Peru Huabal Fair Trade Organic Coffee

SO-PERHUA-bannerPhotos courtesy of Kickapoo Coffee.

Organic Peru Huabal – Cenfrocafe Cooperative

Flavors of plum and dark cherry with citrusy acidity and a rich, almond sweetness.

Notes of Plum, Black Cherry & Citrus

Altitude: 1450-1900 Meters
Varietals: Typica, Caturra
Process: Washed
Region: Huabal, Cajamarca

This lot from our partners at Cenfrocafe marks a new phase in one of our oldest relationships. Cenfrocafe was founded in 1999 with 220 small-scale coffee farmers in 11 community-based organizations. Today it serves 2,000 farmers in 52 organizations. As the cooperative has grown, our direct contact with individual growers has diminished. This lot is the result of a new initiative that seeks to change that. Working with Cenfrocafe, we’ve arranged a direct relationship with the farmers surrounding a single village, Huabal–an arrangement that provides us with more consistent coffees and an avenue to work directly with the same growers year in and year out. On the whole, the village produces around three containers of coffee a year; we’re buying a third of that. Like all of Cenfrocafe’s coffees, this lot’s been sorted and separated meticulously. Huabal boasts some of the highest altitudes within Cenfrocafe with some areas situated above 1,900 meters. We’re pleased as punch with this release from the Huabal growers: plumy and rounded with notes of dark cherry and citrus.

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Maintaining truly direct and meaningful relationships with farmers is extremely difficult for coffee roasters, as importing and communicating with farmers takes resources most small companies do not have. To overcome this obstacle, Kickapoo Coffee is an owner-member of Cooperative Coffees, a fair trade importing business owned by 23 like-minded roasters who are actively engaged in supporting our own importing cooperative. We import over 85 percent of our coffees through Cooperative Coffees, and this number is increasing each year as we develop partnerships with new producers around the world.

Through Cooperative Coffees we set the bar higher for the fair trade world. Our pricing minimum is set at a price that is substantially above fair trade standards. We also offer our farmer-partners much-needed pre-harvest financing.

Fair trade at Kickapoo Coffee goes beyond pricing to building relationships and partnerships with our growers. Because we import our own coffees, we are communicating with growers directly, not through a middleman. Maintaining direct relationships with producers is very different from buying and selling fair trade coffee from an importer. We get to participate in the lives of our farmers directly, seeing where the roadblocks are, and devising solutions for a more sustainable partnership.

Every year we invite and often sponsor farmer coop representatives to our annual meetings and give them a voice in our business decisions. Cooperative Coffees also sponsors an annual meeting with representatives from a dozen Latin American farmer groups. These meetings allow roasters and farmers to learn from each other and look for ways to improve trading relationships. What’s more, farmers from different countries are able to share their experiences and learn from each other. This kind of involvement is very difficult to achieve as a small, independent coffee roaster.

Visiting our growers is a very important part of what we do. Our cooperative makes annual visits to each of our producer groups. These trips are focused on mutual benefit. We want to make sure farmers are treated fairly and that we in turn are getting the best quality possible. Our goal on these trips is to better understand the conditions that our farmers are working under and to find where we can encourage further quality initiatives.

Please leave your thoughts and comments below.

 

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Emery Coffee Goes Whole Bean

In keeping with our commitment to provide you with the best coffee experience possible, we will no longer be offering grind options on most of our coffees. Why, you might ask? According to the National Coffee Association, “Storage is integral to maintaining your coffee’s freshness and flavor. It is important to keep it away from excessive air, moisture, heat, and light — in that order — in order to preserve its fresh-roast flavor as long as possible.”

Air is coffee’s number one enemy and when coffee is ground much more surface area is exposed and thus goes stale much faster. You will not get sick from drinking old or stale coffee so the question then becomes how long is my coffee “fresh?” We will define fresh as the point at which a decided difference in flavor is apparent.

Consider this, people go to the bakery every day and not just once a week because there is a difference in bread baked 15 minutes ago and 15 hours ago. A big difference. Sure the older bread is still good and quite tasty but only a shadow of the fresh bread.

The problem is, most people have never had fresh coffee outside of a cafe. If you buy your coffee at the supermarket it is already stale before you even buy it. It was roasted, ground, allowed to “rest” and release all of the CO2 before it was vacuum sealed for freshness. The resulting paradox is fresh/stale coffee.

Our roasters use a one-way degassing valve which allows the CO2 to escape while it is on the way to you. That takes care of the issue, right? Although a big help, if the coffee was ground it was still exposed to air before it could be sealed. The flavor starts to significantly change within 24 hours. Within three days it is not the same coffee and after 7 days is hardly drinkable.

The best solution is to buy whole bean coffee and only as much as you will drink in the next two weeks. There is no noticeable change in flavor in the first 7 days. During the second week the flavor starts to break down. Again, you can drink coffee that was roasted one month or even four months ago without problems but the majority of the flavor would be gone as it becomes less and less drinkable over time.

This seems a good time to introduce “Babbie’s Rule of Fifteens.” This comes from a discussion on Barista Exchange about this very issue. There are no real rules but these make for some good guidelines.

“Babbie’s Rule of Fifteens:*
Green Beans should be used in fifteen months.
Roasted beans should bused in fifteen days.
Ground beans should be used in fifteen minutes.
Extracted beans should be served in fifteen seconds.

*These are generalities, and depend on the bean, the environment, and your tastes. While there are occasional outliers, anyone that suggests that these are way off would arouse my suspicions. Especially about his tastes… ”

BEST PRACTICES

  • Buy fresh roasted whole bean coffee.
  • Buy only what you will use in the next two weeks.
  • Store in an opaque airtight container in a cool dry place.
  • Grind your coffee immediately before brewing.
  • Serve and enjoy as soon as possible.
  • NEVER store your coffee in the refrigerator or reheat brewed coffee.

– Emery