A farmer update by Tracey Ciro (Co-founder).
Good morning, Level Ground!
Hugo left Victoria on Tuesday. At some point early Sunday morning, while we were all still sleeping, he finally made it to the coffee growing region of Tanzania. Long trip!
I believe, this photo was taken at the Mlolow Coffee Processing Plant in Mbeya, Tanzania. These are the women who sort our Tanzanian coffee bean by bean by hand. (Please know, when I visited this plant, I asked about the women working on the floor. I was shown sorting tables and comfortable-looking (to my eyes) chairs. All unused. The women, it was explained to me, prefer to work on the floor! )
There must be some story to the shirt Hugo is wearing. I do not recognize it.
Hugo is off to visit farmers in Ileje today. It will be a bumpy 4-wheel drive that is hours long… (and way longer than the driver tells you it will be!). The road is red clay, if it has been dry, red mud if it has been raining. There is lush green vegetation on either side of the road, and steep cliffs on, at least, one side of the road. It is the kind of road you tell your mother about once you are safely back in Canada! ;)
Wishing you all a great day!
The following entry is cupping notes from the journal of Josh del Sol, Roastmaster, as written to Schluter, our African exporting partner. This is a SCQ cupping: a sample to confirm quality. When we SCQ cup, we sample 350g of coffee that represent a 40,000 lb container! The note is brief, but hopefully it can convey how excited we are about these samples!
Warning: There is a lot of nerdy coffee language below. Check out the glossary sidebar to understand some of the lingo!
July 29th, 2016.
We performed an in-house SCQ cupping and I must say that these two shipments are excellent. ETH-32 was a bit more biscuity and variable than ETH-33, but this variance is really only slight. I didn’t perform a full evaluation but I would estimate the ETH-32 at 85.5 and ETH-33 at 86 points. The balance was excellent, with pronounced fruit, extreme clarity and cleanliness throughout both cups, with the mouthfeel and finish of 33 pulling ahead of 32. I am looking forward to working with these lots this year. I really do feel that Fero Co-operative needs to know that the wash grade 2 we’re sourcing from them is wonderful.
So far, so good! The Ileje coffee that we are receiving this year really does rival the original lots from 2008-9 that pushed me to add it into our espresso. The coffee continues to press forward with a dominant navel-orange acidity, round mouthfeel, and subtle dark chocolate. We are still experiencing the occasional conflictive cup, but if you were to compare this year’s home process coffee to the CPU coffee during the “tough” years, I would say there’s very little difference. That isn’t to say that there still isn’t work to be done! The CPU coffee is quite consistent, but the home process coffee is more than drinkable… it’s darn good. I am so pleased and relieved to taste the development in these cups. I endeavour to communicate further as the coffee ages.
Nerdy Coffee Terms Glossary
CPU coffee - Central Processing Unit: Centralized facility that takes coffee cherries, strips the fruit off, and then sets it to ferment. Aids in cup quality as a homogenous cup can be achieved easier.
Home processed coffee: Coffee that has been turned from cherry into parchment at the farmer's home rather than a CPU - the equipment involved can vary considerably!
Parchment coffee: Named for the papery husk that’s on the outside of the coffee once the fruit has been stripped off, the seed has been fermented, washed, and then sun-dried. This is the way coffee comes to the mill before we order it.
Washed coffee: Coffee that has been run through a de-mucilage machine, soaked in a water bath, and then raked through water troughs before sun-drying.