Coffee Beans: Sustainable or Non-Sustainable Taste Tests


Most of us have seen items in the grocery store labeled “organically produced” or “eco-friendly.” From everything we have read in the media, these food items should be healthier for you than those drenched in food coloring or grown with toxic fertilizers. Folks often buy these items because they feel they are helping the environment, and they are even willing to pay more for these items. These socially conscious individuals claim that the environmentally friendly foods taste better than foods processed the old way. But do they really taste better? Researchers devised an experiment using arabica coffee beans to find out.

The scientists arranged for groups of volunteers to taste whole bean coffee brewed from arabica beans. Coffee from the arabica bean is known for being high quality, and it is the main ingredient in most gourmet coffees. The volunteers were to answer a questionnaire that helped determine how much value they placed on an environmentally friendly coffee as opposed to a coffee that did not make use of high sustainability practices or were not friendly to the environment. The answers to the questions helped divide the group into two sub-groups: a high sustainability group and a low sustainability group. Even though the two cups of coffee served to the participants were identical, the information given before tasting was not. One coffee was described as being ecologically friendly while the other was not. Interestingly the responses of the group reflected this information.

Seventy-four percent of the high sustainability volunteers preferred the eco-labeled coffee while twenty-six percent choose the non sustainable coffee. They were also willing to pay more for the coffee. With regards to the low sustainability group, forty-eight percent choose the eco-coffee while twenty-six preferred the not ecologically friendly coffee. They were not willing to pay more for the coffee. The ecologically-friendly volunteers showed a definite preference for the coffee labeled ecologically friendly even though there was no difference between the two cups. The low sustainability volunteers were almost tied with the cup they chose. The information of the label definitely had an effect on the high sustainability group.

The results of this series of experiments show that eco-conscious individuals were willing to pay a premium for the eco-coffee. These findings were partly based on desire to do what is right for the environment rather than which coffee tasted the best. Basically the volunteers were influenced by lying about the coffee’s characteristics. Similar results have been achieved using products such as nutrition bars and wine. The volunteers would pay more for the coffee they were told was ecologically-friendly whether it really was or not. These results should prove very interesting to the advertising industry!

Please leave your thoughts and comments below.

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Puerto Rico’s Signifcance in Coffee History

In an effort to help Puerto Rico regain its status in the coffee world, some small production farmers have concentrated their efforts on specialty and high-quality coffees.

Coffee_free_atop_the_Maricao_mountains_in_Puerto_Rico_(5661610485) - wikiApril 25, 2011-Maricao, Puerto Rico. Photo by Lilibeth Serrano, USFWS. – Wikimedia

In the 1500’s, in the Sufi Muslim monasteries of Yemen, coffee was first roasted. In the 16th century, coffee reached the Middle East, Persia and Africa. Coffee reached the shores of North America during the Colonial period, however, it was not as popular as it was in England, as people in the colonies preferred alcoholic beverages over fresh roasted coffee. America’s taste for coffee grew after the Embargo Act of 1807 restricted trade with both Britain and France, leading to the War of 1812. Today, coffee is a vital and important cash crop for developing countries. It has become the backbone and primary export for the African countries of Rwanda, Uganda, and Ethiopia. Today’s leaders in the production of green (unroasted) coffee are Brazil, Vietnam, Indonesia, and Columbia.

There are two main types of coffee grown, Arabic and Robusta. Arabica coffee is generally preferred over Robusta, as Robusta tends to be bitter with less flavor but has better body than Arabica. Robusta contains almost 50-percent more caffeine as well. In the United States, coffee is grown in Puerto Rico and Hawaii. In fact, back in the day (100 years ago), Puerto Rico produced some the world’s best coffee. The production of whole bean coffee decreased and the export of coffee ceased due, in part, to the damage caused by hurricanes in the 1800’s. When the United States gained control of the island in the late 19th century economic development became more of a focus. Affluence led to agricultural work being stigmatized and coffee’s decline continued.

