile when grown at his elevation, with his soil conditions, in his ecological conditions.  This is NOT normal protocol.

We have 2 micro-lots coming from Los Pirineos this year.  The first one is a Naturally processed Red Bourbon Elite (original strain of Bourbon), dried for 45 days on raised African beds.  This is not your typical Natural coffee.  Look for a clean, well-balanced cup with juicy tropical flavors.  There is nothing funky about this cup.  This is a tiny 8 bag lot, and its going to fly off the shelves.

African drying beds Finca Los Pirineos El Salvador Direct Trade Fratello

The second lot is a Fully Washed Red Pacamara.  What is most interesting about this 17 bag lot was the experiment Gilberto did with fertilization.  He found the highest grade liquid potassium to use on this section of land.  Potassium is often used in fertilizers to spike flavor……its works!  This coffee is extremely clean and has aromas of orange, flavors of orange juice, is silky smooth and a delicate citrus acidity.

I’m thrilled to say that Gilberto and Finca Los Pirineos is the newest member of our Direct Trade coffee partners.  Finca Los Pirineos is not a very large producer (1500 bags a year) and does not plan on working this closely with many other roasters.  His coffees have become known around the world since he participated in the 2008 Cup of Excellence (COE) competition when his coffee took 8th place.  Since this time, they continue to win auction positions in the COE, and have begun working with a few coffee greats like the World Barista Champion Tim Wendelboe of Norway.

Watch for these 2 exciting lots of coffee to arrive in late May 2012.  Do not wait long to try them; they are not going to be around very long.

Finca Los Pirineos El Salvador Direct Trade Fratello

Bolivian Cup of Excellence Coffee - Cafe Central Lot #6

Fratello just won another Cup of Excellence coffee Lot.  The auction just finished and was one of the longest bidding wars I can remember.  After it was all said and done, the #1 lot was sold for $35.05/lb (green) which is a new record for Bolivian Specialty Coffees.

This stretched on for almost 7 hours!  Fratello chose to puchase Lot # 6 which was also given a Presidental Award.  A Presidental Award is given to any coffee which scores over a 90.00 in the Cup of Excellence compitition.

Lot#: 6 Luis Huayhua Chiji - Café Central - Jury Score 90.71

Below is information on the coffee that we will be sharing with all of our friends/clients in the new year.

Luis Huayhua is father of three children. He is married to Zenobia Charca, a coffee producer for over 20 years and winner of the Cup of Excellence 2008. He arrived in Alto Beni from Achacachi in the Bolivian high plains (the altiplano) with her parents when he was 10 years old. Luis learned about coffee production as a child, while working alongside his parents, but he had never processed coffee. For this reason, de-pulping, fermenting, washing and drying there coffee to participate in the competition presented a challenge for him. (more…)

Costa Rican Cup of Excellence - Lot #3

Fratello Coffee just won the # 3 Lot of Costa Rican Celle de Copey - Cup of Excellencetoday.  This was a HUGE achievement and the highest ranking coffee Fratello has every won.  Jason was part of the jury down in Costa Rica this year and helped approving this coffee as being one of the top 5 that Costa Rica has to offer this year. 

You can read more about this coffee here:

Look for this coffee to be available late this summer/early Spring.  Some incredible coffees are available now and coming soon to Fratello…..a few of these are:

Available now (and selling fast): READ more.

Available now: READ more.

Available July: READ more.

Available July/August: READ more.

Available August/September: READ more.

These coffees are all limited quantities, so enjoy them while you can.  There are a few other origins we are working on, each as exciting as the ones above.  Looks like its going to be a tasty summer.  


Colombia | Cup of Excellence

I have just returned from Pereira Colombia after judging the 2009 Colombia Cup of Excellence competition.   Although tired, I'm thrilled about this experience.  It is so exciting going through the cupping process and seeing the award ceremony's on the final day.

COE #1 lot winner

 The Cup of Excellence competition is the most thorough and competitive screening process a coffee farm will put their coffee through.  The goal of COE is to bring out the best coffee a current region has to offer in the current crop year.  After the competition is over, the COE award is given to the top farmers who represent the best coffees that this region has to offer.  These coffees are then put in front of the world on an on-line auction which rewards these farmers for their focused attention to improving quality coffee, and puts a spot light on this region show-casing their excellence.


