This is the third harvest we’ve purchased from Elias Roa Parra’s Finca Tamana. His work with Tim Wendelboe is an outstanding model of the quality that occurs with improvements focused on fundamentals. Elias and Tim focus on crop nutrition, picking, harvesting, pulping, fermentation, and drying controls. Crop nutrition is the foundation of efficiency for farmers. Removing defects during picking increases the overall quality of the final lot. Defects can originate at the plant and contribute to loss of yield and diminished quality.
Harvesting and hand-sorting are the first human-controlled sorting phases in the process. Elias negotiated quality standards with the workers that live in the area to individually float the harvest and remove beans with visible color, ripeness, or pest defects. This is a meticulous addition to the process and requires a significant investment in labor to have it done well. Once this is completed, the next step is to remove the skin and pulp through pulping and fermentation. Both pulping and fermentation can contribute to diminish quality if not managed well, but if managed well it can be a source of improvement.
Elias maintains very clean equipment and fermentation tanks to manage consistency. Plus, he uses a fermentation and cleaning method where the coffee is fermented overnight and washed twice, improving the cleanliness of the coffee and cup. Drying is a preservation stage for storage and transport, but it is also a very important quality phase where temperature, humidity, and sun exposure can influence the stability and cup quality. Elias uses 50% shade to keep drying temps down.
Team taste notes: toffee, nougat, grape, apple, pear, brown spice
We’re excited to have a coffee from Cajamarca, Peru available again this year. We’ve featured many washed coffees from Cajamarca this time of year, and they’ve been among our favorite balanced coffees that do great on pour-over, auto-drip, and espresso. This year, we’re getting a little more transparency with our coffee. Around 400 farmers in Cajamarca make up the Aprocassi cooperative. This lot is made up of contributions from members around the San Ignacio subregion. We were extremely impressed with the quality and complexity of the lot.
Team taste notes: nutty, peach, plum, brown spice, floral, syrupy
Last year while researching Rwandan coffee, we came across Michigan State University’s African Great Lakes Project, which was established in 2000 and is still contributing to Rwandan agriculture. One of the researchers involved with this work is Ruth Ann Church of Artisan Coffee Importers.
Upon reading about Ruth’s work in Rwanda, an opportune connection was presented. A principle of Blueprint’s green buying vision is establishing the cost of production for producers. The variables and challenges to this principle are different for every country, and particularly difficult in Rwanda. The opportunity was to begin working with a knowledgeable researcher whose focus was on this exact issue. Ruth’s focus on cost of production and efficiency at the farm level motivated us to connect and learn more. Her work is focused on the economic sustainability of coffee farming when Lean management principles are applied. Lean at Origin is a program developed by Ruth specifically for coffee farming and processing that aims to maximize customer value while minimizing waste. Considering market influences are pushing farmers away from growing coffee while global demand is rising makes this an important focus – also a reason why we make it a focus with origin partnerships.
Kopakama cooperative began implementing Lean at Origin in 2016. The process takes 3 years to completely implement, but the results are beginning to show. Ejo Heza, a woman’s producer group that is part of the Kopakama cooperative, is one of the participants. “Ejo Heza” means “a better tomorrow” and Blueprint wants to support the efforts made by Artisan Coffee Importers and the women farmers responsible for growing and harvesting this coffee.
We are now into our second harvest from Ejo Heza. From this harvest, we have selected two lots. Lot 78 is the first and is bursting with sweet, fruit flavors. Additional, we have initiated a mutually beneficial partnership with the Ejo Heza growers group, the Kopakama co-op which they belong to, and Artisan Coffee Imports. The partnership spans four years. Just a few months ago, Ruth Ann Church of Artisan Coffee Imports kicked off the partnership by delivering a microscope so that Kopakama and Ejo Heza could begin soil assessments. Next year, a representative from Kopakama will participate in the “Building Soil Health” online training by Dr. Elaine Ingham and begin to apply soil restoration processes to demonstration plots at Kopacama and Ejo Heza. Years 3 and 4 will be centered around soil maintenance and application of Actively Aerated Compost Tea to the restored soil on the demonstration plots.
Team taste notes: apricot, peach, lemon, creamy, tropical, lemon, spice
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.
We could probably dub version 21 “origin legends” as the coffees both come from famous and long-established coffee producers. The majority of the blend is from Coopedota in Tarrazu, Costa Rica. Supplying some intense, fruity sweetness is a natural process coffee from the Koke station near Yirgacheffe, Ethiopia. Expect balanced sweetness, some subtle fruit, and big body.
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.
Blueprint Coffee is proudly powered by WordPress