Irving Farm Coffee – Honduras Don Pancho

Jose Francisco Portillo, known as “Don Pancho” in his community, began planting coffee trees over forty years ago on his family’s land in Santa Bárbara overlooking Lake Yojoa (the largest natural lake in Honduras).

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Irving Farm CoffeeHonduras Don Pancho

Jose Francisco Portillo, known as “Don Pancho” in his community, began planting coffee trees over forty years ago on his family’s land in Santa Bárbara overlooking Lake Yojoa (the largest natural lake in Honduras). His son, Roberto, grew up playing along the hillsides and learning about coffee from his father, and for decades they picked, processed and sold their coffee to local mills that would simply blend multiple lots and sell in bulk to the mass market.

Today, Santa Bárbara is emerging as a hotspot for specialty coffee production alongside the venerable Capucas, the most popular and established coffee-growing region in Honduras (and the home of our Capucas, Los Liros and Plantanares offerings). This is largely due to Angel Arturo Paz, his brother Benjamin, and their team at the San Vicente mill in Peña Blanca. They have worked tirelessly within the region, visiting farms and introducing the value of specialty coffee to farmers who can be resistant when it comes to abandoning years of tradition for what is essentially a leap of faith. They assist the farmers with each step of bringing their operations up to standard, from fertilizing to picking to drying. It is intensive, exhausting work, but the Paz brothers can see enormous potential for their region, and they are enthusiastic ambassadors for the incredible quality that’s becoming the norm for Santa Bárbara coffees.

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When Arturo was visiting Roberto’s farm he noticed the 40-year-old Bourbon trees and encouraged him to pick and process that Bourbon cherry separate from the Lempira. And when Irving Farm’s Green Coffee Buyer, Dan Streetman, tasted the first samples he knew it was something special. He asked Roberto what we should call it (producers in this region hadn’t been in the habit of naming their farms) and Roberto requested that we name it after his father, Don Pancho, who in planting these trees had unknowingly paved the way for a future in specialty coffee production.

We purchased Roberto’s harvest in 2012 and 2013, but in 2014 the farm was devastated by the dreaded coffee leaf rust, known as Roya. By the time Dan was able to visit and see the extent of the damage, Roberto had already decided to raze the Bourbon and replant from scratch, a process that could take a few years before the new trees would even produce viable fruit. Roberto was incredibly disappointed, but Dan promised that he would be the first in line to buy any future harvest. After discussing the various options, Dan and Benjamin recommended that Roberto hold off on destroying his father’s Bourbon for just one more season. There was the tiniest chance that the trees might survive, and they felt that it could be worth a shot.

Against all odds, the Bourbon not only survived, but it produced an exceptional (albeit small) crop and Irving Farm purchased the entire lot this year. Roberto dedicated daily attention to the trees and was steadfast in fighting the rust, so it could be the result of patience and persistence, or it could be proof that miracles do exist. Either way, we are relieved and overjoyed for Roberto, and thrilled that you get to taste this remarkable brew. Don Pancho is a coffee that is close to our hearts, and its dynamic journey is evident in the depth of its richly layered flavors.

NOTES:
PRODUCER – Roberto Portillo
REGION – Santa Bárbara
ELEVATION – 1400–1700 meters
VARIETY – Bourbon
PROCESS – Washed
TASTE – Bright, Elegant, Apple

 

Now available at http://www.emerycoffee.com.

 

*Photos courtesy of Irving Farm Coffee

Irving Farm Coffee – Ethiopia Amaro Gayo

Ethiopia Amaro Gayo, a cup full of lush berry flavor, complex acidity and juicy body.

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Irving Farm CoffeeEthiopia Amaro Gayo

In the southwestern part of Ethiopia lie the Amaro Mountains, a small range which separates the communities of Amaro on the eastern slopes from Nechisar National Park and the lowland tribal areas of Arba Minch in the west.

A native of the Amaro region has become one of the most inspiring figures in Ethiopian coffee today: her name is Asnakech. She’s earned this title because in 2005 she decided to return to her homeland determined to improve the quality of coffee at her mill and in the surrounding communities.

One of the many improvements and changes Asnakech has made over the years is to implement a rigorous quality control system. First, she makes sure to only pick and purchase cherries at the height of their maturity. The coffee is then processed using the natural process, allowing the coffee seed to dry inside of the fruit. The coffee is sun-dried on raised beds. This drying process is closely monitored to ensure that no quality is lost. The coffee is then sorted to remove any defects. The result of all this attention to detail is a superior coffee.

Asnakech is also the only female mill operator in Ethiopia and we are proud to support her efforts at producing truly spectacular coffees by presenting to you her Amaro Gayo, a cup full of lush berry flavor, complex acidity and juicy body.

This coffee is certified USDA Organic, meaning its production did not involve the use of synthetic substances such as most pesticides, herbicides and fertilizers.

COUNTRY Ethiopia
REGION Amaro Mountains
PRODUCER Asnakech Thomas
VARIETIES Hierloom
PROCESS Natural
ALTITUDE 1400-1800 meters
HARVEST Dec – Feb
TASTING NOTES Floral, Strawberry, Sweet

Now available at www.emerycoffee.com

Irving Farm Coffee – Guatemala Santa Isabel Organic

In 2004, Santa Isabel experienced a pandemic of coffee rust disease. Producer Alex Keller experimented with a variety of methods to treat the problem, but finally decided that the only solution was to return to organic cultivation.

Irving Farm Coffee – Guatemala Santa Isabel Organic

In 2004, Santa Isabel experienced a pandemic of coffee rust disease. Producer Alex Keller experimented with a variety of methods to treat the problem, but finally decided that the only solution was to return to organic cultivation. 2007 heralded their first certified organic production.

Since then, Alex has continued experimenting with innovative cultivation at the farm. Nowadays, it is a model of biodynamic organic agriculture; producing two pounds of composted dirt/fertilizer for every pound of coffee produced. Alex proudly showed us around the farm, even unearthing the fungi underneath a tree log to display the symbiotic relationship between fungi—beneficial to plant root systems and allowed to thrive due to Alex’s organic conditions—and the tree root systems. He has also planted other flowering plants and trees around the farm to attract more diverse species of insects. Alex’s goal is to build a diverse and sustainable ecosystem within his farm, one that mimics the natural preserve surrounding it.

Along with precise cultivation, Alex is meticulous about processing. Cherry selection, washing and drying protocols are painstakingly followed, producing clean, consistent and delicious coffee. His grandmother Isabel would be proud that he has put her name on this full-bodied, chocolatey coffee.

This coffee is certified USDA Organic, meaning its production did not involve the use of synthetic substances such as most pesticides, herbicides and fertilizers.

COUNTRY Guatemala
REGION Santa Isabel
PRODUCER Alex Keller
VARIETIES Bourbon, Catuai & Caturra
PROCESS Washed
TASTING NOTES Caramel, Dark Chocolate, Spicy
Now available at www.emerycoffee.com