The nutrient rich volcanic soil and climate of Puerto Rico make it the perfect place for coffee to grown. Yauco or The City of Coffee, as it is nicknamed, is famous for its coffee. The most recognized, premium blend of coffee Puerto Rico has to offer is known as the Yauco Select brand. Another brand, a very special blend, is called Alto Grande. It is special because it is one of only three brands that are labeled superpremium in the world!

Puerto Rico produced 10-million pounds of coffee in 2014 but compared to Brazil’s 1.8-million tons, that’s a drop in the ocean. However, the island is taking measures to change that. Of late, Puerto Rico has seen a resurgence of cooperative’s and small producers growing premium coffee beans. Puerto Rico has many obstacles to overcome, including a shortage of workers to pick the coffee. There is no substitute for human workers, and as people become more educated, manual agricultural work is a last choice option. Insect pests such as the coffee leafminer can reduce crop yields by up to 40% and pests such as mealybugs and scale can cause yield losses of up to 15%.

In an effort to help Puerto Rico regain its status in the coffee world, some small production farmers have concentrated their efforts on specialty and high-quality coffees. Yet others are focusing on cultivating coffee beans in the coastal areas of the island. The hope is that planting in areas with high unemployment rates they will draw workers to the fields. In another effort to increase yield, Puerto Rico’s Agricultural Secretary signed an agreement to plant more than 16-million coffee trees over the next few years. Other improvements include the recent opening of the largest coffee processing facility in the Caribbean. Another significant development is the University of Puerto Rico’s new program dedicated to helping farmers improve the quality of their coffee beans.

Maybe some day in the near future we will talk about Puerto Rican coffees in the same breath as Kona coffees as some of the best in the world, again.

Find your coffee at today!

Kickapoo Coffee – Project Congo

Project Congo marks our second philanthropic collaboration with our friends at On The Ground. In our Project Congo initiative, we will donate $1 for every pound of this exceptional Congolese coffee to promote and raise awareness of gender equality in the farming regions of the Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

Kickapoo CoffeeProject Congo

About The Growers
Project Congo marks our second philanthropic collaboration with our friends at On The Ground. In our Project Congo initiative, we will donate $1 for every pound of this exceptional Congolese coffee to promote and raise awareness of gender equality in the farming regions of the Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

Funds raised will work to break the chains of poverty and conflict while supporting women empowerment groups in coffee communities of the region. Women play a crucial agricultural role in Africa, providing the majority of the labor, but their contributions are often invisible since women are excluded from delivering and selling the crop. These realities are exacerbated by sexual gender-based violence in Kivu used as a tool to destabilize communities.

Despite the challenges, female coffee producers in Eastern DRC have the perseverance to move forward. Project Congo will provide transformative opportunities to these farmers by introducing practical initiatives supporting women’s empowerment at both farm and cooperative levels. Funds will be used to empower and educate female farmers to become entrepreneurs, taking control of their lives, and creating a brighter future for coffee communities affected by the civil war in Eastern DRC.

We’re honored to be working once again with On The Ground to make positive impacts in coffee producing countries.

Muungano Cooperative

Notes of Black Currant, Cola & Sweet Citrus

Altitude: 1500-2000 Meters
Varietals: Bourbon
Process: Wet Ferment, Soak, 14 Day Raised Bed Drying
Region: Kalihi, Southern Kivu

Now available at

Photo courtesy of Kickapoo Coffee.

Klatch Coffee – Papua New Guinea AAK Bros

Papua New Guinea is responsible for approximately 1% of world coffee production. This is an elegant and multifaceted bean that offers bright and sweet notes of lemon, orange and hazelnuts in aroma and cup.

Klatch CoffeePapua New Guinea AAK Bros

Papua New Guinea is responsible for approximately 1% of world coffee production. “Quality of coffee produced in Papua New Guinea has received a boost in recent times with emphasis on setting up wet factories supported by adequate checks and assurances of excellence through a testing process in well equipped laboratories,” according to Wikipedia and evidenced here.

This is an elegant and multifaceted bean that offers bright and sweet notes of lemon, orange and hazelnuts in aroma and cup. It has a light and creamy texture that can be enjoyed hot or iced.

