We recently purchased a variety pack of the Angelino’s Coffee K-cups and absolutely loved these. The assortment was fantastic, the flavors tasted absolutely fresh, and the flavored coffees especially the Maple Glaze flavor was fantastic. Check them out Angelinos.com
Café d’Epoca recently launched its website that revolves around personalization and coffee discovery. You take a simple 6 question profile assessment quiz and it designates your flavor profile type. It then recommends which Profile Coffee type you should drink and associated origin coffees that match your flavor type.
It’s fun, beautiful and interesting. Take a look here, Cafedepoca.com
Nicaragua is a land of lakes, volcanoes, and delicious coffee. More than 40,000 coffee farms, run by families, are spread throughout the country where this tiny bean plays a big role in the Nicaraguan economy. Over 45,334 families are directly supported by coffee cultivation today in Nicaragua, which is important in a country that is currently experiencing about a 50% unemployment rate.
Coffee arrived in the country in the mid 1800′s, where its first coffee cherries were planted on the Pacific’s plain mesa. However, coffee is actually grown in three different regions within Nicaragua’s Central northern mountains. These regions include the Segovias, whose coffee is known for it’s bright acidity and floral aroma, and the Metagalpa and Jinotega regions, which are known for a very distinctly flavored coffee. The volcanic soils, lush greenery, and humid tropical climate all contribute to coffee thriving here.
95% of coffee here is shade grown, which means these farmers cultivate their coffee under the canopy of local trees. The trees, along with the farmers management and practices help maintain a sensitive ecosystem, including water and soil conservation.
When the coffee prices crashed between 1999 and 2003, many farmers were deeply impacted due to lower prices being paid. This crises was made even worse by the droughts experienced in the country between 1999 and 2001. During this time, many farmers had to simultaneously grow mangos, yuccas, and bananas to survive the impact.
The crisis was in effect saved by the Fair Trade co-ops, which led to land being distributed to farming families. At a later point, many of these co-ops used Fair Trade premium pricing to help reinvest in their co-ops and help create social programs for their members. These social programs improved quality control, employed their members, and even cut down on production costs. Several of these co-ops were even able to build their own processing plants.
Good coffee’s in Nicaragua fall into the “classic cup” category, which means they have a good body, very clean flavor, and are very balanced. They tend to have a medium intensity, and a syrupy consistency.
Key Nicaragua Coffee Profile Notes
Varietals: Typica, Bourbon, Maragogype, Caturra, Pacas
Grow Regions: Segovias, Metagalpa and Jinotega
General Cup Profile: “classic cup”
If you’re looking for a way to give back, and see how your consumer choices impact farmers, EarthWatch Institute is offering a unique opportunity in Costa Rica. Sign up to join them for an 8 day trip to work beside local farmers at Coope Tarrazu and help them create better coffee farms that help the environment and surrounding communities.
Coope Tarrazu is located in a small town, San Marcos de Tarrazu, and is currently the largest employer in the area with about 2,600 members, 20% of whom are women. The families and farmers in this community have been growing coffee for generations, and this is an exciting opportunity to work side by side with them. While there, you’ll work with researchers as well to help collect data to represent soil conditions, shade tree coverage, erosion, resistance to pests, plant yield, and much more. You will also have an opportunity to use GIS technology to map the biodiversity in the region in order to help determine the farm’s sustainability. This date will then be shared with the co-op. Your help and research will not be just limited to this farm, however. You will actually have an opportunity to visit and interact with other small farms, as well as visit a local coffee processing plant and participate in an official coffee cupping.
During your trip, you will have accommodations at the Cabinas de Cecilia inside the town of Santa Maria. Various restaurants, shops, and an internet cafe are located within the town. The cabins in which you’ll stay have a rustic charm and standard accomodations: bed, toilet, sink. There is also a common area for all guests to enjoy, and breakfast is served on-site. Laundry services are available for an additional fee. The minimum contribution required to participate on this trip is $1,875.
If you’re looking for a way to give back to our international community, this is a great way to do it. Not only will you meet wonderful farmers, their families, and other volunteers, but you have the chance to see Costa Rica in all its natural beauty.
There’s a lot more to Colombian coffee than the icon Juan Valdez – the beloved and famous fictional character that appeared in National Federation of Coffee Growers of Colombia advertisements since the 1958. Colombia has a deeply entrenched history with coffee.
The first coffee crops in Colombia can be traced back to the year 1730 after the Jesuits brought coffee seeds to South America. However, there are some that say tradition speaks of a traveler from Guyana who passed through Colombia on his way to Venezuela, introducing coffee during his travels.
The first Colombian coffee crops were planted in the eastern part of the country, and the first commercial production of coffee was registered in 1835. When coffee began to be cultivated in the northeastern part of Colombia, credit was attributed to a local priest, Francisco Romero, who required a penance of coffee cultivation after hearing a confession from residents of the town of Salazar de la Palmas in the northeast region. Coffee then became established in the departments of Santander and North Santander, Cundinamarca, Antioquia, and Caldas.
