We are completing our second harvest, but our third year of working with Finca Esperanza. Ana Vizcaino, the heart and soul of the farm, is constantly working with her staff to ensure everything is managed properly. She is also closely involved with the training and development of her staff. Ana has taken a highly poisoned soil – from years of pesticide, herbicide and fertilizer use – and transformed Finca Esperanza into not only an organic farm, but a farm that is restorative to the environment.
Our collaborative projects have included compost work, coffee processing assistance, and a sustainably designed drying house. The compost project is intended to address CLR (coffee leaf rust) and soil nutrition by restoring soil microbiology. We started this work at a time when the research on the subject was still in its infancy. The research is quickly becoming mainstream and also absolutely necessary in the efforts to slow global warming. The processing collaboration using yeast assisted in understanding the principles of fermentation before the farm built their own beneficio to ferment and process their own coffee. Now, we are partnering to address the difficulty of drying in a humid climate.
Preparing naturals can be a controversial subject, but it is an important learning tool for specialty coffee growers. Naturals take longer to dry and require more labor, which can be very difficult to manage during a hectic harvest season within a humid climate. So why do it? Well, that is a complicated question. Naturals are one offering in a specialty coffee farmer’s “line-up.” A coffee farm is a business that must innovate and learn in order to improve and begin to break into a market. Access to market is the final and most important step for any coffee farmer. There is very little incentive to work towards a specialty quality unless there is confidence that the coffee will reach a market that values the additional work and taste quality. Blueprint Coffee is guaranteeing the access to market by committing to purchase of the coffee and assisting Finca Esperanza in successfully expanding their product offering.
Aside from adding diversity to a farmer’s “line-up,” natural process coffees do not require the water used in the washed process and they do not leave the farmer with the spent pulp to pollute the watershed of their area. The subject of pulp processing has become an important aspect of our work with farmers in general. You will be hearing more in 2019 about how we are trying to engage with coffee pulp rotting during harvest that contributes to the degradation of soils and the watershed. For now, please enjoy the result of the hard work and dedication from the people at Finca Esperanza.
Team taste notes: blackberry, dense, chardonnay, fudge, custard, cherry
We are craftspeople dedicated to exhibiting the qualities of one of the most flavorful beverages in the world. What we attempt to create and construct are flavor experiences that are balanced, intoxicating, and special. While our single origin offerings exhibit qualities that are delicious and complete by themselves, blending can create something unique that none of our coffees offer by themselves. We are inspired by French wine and cocktails like the Sazerac. By adding a small amount of five quality ingredients (sugar, bitters, lemon, absinthe, ice), a serving of perfectly good whiskey becomes a different, yet delicious, taste experience than that offered by any neat pour.
We are excited to offer Tektōn as a compliment to our single origin offerings. It matches the integrity of those offerings by remaining a seasonal coffee with a transparent supply chain. We embrace the future insight and taste experiences Tektōn will provide.
Coffees from Papua New Guinea have been among the most complex and interesting we’ve sourced since opening in 2013. While timing this year hasn’t led to featuring a Papua New Guinea coffee for a single origin spot (at least not yet), we were excited to taste some coffees that would work for Tektōn. Forty percent of this version of Tektōn is grown by small-holders of the Tsekaka people near Banz, Jiwaka in Papua New Guinea. Its citrusy, earthy, and savory qualities add a nice dynamic to the blend. The remaining 60% of the blend is made up of our San Pedro Necta lot from Huehuetenango, Guatemala. Its pie-crust and brown sugar qualities provide a solid platform and roundness to the cup.
Team taste notes: brown sugar, brown spice, black tea, malt, cherry, berries
PENROSE (named after the triangle) is our “house” espresso. We feel the perfect espresso is an impossible goal, but we still strive to create it. PENROSE is our ever-updated offering in the quest for the perfect espresso. While the seasonal components at times may be single-origin, and at others a blend, it is always perfect for your hopper.
PENROSE also does well in the brewer – look for notes of lasting sweetness and heavy body, with a subdued acidity.
The 20th version of Penrose presents a 100% washed blend of Huila, Colombia and Allona, Ethiopia. Washed coffees from Huila have frequently filled our offering sheet over the last few years. Allona, Ethiopia has been a recent highlight as a single origin, and we’re excited to be able to offer it as a blend component in this espresso.
Team taste notes: brown sugar, cocoa, orange, stone fruit
Decaf EA Cauca is from the southwestern region of Cauca, Colombia. It is washed and milled at Centra Cooperativa Indigena del Cauca. They are a Fair Trade certified cooperative that works with farmers in Cauca and beyond.
The coffee is decaffeinated in Colombia as well at the Descafecol plant using ethyl acetate derived from locally-grown sugarcane.
Team taste notes: graham, molasses, brown spice, strawberry, apple, applewood
InterAmerican describes the EA decaf process done at Descafecol quite well:
Descafecol is the only decaffeination plant in the Andean region of Colombia. The plant relies entirely on the pure water from the Navado el Ruis (a snow-capped volcano on the border of the departments of Caldas and Tolima) and natural ethyl acetate from sugar cane plants in Palmira, Colombia.
Ethyl acetate is an organic compound (C4H8O2) with a sweet smell—it’s created during fermentation and contributes to what’s often described as the “fruitiness” in a young wine.
At Descafecol, the decaffeination process begins with steaming the green coffee at a very low pressure to remove the silver skins. The beans are then moistened with hot water, which causes them to swell and soften
and begins the hydrolysis of the caffeine, which is bonded to salts of
chlorogenic acid. (Hydrolysis refers water interacting with a compound and causing it to loosen from other particles.)
The ethyl acetate solvent is then circulated through the beans multiple times until at least 97 percent of the caffeine is removed. A low-pressure, saturated steam is then applied to remove any last traces of the ethyl
acetate, and finally the coffee is vacuum-dried in drums to remove any water and bring the final moisture level to between 10 and 12 percent.
The coffee is cooled to ambient temperature with fans and then polished with carnauba wax to protect it against humidity. Ultimately, no more than 5 ppm of ethyl acetate is left in the coffee, and once the coffee is roasted, there is no trace of it at all.
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