If you thought PNG was a unique coffee origin, then you’re in for a doozy with this AAK lot. AAK is the umbrella organization tying together 3 coops across the Western and Eastern Highlands – Apo, Anga and Konga Cooperatives, each of the 3 words meaning “brother” in local languages.

In a country whose coffee growers are famously independent and who have not traditionally formed many cooperatives or producer organizations, AAK is a newly formed body introducing radical practices to improve coffee quality and livelihoods.

klatch-coffee-PAP_NEW_GUI_AAK_BRO-2Coffee is its main economic activity, but AAK is much more. Its self-described holistic approach includes activities ranging from financial planning, to banking (mobile payment partnership with BSP Bank), to gender equality, to health, to education. On the coffee front (that’s why you’re reading this, right?), AAK takes a very localized approach to organization and coffee quality. 81 “base camps” across member areas form as community centers.

Each base camp servers as a training center for quality growing and processing practices, and 59 (and growing) are outfitted with tool sheds where members can rent supplies for use on their farms. While rich in expertise and ideas, AAK has only recently been able to open its own washing stations. It currently manages 3 stations, each quite small but well staffed with knowledgeable machinists and coffee handlers. Each station serves a handful of nearby base camps (currently base camps not near a washing station home-process and deliver parchment).

REGION: Goroka
FARM: AAK Brothers Umbrella Cooperative
ALTITUDE: 1550 – 2100 M
FARMER: Apo, Anga and Konga Cooperatives
ROAST: Medium
NOTE: Wet Process

Now available at

Photos courtesy of Klatch Coffee.

Kickapoo Coffee – Ethiopia Hama Organic Special Prep

When we first visited the Hama Cooperative back in 2011, we were greeted by three adorable Ethiopian children. We’d tasted coffees from Hama previously and found them to present ‘classic’ Yirgacheffe characteristics: candied lemon, intense florality, and refreshing, citric acidity.


Kickapoo Coffee – Ethiopia Hama Special Prep

This coffee scored a 91 from Coffee Review!

Intensely floral and lush with notes of candied lemon and key lime pie. One of our top coffees of the year.

Notes of Lime, Spring Flowers & Candied Lemon

Altitude: 1800-2300 Meters
Varietals: Kudhume, Dega, Wolisho, Heirloom types
Process: Wet Ferment, Wash, Soak, African Raised Bed Drying
Region: Kochere, Gedeo

About The Growers
When we first visited the Hama Cooperative back in 2011, we were greeted by three adorable Ethiopian children. We’d tasted coffees from Hama previously and found them to present ‘classic’ Yirgacheffe characteristics: candied lemon, intense florality, and refreshing, citric acidity.

Three years later, Hama and other cooperatives within the Yirgacheffe Union umbrella are operating with a marked increase in sophistication. Most of the washed coffees that the Union puts out are grade 2, meaning that there are a good amount of defects. As of late, however, the Union has asked some of the larger producers to bring in strictly ripe cherry from the peak of the harvest to be kept separate from the standard lots.

We’ve tasted several of the special prep lots from washing stations all over Yirgacheffe including Biloya, Adamegorbota, Aramo, and Idido and have noticed a marked increase in quality by several points across the board.

This Hama lot is our absolute favorite of what we tasted from this year’s harvest and perhaps our favorite coffee that we will release all year. The intense florality, sparkly crispness, and candied lemon characteristics remind us of top Gesha lots, but for a fraction of the cost.

Now available at

*Photo courtesy of Kickapoo Coffee.

Toby’s Estate – Honduras La Escuela

We are proud to have Toby’s Estate as one of our newest roasters. In addition to great coffee, they have the farmer’s interest in mind as well. Earlier this year Toby’s Estate raised over $4,500 for La Escuela De La Piedrona during their Honduras Education Drive. Below is a large excerpt from the Toby’s Estate Blog.


We are proud to have Toby’s Estate as one of our newest roasters. In addition to great coffee, they have the farmer’s interest in mind as well. Earlier this year Toby’s Estate raised over $4,500 for La Escuela De La Piedrona during their Honduras Education Drive. Below is a large excerpt from the Toby’s Estate Blog.

