Our collaboration with the Vizcaino Family at Finca Esperanza in Guatemala continues to yield awesome results. This washed lot of Catuai starts off the 2019 harvests. During the 24-hour soaking stage, added CIMA yeast controls the microbial consumption of coffee fruit. This step originated during our 2016 yeast trials at Esperanza.
Writing about Finca Esperanza can feel repetitive as Blueprint enters into our fourth year buying coffee from the Vizcaino’s. Considering we frequently purchase multiple lots each year, their story is familiar to a lot of our customers. However, it’s a good moment to reflect upon the fruits of our partnership. Ana and her crew at Esperanza have been fearless and energetic in confronting the challenges of organic farming.
What we have experienced is a wonderful friendship and partnership maturing out of our work together. Nonetheless, there have been struggles and successes. The goal of Blueprint’s approach is that we work to help build a stronger partnership out of the struggles. Therefore, the love and mutual respect we have for each other is what we’d consider our greatest outcome.
We’re impressed with the continued focus on organic coffee by Ana and her crew. This focus continues despite pressure from Coffee Leaf Rust, unpredictable and extreme weather conditions, and opinionated coffee roasters.
Blueprint Coffee has supported their organic farming efforts through soil health and compost training. As Esperanza sought to control their processing, we helped them through the construction of their new mill, “Beneficio Don Chilo.” We also supported the design and training of their new solar drying house. Finally, this harvest is the first full harvest without learning how to manage the new mill and solar drying house. With this perspective, enjoy the new fruits of our now budding collaboration.
Team taste notes: graham, orange, brown spice, brown sugar, molasses, maple, nougat
Around 20 coffee farmers contribute to this coffee, which grows on the slopes of the Cordillera Isabelia mountain range in Nicaragua. The combination of their efforts creates a sweet & creamy cup of coffee. Then, after cooling slightly, subtle tones of brown sugar, cocoa, and apple present themselves. This Nicaraguan coffee easily pleases a wide audience of coffee lovers with its comforting flavors. Cordillera Isabelia transitions the drinker into flavors matching the cooling weather.
At Blueprint, we source little Nicaraguan coffee. Of course, this speaks not to our views on the potential of the country. Instead, our Central American sourcing focuses more closely on relationships in Guatemala and El Salvador. However, a small gap in our relationship coffee offerings opened and this lot from Cordillera Isabelia in Nicaragua earned its spot by way of a few round of cupping.
Every coffee growing country has a long and distinct history. This history frequently has a character in the coffee. Strange, right? But, it makes sense when applied to any agricultural commodity. Weather, financial crises, and government interventions all affect the success of a coffee based economy. In 1998, a combination of a 30-year low in coffee prices and Hurricane Mitch lead to catastrophic economic conditions for Nicaraguan coffee farmers. In the following year, Nicaragua lost 50% of its export earnings to loss from the hurricane. According to research, an estimated 500-3000 farmers succumbed to foreclosure. Nicaraguan farmers lost the ability to reinvest into the following harvest. Additionally, this caused future losses in yield and quality. No government intervention existed to assist affected farmers.
During this period, Fair Trade certification was being established. It became the needed safety net for many struggling coffee farmers. In short, Fair Trade certification helped stabilize and restore Nicaragua’s coffee sector.
The impact of the coffee crisis has had long lasting effects in Nicaragua requiring well-intentioned leaders in the coffee industry to assist in their recovery. One of these actors is importer Caravela. They established their PECA program in Nicaragua to help the farmers continue to improve and sustain themselves. Two decades later, farmers still need support and good partners to make coffee farming economically sustainable.
brown sugar, creamy, cocoa, apple, caramel, nougat, mixed nuts, grapefruit
The seasonal and transparent coffee blend, Tektōn, chases a difficult goal – highlighting complexity while being approachable. Tektōn satisfies the novice or experienced coffee lover. Regular coffee changes throughout the year maintain balance and seasonality.
We commit ourselves to exhibiting the qualities of one of the most flavorful beverages in the world. To do so, we create and construct balanced, intoxicating, and special flavor experiences. Our single origin offerings are delicious and complete by themselves, but blending creates something new and unique. French wine and cocktails, like the Sazerac, guide us. By adding a small amount of five ingredients (sugar, bitters, lemon, absinthe, ice), a serving of whiskey becomes a new experience. This is a different, yet delicious, taste experience than that offered by any neat pour.
Tektōn, a seasonal coffee blend, compliments 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.
Version 17 blends two sweet coffees that are quite different from one another. Cordillera Isabelia from Nicaragua contributes sweet, nutty, brown sugar notes. Then, Worka – Legese Lemiso from Ethiopia brings the fruity and floral sweetness. Together, the coffees combine to create an experience not too different than fruity baked goods.
brown sugar, nutty, molasses, lemon, lime, blueberry
Consistent sourcing, focused innovation, and excellent decaffeination combine to bring sweetness, spice, and a little something nice to this cup of Peruvian Coffee. Coffees from Peru’s northern region of Peru often feature smooth sweetness, and this coffee delivers those regional qualities in loads.
We first offered Decaf Cajamarca, Peru from Lima Coffee in 2018. Before that, we also offered a similar caffeinated lot in late 2017/early 2018. Now, we again offer the decaffeinated version. This time around, Café Imports sent the coffee to the decaffeination facility in Cauca, Colombia that employs Ethyl Acetate decaffeination. The solvent is derived from locally grown sugarcane and proves to be our preferred method of decaffeination.
Café Imports, our importing partner, has foreseen the potential of Peru – specifically the northern region of Cajamarca. Peiro Cristani, Café Imports Senior Green Buyer, and Rony Lavan of Lima Coffee Exporting have been working with farmers to improve quality protocols and establish a micro-lot program in Cajamarca. With this investment and support, they acheived some dramatic quality improvements. Specifically, dominating the first Cup of Excellence (COE) in Peru with coffees from Cajamarca.
Around 400 smallholder farms in Cajamarca, Peru contribute to this decaf coffee. They benefit from the investment and development provided by Café Imports and Lima Coffee. A significant change in the process is incentivizing the delivery of cherry to a mill. Usually, farmers in Peru dry their coffee at the farm. Encouraging the farmers to deliver cherry allows the mill to manage the drying and sorting of the harvest. As a result, the overall quality improves. This coffee testifies to the innovation and collaboration that is a result of Café Imports’ work in Cajamarca.
Peruvian coffee is evolving. When reflecting on the source of this quality-evolution a few words come to mind: awareness, innovation and collaboration. Quality improvements like picking, sorting and better milling protocol never stick if farmers do not embrace them. Moreover, without the support of dedicated collaborators, finding buyers to support improvements may be impossible. It might be surprising to some, but most farmers aren’t aware of the growing and evolving specialty coffee market around the world. Loosely defined, specialty coffee is any coffee that scores 84+ points using an SCA cupping form by a certified Q-grader.
Awareness of this market is just the beginning, usually requiring a collaborator to connect to the market. This collaborator helps establish the improvements that garner better quality and higher prices. Innovation must be connected to investment to occur. This can be human investment, like consultation and training, or a financial investment in materials to establish the project. Additionally, pre-financing to support better practices, like ripe picking, is essential.
brown sugar, chocolate, nut, spices
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