Guatemala Finca El Socorro - Direct Trade Coffee
We always like finding new coffee producers to work with. Often we find a farm to work with who has won an award or to, or at least strives to win awards for quality. It is very rare to come across some one like Diego De La Cerda and Finca El Socorro who has won THIS many awards and this well known in the world for quality.
Everyone calls Diego De La Cerda the Silver Fox. And he is. Diego is the definition of suave. Not only does he produce some of the best coffee in the world, but he looks cool doing it.
Diego runs Both of his farms, El Socorro and Guayaba with a focus on the details. Everything is looked and improved. The results speak loudly to the obsession with quality. A few of their awards have been:
- 2nd Place 2012 Guatemala Cup of Excellence Award
- 1st Place 2011 Guatemala Cup of Excellence Presidential Award
- Coffee of the Year award from the SCAA - 2011
- 4th Place 2010 Guatemala Cup of Excellence Award
- 10th Place 2009 Guatemala Cup of Excellence Award
- 3rd & 4th place 2008 Guatemala Cup of Excellence Award
- 1st Place 2007 Guatemala Cup of Excellence Award
The variety they grow which has been winning most of these award is a Maracaturra (a cross pollination of Caturra and Maragogype) lot which we are happy to be offering at the end of July. There is only 300 lbs of this available, so don’t expect it around long. 2 other lots will be available as well: Palo Blanco and Santa Teresa.
Some detailed information on this farm:
- Country: Guatemala
- Region: Palencia
- Producer: Diego De La Cerda
- Farm: Finca El Socorro
- Harvest Period: January through April
- Elevation Range: 1400 to 195 masl
- Size of Finca: 74 hectares
- Tablons or lots on Finca: 21
- Kilos Produced: 32,000 kilos (73,500 lbs) (avg year)
- Varietals: Bourbon -Red, orange and yellow, Maracaturra, Caturra, Typica, Pacamara
- Team of people: 65 (harvest) 22 (full time)
El Socorro farm is located in Palencia, municipality of Guatemala department, 50 kilometers away from Guatemala city. The farm used to be part of Hacienda San Guayaba, property of Antonio López Colom in 1905. After he died, it was inherited to the youngest son Julio Colom Gómez Carillo, who sold it. For many years it was owned by different people until 1968, when Dr. Mario de la Cerda and his wife Maria Colom de la Cerda bought it back to the family.
In 1980, his son Juan de la Cerda Colom began to plant coffee. This is the fourth generation of owners. Juan de la Cerda and his son Juan Diego are now in charge of producing one of the best coffees of Guatemala. El Socorro’s success is the result of a strict quality control through out the whole process, from the management of the plantation, to the picking and the wet milling.
The farm has an efficient ecological wet mill. It depulps coffee cherries dry, then transports the coffee and its pulp mechanically and recycles the water in the process. Then, the water is treated with clean production techniques, before allowing it back into the forest.
El Salvador Finca Los Pirineos - Direct Trade Coffee
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
- Pupled Natural Catua
- Region: Chapada Diamantina
- Cupping Score: 91.08
Lot #2 Fazenda Sant’Ana
- Pulped Natural Yellow Bourbon/Acaia
- Region: Sul de Minas
- Cupping Score: 90.83
Lot #3 Fazenda Recreio
- Pulped Natural Yellow Bourbon
- Region: Mogiana – Vale da Grama
- Cupping Score: 89.42
Lot #4 Fazenda Monte Verde
- Pulped Natural Yellow Bourbon
- Region: Sul de Minas
- Cupping Score: 89.15 (more…)
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…)
Colombian Cup of Excellence 2009
I have just returned from Pereira Colombia after judging the 2009 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.
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.
Fratello Coffee's green storage techniques
Green coffee is packaged at origin in 132-152 lb jute (burlap) sacks. The smell and taste of this jute can be transfered to the green coffee, resulting in a cup referred to as "baggy" with an unpleasant musty or straw-like flavor. As coffee sits in warehouses it becomes old and stale within as little as 6 months. These conditions are worsened in humid conditions.
We invest in quality green coffee and protect it in the following ways:
1. We're lucky that Calgary is as dry as a desert (literally).
2. We receive shipments from origin constantly and our goal is to not have green coffee in our warehouse longer than 3 months.
3. Within weeks of receiving the green coffee, we remove it from the jute sacks and transfer the coffee into independent silos.
4. With our finest and most exotic coffees, we immediately vacuum package all of the green coffee in 15-20 lb bags with the objective of preserving the original sweetness and fruit-like flavors
5. Our Cup of Excellence coffee will never touch jute bags again! We pay the farmers and additional premium to have the coffee packaged at origin in 10 lb vacuum packaged foil bags.
Although it is rare for coffee to become baggy when you are not "warehousing" coffee, Fratello is taking these extra steps to ensure our clients only receive the best.
Bolivian Telmo Cahuana - Organic - 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.
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 Coffees
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.
Bolivia - Cup of Excellence cupping
This is an exciting event for myself. I have been invited to join the international cupping jury for the 2007 Cup of Excellence competition in Bolivia.
"You are formally invited to be a member of the international jury for the Bolivia Cup of Excellence® competition that will be held in Coroico, Bolivia, from October 8th- 12th, 2007. The Bolivia Cup of Excellence competition is coordinated by a group effort made up of industry organizations in Bolivia and is owned and managed by The Alliance for Coffee Excellence (ACE). We are thrilled to have you as a member of the international jury for this event and know that this competition will prove to be exciting and unforgettable for both the jury and the winning farmers."
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.