We arrived with the plan to help seal and paint the cinder block school, and were able to spend the week helping to do so. But, while the Honduran government helps the school by supplying beans and corn flour for the children’s lunch, the school’s only storage room also had a leak in its roof. The silver lining to the current drought in Honduras is that reduced rains had meant less ruined food, but the structure still needed fixing. During our time painting, Moises helped to oversee a complete replacement of the roof, ensuring better weather-proof food storage.

Now, with the painting all done, the school looks like a brand new building, and the classrooms are a much brighter and better place to learn. There are also still funds available to help improve the school. Currently, the head teacher Allan Omar Pineda Vasquez is the only instructor in charge of six grades, sixty students, and two classrooms. The school will greatly benefit from having another educator so one teacher can remain dedicated to each classroom and the pressure on Allan is halved. Marysabel and Moises are excited to make this a reality and are helping to find a quality teacher.

The other major problem the students face involves their parents, who bear the burden of paying for all the books, uniforms and supplies their children will need. In poor, rural districts that responsibility can easily become overwhelming, so any leftover funds will be used to help subsidize the purchase of books and supplies for the school. We are excited to see the final results of this endeavor and to continue to find ways to work with and support La Escuela De La Piedrona.”

Well done and keep up the good work!

*Photo courtesy of Toby’s Estate.

Panther Coffee – Ethiopia Suke Quto

This impeccable Suke Quto microlot grows in the Guji Zone, the Southern part of the Oromia Region that borders the Sidama and Gedeo Zones.


Photo courtesy of Panther Coffee

Panther Coffee – Ethiopia Suke Quto

Light and refreshing. Notes of pineapple, mango,  blueberries, champagne grape, malted milk & cocoa powder.

This impeccable Suke Quto microlot grows in the Guji Zone, the Southern part of the Oromia Region that borders the Sidama and Gedeo Zones. The volcanic soil on the farm is highly nutrient. Generally, the soil is fertile, friable, and loamy with the depth of at least 2 meter. One outstanding characteristic of the soil is that its fertility is maintained by organic recycling through litter fall, root residue from perennial coffee and shade trees.

For processing the coffee they use an Agared machine to pulp the coffee without removing the mucilage. Then they ferment the coffee in tanks between 35-48 hours, depending on the climate. There are 3 treatment tanks for the waste water. Coffee in parchment is dried on elevated beds between 9 and 15 days.
The Suke Quto farm also has a nursery with coffee seedlings to provide the farm but also the outgrowers in the area. There are 9 permanent employees and about 250 seasonal workers. Suke Quto also buys from about 70 outgrowers. Each of them has about 7ha of coffee trees planted. Other crops that they grow are false banana and fruits.
Producer: Various Small Holders
Zone: Guji
Region: Oromia
Altitude: 1,800-1,930 m.a.s.l.
Latitude: 5°40’ N
Variety: Mixed Heirloom Varieties
Process: Washed
Now available at

Colombia Huila Jose Nolvis Rodriguez Finca El Mirador

Photo courtesy of  Cafe Imports

Victrola Coffee – Colombia Huila Jose Nolvis Rodriguez Finca El Mirador

Farm:  Mirador
Town:  Alto de los Pinos
Region: Pitalito, Huila
Elevation: 5250 ft
Process: Washed, Sun Dried
Varietals: Caturra
Producer: Jose Nolvis Rodriguez

Tasting Notes
Fragrance/Aroma: Cinnamon, Roasted Barley, Molasses
Flavor: Cinnamon, Molasses, Chocolate, Lime Leaves
Body: Buttery
Acidity: Bright

Roaster’s Notes
We are grateful for the opportunity to offer this exceptional micro lot from the Huila department of Colombia for the second time.  Producer Jose Nolvis Rodriguez consistently offers high quality, meticulously processed coffee and this year we found his samples particularly impressive.

Coffee from Finca El Mirador is washed processed and sun dried, as is the traditional process in Huila.  However, Mr. Rodriguez employs distinct techniques to ensure high quality, including a pre-wash 12 hours into the 24 hour fermentation period before washing the coffee and a 3 day pre-drying phase  before the coffees are moved to another drying bed where they receive more intense heat.  In the final stage before coffee is packaged for export, it is put through a sieve so that any small imperfections can be sorted out.