Stage one Involves the submission from the farmers current crop of coffee.  Of the 512,000 families growing coffee in Colombia, only 374 submissions were sent in this year, which was relatively low do to the fact that Colombia's crop forecast is 30-40% lower than the year before.

All of these coffees are cupped and analyzed in Colombia by local cuppers.  All coffee scoring an 84 or higher (out of 100) move on to the second National Cupping jury.  The National Cupping Jury is chosen from the pool of local cuppers.  They are chosen for their cupping skills in the first stage.



Honduran Cup of Excellence 2008 - Las Amazonas

Yesterday was the online auction for the 2008 Honduras Cup of Excellence competition, and Fratello Coffee is happy to say, that we have won another Lot of coffee, and are the ONLY Canadian company to win one.   This is always an exciting process, and is particularly long, when you are also one of the 26 judges from around the world to actually participate in the competition at origin.

The judging process is a 4 day cupping extravaganza that allows you to taste the best coffees that country has to offer.  It starts out with the national cupping jury to taste all the entries and separate all the coffees that score an 84 or higher.

The next event bring the international jury into to rank all of these coffee to pick the final farms that qualify as a Cup of Excellence coffee (again anything over 84).  Every coffee gets tasted by each judge from 4 - 12 times and will be scored, and described each time.  Very tiring, but very rewarding.

When you walk away from the competition, you have experienced the best of this country as well as had the opprotunity to discover many different micro regions that had never been descovered until this time.  (more…)

Bolivian Telmo Cahuana | Cup of Excellence

Fratello Coffee won its 3rd auction with the Cup of Excellence program on November 15th. This was a fast paced auction with many different roasting and retail companies bidding on the 26 award winning lots. As far as we could see, this auction will result in the highest average prices over all. I congratulate the Cup of Excellence program for their marketing efforts, and for successfully organizing another amazing event.

Bolivian Coffee Farmers

Fratello Coffee was awarded the 13th placing winning coffee.  I remember this product well and found the characteristics in this coffee to show tastes of a Smokey Earth, a sparkling citrus and lingering acidity, with a clean body showing hints of Raisin.  I scored this with an 87.5, however the average score at the competition gave this a 86.21.  Overall this coffee is very balanced.

For more information on this coffee and the farm it was produced on, please read (more…)

Bolivian Specialty Coffee

  Bolivian coffee is truly a hidden gem of specialty coffee. I was very surprised at the quality of coffee being produced, in these small farms high in the Andes Mountains.  Growing conditions reach as high as 2500 meters above sea level.      Almost every farm is organic; however, not all are certified.  Typically these farms also grow other crops amongst their coffee trees such as orange, banana, and other tropical fruits.  Walking through these farms gives you a lot of history as many have been handed down for many generations. Their farms and processes methods are very small as most farms are never more than 10 hectares.  The growing conditions and processing methods are very typical of what would be found in Africa. You will find a lot of naturals, and semi-washed coffee on these farms.


Bolivian Cup of Excellence 2007

Well it was the final day of the 2007 Bolivian Cup of Excellence competition. There was no better way to end off my journey than by seeing all of the hard working farmers and their families cheering each other on in hopes of being one of the 26 finalists.

It was incredible to see their faces filled with joy when their names were called one by one and recognized in front of all the media and their peers for the efforts to improve quality and consistency on their farms. It sure makes it easy for me to want to continue supporting the COE Competition when you get to hear stories of how this motivates them to improve what they do, and hear them tell us how their lives change through the exportation of their coffee to our roasting facilities.  


El Salvador Cup of Excellence

Fratello Coffee Co wins again!!!!

We participated in another Cup of Excellence (COE) auction and won our second FULL lot. This one is very small, only 12 bags.   I assume this is going to arrive late August.  This is a very exciting time.   Fratello Coffee Co has always been about quality and we have always wanted to push the limits on quality, and finally, our market is starting to desire the same quality that our family has been raised on.   To be able to source and supply our clients with the best coffees on the planet makes my job as a cupper/importer a lot more enjoyable.     We can’t wait for you to taste this coffee.