The Inga community is one of many native communities living in remote regions of Colombia. From 1990 to the early 2000’s, they found themselves victims of atrocities inflicted by guerilla forces seeking the financial benefit from the trade of cocaine and heroin. The guerilla groups took over banks and infrastructure in their communities and forced the growth of these illegal crops. Colombians, in general, were afraid to travel freely in many parts of the country, but the southwestern portion of the country was particularly bad. Around this time, kidnapping and extortion by guerillas were rampant. This left the remote indigenous communities like the Inga in Nariño out of reach of anyone to help.
Persident Álvaro Uribe Vélez,following up on a series of incremental changes and failed peace treaties that occurred over many previous administrations, was able to establish the Democratic security and Defense Policies. These new policies opened the doors, and roads, to make travel and commerce safe for Colombian citizens. This was a major change in the security in the remote regions, like Nariño, where indigenous communities did not have the government support and protection. In the early 2000’s, the Colombian and the United States governments established the Buffer Zone Program, which helped transition crops, establish security, improve agricultural practices, and restore indigenous cultural knowledge and practices.
Right about now you might be asking, “Why the history lesson?” Well, this safety and security can be taken for granted. These security and stability changes have a significant impact on the people of those communities. That security and stability brings income into these communities, builds schools, restores government, and restores infrastructure that help to promote a healthy community. So what is in your cup? It’s a little overwhelming to think about everything that went into this coffee and what it took to get it to St. Louis. This inspires and motivates us at Blueprint Coffee to keep improving and forming relationships with the communities that produce our coffee.
Team taste notes: molasses, cocoa, prune, raisin, earth, strawberry
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.
In 2016, our green coffee buyer, Andrew Timko, traveled to Colombia to do some hands-on training and application of his studies in Actively Aerated Compost Tea. He did this at Finca Tamana, owned by Elias Roa. There, he was able to learn more about making great compost with Elias and his pal Tim Wendelboe, who has done an extensive amount of work with Elias and now owns the neighboring farm, Finca El Suelo.
Elias is an extremely dedicated and smart producer. He’s aware of threats to the environmental and financial stability of his farm. We definitely look up to him and hope to share what we learned at Tamana with many of our origin partners. We are happy to once again offer coffee from Finca Tamana.
Team taste notes: toffee, nougat, grape, apple, pear, brown spice
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