The result of this meticulous processing is a bright coffee with a buttery mouthfeel, cinnamon and roasted barley in the aroma, and spice, molasses, chocolate, and hints of lime leaves in the cup.

Now available at

Ethiopia Chelelektu – Coffea Roasterie

coffea-roasterie-ethiopia-chelelektu Photo courtesy of Coffea Roasterie.

This coffee comes from the Kochere region of Ethiopia, a subsection of the Gedeo zone, located south of Yirgacheffe. The Kochere zone has long been known for its incredible coffee. It is easy to produce amazing coffee when you have some of the best growing conditions in the world. High elevations and fertile soils combined with strict processing produce some of the best coffees you will ever taste.

This coffee came through the Ethiopian Commodity Exchange (ECX). Some words on ECX from

“The Ethiopia Commodity Exchange (ECX) is a new initiative for Ethiopia and the first of its kind in Africa. The vision of ECX is to revolutionize Ethiopia’s tradition bound agriculture through creating a new marketplace that serves all market actors, from farmers to traders to processors to exporters to consumers … ECX represents the future of Ethiopia, bringing integrity, security, and efficiency to the market. ECX creates opportunities for unparalleled growth in the commodity sector and linked industries, such as transport and logistics, banking and financial services, and others.”

Still, sourcing can be tricky through the Ethiopian Commodity Exchange. Traceability is becoming more transparent for roasters and buyers but it still remains a challenge. We worked with Royal Coffee Importers on this particular coffee.  This is one of our favorite coffees this year. We hope you enjoy it!

Region: Kochere, Ethiopia
Varietal: Heirloom
Process: Fully washed and dried on raised beds
Elevation: 1,850 – 2,000 masl

Now available at

Please leave your thoughts and comments below.

Sulawesi PT Toarco – Beansmith Coffee


Photos courtesy of Beansmith Coffee.

Coffee was introduced to Indonesia in 1699 and by 1711 was being exported to Europe. Indonesia, which includes Java of the famed “Mocha Java” blend featuring coffee from Yemen and Java, has an ideal geography for coffee plantations. The low acidity and strong body of Indonesian coffees makes them ideal for such blends.

The island group also produces unique micro-climates for the coffee. Sulawesi soil, for example, is rich in iron content which affects the coffee flavor.

Wikipedia describes Sulawesi coffees as, “… clean and sound in the cup. They generally display nutty or warm spice notes, like cinnamon or cardamom. Hints of black pepper are sometimes found. Their sweetness, as with most Indonesian coffees, is closely related to the body of the coffee. The after-taste coats the palate on the finish and is smooth and soft.”



Flavor: Transparent and citric with caramel, green grape and floral flavors.

Origin: TOARCO owns Pedamaran Plantation at 900 – 1250 masl and purchases wet-parchment (at 40% moisture) from small producers at 1200 – 1800 masl. Coffee is trucked to Pedamaran Plantation immediately and coffee gets dried on patios at their mill facilities. If a producer wants to sell their parchment coffee to TOARCO they need to get certified to their standards as far as selective-picking, storage, transportation, moisture levels, etc. Farmers are issued ID cards that allow them to sell their coffee at various purchasing points in the Tana Toraja region during the market of the week. This coffee comes from small producers at the higher altitude areas.

Now available at Emery Coffee.

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El Salvador Las Nubes courtesy of Passion House Coffee.

Passion House Coffee Roasters has joined Emery Coffee! We are pround to offer this fantastic Chicago roaster, winner of several cupping competitions. Buy the El Salvador Las Nubes while there is still time and check out their other coffees too.

The story of Las Nubes goes way back to 1920 when the land was purchased by Isidro Batlle & has continued on with his family farming the land since. This past year the family split the land into different tablones or lots & designated them by their altitude. These bourbon coffees were then processed by being fully washed & then sun dried.

