In the last few weeks, we’ve been all over Central America where the harvest is in full swing. Aleco and Ryan were in Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador, seeing all our good buddies at this critical time for their farms. We’ve spent these weeks observing peak harvest throughout the region and are impressed with how each of our producers elevated quality, building upon last year’s lots.
El Injerto, El Puente and Montes De Oro are producing more memorable coffees than ever thanks to collaboration and improvements on the farm level. Since last year, El Puente constructed soaking tanks on site to enhance acidity after the washing stage. El Injerto is producing a ‘special prep’ Bourbon lot just for Stumptown and we are confident all you ‘Bourbon drinkers’ out there will notice the difference. As always, the second leg of the journey toward a phenomenal harvest involves endless cupping – wading through the hundreds of day lot samples to construct the best of the best among every farm we buy from. You may see some other folks offering coffee from these farms. It’s worth mentioning that the lots coming to Stumptown have been hand picked, thanks in no small part to the work of Jim, Javier and our Quality Control team.
Looking back at the last couple of months, whether spending a month straight in Colombia or a combined month in Ethiopia, we are in a critical moment to ensure our supply chains remain intact. It is easier than ever for farmers to deliver poor cherry in return for a good price. It is, simply put, a nerve-racking time, as world prices effect everything.
We have some amazing new projects in Ethiopia, particularly Western Ethiopia, where we are working with a non-profit funded by the Gates Foundation. They helped finance co-operatives in the west with processing equipment (small scale Penagos style machinery to alleviate the water-deprived areas). By using this type of equipment you save about 40% water. As a result, these folks are washing coffee for the first time ever. This is also the same place where Arabica coffee originated. We’ve spent weeks out there, making this one of Stumptown’s biggest projects at origin. As a result, we are sourcing some of the finest quality we have ever tasted out of Ethiopia (and the world).
In Kenya, as a result of the market, we are paying the highest prices we have ever seen in order to continue to get the gems from one of the world’s best coffee producing countries. Proudly, a lot of our work in Kenya has continued to pay off and we are “going back to the well” of our Direct Trade relationships. This spring you will see the return of some our long time favorites: Gaturiri, Ngunguru, Tegu, Gatomboya and Kangunu. We’ve spent so much time in Kenya this year, we took our partners Trevor and Autumn (one of our long time employees) to film the experience and work that goes into getting these coffees to you… See it here…