While coffee was cultivated early on in Colombia, it did not become an export until the latter part of the 19th century when the US and other countries began showing interest in the coffee industry there. Large coffee plantations began popping up as Colombian land owners tried to take advantage of this interest. However, the Thousand Days War had a negative influence on landowners and their ability to maintain plantations in good conditions during that time. As an effect of plantation owners attempting to further develop their plantations they became further in debt, and eventually financially ruined. With the ruin of the large estates, however, came one of the biggest changes in the history of Colombian coffee. Small coffee producers began to increase in numbers, and cultivation began to spread to other regions, such as Santander, Antioguia, Viejo, and Old Caldas. These two changed, the collapse of the large coffee estates and the spread of smaller coffee farms, helped lead the expansion of the coffee industry in the country.
Today, Colombian coffee is recognized worldwide as having a very high quality and distinctive taste. It is even a protected designation of origin under the European Union. A good cup of coffee can have a medium to bold intensity, with a complex sweetness, and a rounded fruity profile and creamy body.
Coffee production has declined recently from an average of 12 million 132 pound bags to 9 million bags due to regional climate change and temperature increase.
Key Colombia Coffee Profile Notes
Grow Regions: Santander and North Santander, Cundinamarca, Antioquia, and Caldas
General Cup Profile: medim to strong body, creamy, sweet, fruity
In the early 19th century coffee was first introduced to Ecuador, where it remained it’s largest export crop up until the 1970′s. After the 1970′s and continuing through today, oil, shrimp, and bananas have become Ecuador’s main exports. Today, Ecuador accounts for less that 1% of the world’s coffee production as the amount of land in cultivation and crops going unharvested began rising in the 1980′s. The decline in the coffee industry became especially sharp for Ecuador in 1997, when coffee production decreased sharply and pricing dropped – thus becoming unprofitable for many farmer to continue with. However, there are still about half a million people that rely still on coffee production as its main profit, and unfortunately the life of a coffee farmer in Ecuador currently is often a life of poverty and leads to farm abandonment and the families relocating, often to Spain, Italy, or the US in search of other sources of income.
Unfortunately, Ecuador has not received a lot of help in the failing coffee farms. Coffee farms only yield about 5-6 quintales per hectare per year, which is about half of what other countries yield per some land area. The government of Ecuador did support the formation of the National Coffee Council and imposed a 2% surcharge on all coffee exports, however farmers have attested that they have seen little if any extra cash flow from this. The National Coffee Council has not been known to act on its mission statements as of yet and provide support in training, technology, or agriculture – assistance that is greatly needed in order for coffee production to move forward in Ecuador. Some have even said that The National Coffee Council has even contributed to the further decline of the industry by focusing more on coffee brokering than helping coffee cultivation and small farmers.
Ecuador has all the right ingredients for coffee cultivation – high elevation from mountain ranges between Columbia and Peru, good weather patterns, and ideal soil. Arabica, Robusta, and Typica are the varietals grown on the small farms. It’s common for coffee from Ecuador to have defects, not necessarily from the growth process, but from the processing methods, i.e. coffee that is sun drying being rained upon, old or badly adjusted mill equipment, or over-fermentation during the milling process. However, a good cup of Ecuador coffee can have a medium to bold intensity presented, a clean and crisp flavor, and have citrus, tea, and cocoa notes.
Key Ecuador Coffee Profile Notes
Varietals: Arabica, Typica, Robusta
Grow Regions: western foothills of the Andes south of Guayaquil, and in the hilly areas of coastal Manabí Province
General Cup Profile: medim to strong body, clean, cocoa, citrus, tea notes
Once a coffee tree is ready for harvest and the cherries are picked, you may have wondered what happens between then and your coffee cup. Coffee can actually go through one of three different processing methods before it’s roasted, ground, and brewed for your enjoyment. The method’s used will vary from country to country and region to region. Here’s an easy description of these methods.
In this process, the ripe cherries are immersed in water, where the bad or unripe cherries will float, and the ripe and usable cherries will sink to the bottom. The good cherries are then put through a pulping machine to have the skin and some of the pulp removed. Afterwards, the cherry will still have an amount of pulp stuck to it, which is then either removed by a ferment and wash method or aquapulping or mechanical demucilaging. The cherries are then put through a sun-drying stage, or machine drying stage, before they go through the last process of ‘hulling’, where the outside parchment is removed.
During the dry process, which can also be referred to as ‘natural’ or ‘unwashed’ coffee, the entire cherry is cleaned after harvest and then placed directly in the sun to dry. This is actually the oldest method of coffee processing. As the cherries lay in the sun to dry, they are raked often in order to ensure even drying. Once the drying process is complete, they then go through the hulling process to have the outer skin removed. This is still the most popular method of processing to this day.
The semi-dry process is a relatively newer process that is now being used in parts of Indonesia and Brazil. The skin is first removed from the cherries mechanically, then the beans along with their left over mucilage are stored for a day until the mucilage is easier to wash off. The coffee is then partially dried in the sun, not fully.