About Passion House


Exploring Coffee


Passion House is a small batch roaster in Chicago, IL with the idea that coffee can be playful, while still being sophisticated, complex, and nuanced. We house a team of passionate and determined individuals who are as unique as the coffees we roast.


An Open Approach to Coffee

We’re here to provide an open approach to the world of specialty coffee. That is why we  took the time to create AME, our genre program.

Ambient: These simple beauties allow you to be either fully engaged in its subtle complexity or just gulp it down
Mainstream: You don’t need to be embarrassed because you love them, just sit back, relax, and enjoy the balance we expertly craft.
Experimental: These coffees push the boundaries of what you know coffee to be.


The Pursuit of Great Coffee


Finding unique coffee takes our search all over the globe to bring you a quality cup from truly special small lot focused farms. We support farmers that dedicate their time to the intense care that is needed to grow and process coffee with intricately developed flavor profiles that end up in your cup at home.


Please leave your thoughts and comments below.

FTO Ethiopian Gedeo Worka


Photo courtesy of Klatch Coffee.

One of our most popular coffee returns to Klatch! Our new crop offers an abundance of fine flavors from the birthplace of coffee. This is the bowl of berries we come to expect from a clean Ethiopian Natural. It’s composed of blueberries, blackberries, raspberries along with its additional notes of bing cherries and the unexpected tropical fruit nuances. Overall, the subtle hints of vanilla and slight cocoa powder hold the flavors together, providing a bright acidity within a creamy and juicy body.

Ethiopians are proud to claim coffee as having been first discovered growing wild in their majestic highlands. With the coffee ceremony foundation to their national culture, Ethiopians cherish coffee as both a drink which unites the nation, and a treasure to share with sharp coffee drinkers from every corner of the world.

Fed by fresh mountain water, and matured through ‘thirteen months’ of sunshine, the rich resonance and variety of the sundried coffees contrast with the delightful floral and aromatic flavors of the natural coffees to provide an unrivaled range of tastes, highly esteemed by many and fully loving up to their reputation as outstanding specialty coffee.

This coffee was sourced by Mike, earlier this year during his Ethiopian Cupping Caravan Trip. This caravan brought 24 international coffee buyers face to face with the people who grow some of the best coffee in the world. The cupping caravan was an exploratory trip designed to benefit coffee professionals on both ends of the chain, from farmers to roasters.

Coffee Reviewed scored Ethiopian Gedeo Worka 92 points, there blind assessment was stated as: “big, syrupy mouthfeel and a long, deeply resonant finish particularly distinguish this coffee, but the rich acidity is impressive too, as are the sweetly pungent aromatics: fir, dark chocolate, cherry, almond.”

Gedeo Worka was awarded with a Good Food Award Gold Seal in 2012. Nicknamed the “Oscars” of food, the Good Food Awards were created to honor food and drink producers who have demonstrated a commitment to building a ‘tasty,’ authentic, and responsible food system that honors farmers and producers.

VARIETAL: Heirloom
FARM: Worka
ALTITUDE: 1750 – 2400 M
FARMER: Co-ops
ROAST: Medium
NOTE: 92 pts by Coffeee Review, 2012 Good Food Award

Please leave your thoughts and comments below.

Tanzania Peaberry

Beansmith Tanzania Peaberry Coffee Beans

Photo courtesy of Beansmith Coffee.

Peaberry is one of those coffee words that everyone knows, but a surprising number of people don’t understand. It’s pretty simple really. Coffee beans usually come in pairs inside their cherry, but sometimes there’s only one bean and it soaks up all the lovely flavor from the cherry for itself and that’s a peaberry.

While peaberries occur naturally, they don’t end up all in one lot naturally. The discerning eyes of sorters must spot the smaller, rounder beans and pick them out by hand. The intense extra work for a 100% peaberry lot definitely shows up in the cup. The clean, sweet flavors of this coffee from Tanzania are a direct result of of it being a full-on peaberry lot. Enjoy! (We sure do.)

Please leave your thoughts and comments below.

Honduras Beneficio San Vicente

Photo courtesy Victrola Coffee.

In recent years Honduras has made great strides in bringing exceptional coffees to market. Transportation and processing issues, especially drying the parchment coffee have created challenges for a country that has all the right ingredients to produce great coffee. At the center of this shift is the Beneficio San Vicente coffee mill in the Santa Barbara region of western Honduras.

This past year, San Vicente provided producer Denis Teruel with the materials to build a solar dryer on his farm which allows the coffee to be dried much more quickly. The results of this relationship between farm and mill is evident in the cup quality.
Victrola’s Honduras displays impressive balance and sweetness in the cup. Chocolate, dark cherry and subtle orange are present in both the aroma and flavor. Upon cooling the coffee remains luscious, mellowing toward milk chocolate. The mouthfeel is pleasingly smooth throughout. Available online for $16.50 per 12oz package.
Tasting Notes
Fragrance/Aroma: Biscuit, Chocolate, Orange Rind, Cherry Liqueur
Flavor: Milk Chocolate, Candied Date, Dark Cherry, Banana
Body: Silky
Finish: Sweet
Acidity: Balanced, Crisp

Please leave your thoughts and comments below.

Ethiopia Yirgacheffe Kochere


As one of the most sought after coffees in the world, Ethiopian Yirgacheffe has a floral, sweet, and citrus flavor profile. In Ethiopia you still find coffee trees in the wild and growing at elevations above 6000 feet. Ripe coffee cherries, such as these from the Kochere District, are processed at local cooperatives. The combination of wild trees, harvested by small farms, at these extraordinary elevations produces an incredibly complex and desirable coffee experience. Photo courtesy of Victrola Coffee. Please leave your thoughts and comments below.

Colombia Giraldo Exotico


In the central northwestern part of Colombia, known as the coffee belt, coffee is produced year round with certain peaks. This coffee in grown high in the Andean mountains of Antioquia. Photo courtesy of Klatch Coffee. Please leave your thoughts and comments below.

Papua New Guinea

Photo courtesy of Beansmith Coffee.

Love the artwork from this roaster! Papua New Guinea, located just north of Australia, has been involved in coffee production since 1926 when the first Jamaican Blue Mountain Coffee seeds were planted. The coffee is produced without the use of synthetic fertilizers and pesticides due to cost and availability. This results in low levels of acidity and caffeine in a coffee known for full-bodied flavor with hints of mango and papaya. Please leave your thoughts and comments below.

Coffee Drying in Ethiopia.

dsc03944Ethiopia – birthplace of coffee. Coffea arabica originated there and still grows wild in some areas. Photo courtesy of Coffea Roasterie. Please leave your thoughts and comments below.

Coffee Cherries and Coffee Beans


Photo courtesy Did you know that the coffee bean we know and love is not a bean after all? Although similar in appearance to a member of the Leguminosae family, the coffee bean is really a seed. In the heart of a fruit, referred to as a coffee cherry, you will find what we commonly call coffee beans. Coffee cherries turn either bright red or purple when ready for harvesting.

Found in clusters along the tree branches, the skin, or exocarp, of a coffee cherry is bitter and thick. These are actually used with ginger to make another drink, qishr, that has been popular in Yemen for centuries. Underneath the the outer layer, the mesocarp has a grape texture and is extremely sweet. The parenchyma, a slimy protective layer, is followed by the endocarp. This forms an envelope around the bluish-green coffee beans that ave a final layer called the spermoderm.

Most often coffee cherries or berries have two seeds with their flat sides facing each other. In a very small percentage of coffee beans around the world (approximately 5%), the beans come with a single seed instead of the usual two. This natural mutation inside the coffee cherry results in what is called a peaberry. Peaberries are noticeably smaller and denser than normal coffee beans. While some say there is no taste difference, others claim they are sweeter and more flavorful.

Peaberries have to be hand sorted after picking and processing because there is no way to tell by looking at the coffee cherry if it will be a single bean or twins! Their exceptional taste and relative rarity command premium prices. But keep this in mind. If you are already buying great coffee from an award winning roaster and only 5% of all coffee beans are peaberries, you are likely drinking from the top 0.5% of coffee beans in the world! Not a bad way to start your day.

Please leave your thoughts and comments below.

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