Central America and Ethiopia Updates: June 30th

The Centrals: It’s June 30 and the Centrals are starting to come in en masse. You have already seen the Costa Rica micro-mill lots arriving, kicked off with the AMAZING wet-process Cafetalera Herbazu. Small lots of La Guaca Bourbon, La Yunta Organic and the award-winning Sin Limites have made for a full list of offerings right now. And more are on their tail, including the CoE winning Genesis. We have had the Guatemala Agua Tibia for several weeks and now comes quite a few new arrivals in the next week or so, including the spectacular Guatemala Gesha we have stocked the last 4 years, as well as Huehuetenango La Maravilla (we had it in ’05 and I have been trying to get it ever since) and a really interesting JBM cultivar lot from El Progresso state, Finca La Bella. El Salvador new crops are 10-14 days out, Matalapa Estate, and later we will have some micro-lots from Matalapa as well. Honduras new crop we have had for a while, and we have one more lot in the works as well as our CoE lot we split with Ritual coffee roasters. Panama La Berlina Organic has been in stock a week, and gosh, where is our vacuum packed Esmeralda Gesha from the auction. In transit, but arrival date unknown. Anyway, that’s a short rundown of where we are at today!
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Ethiopia: It’s June 30th and usually we would have incoming Ethiopia coffees arriving around now. In fact Harars have typically been arriving in March or so, much earlier than others. Sadly, the whole Ethiopia ECX boondoggle has turned an already chaotic system on it’s head, and hopefully it will be straightened out for next years crop. As for this year, I have finally been cupping some very nice DP coffees from Sidamo and Yirga Cheffe as well as Guji lately, and some from the West. We have some very promising lots “on the water” that had very nice samples in the pre-ship as well. So it’s not like there won’t be great Ethiopia coffees. They are just late, a little harder to find, and a few, if they went through the exchange, may not have the exact producer name attached, although they are identified by region and in some case subregions. One victim of all this seems to be Harars. I have only cupped 2 or 3 that made it to the US and they were, well, not the kind we buy, even when desperate. There was one with very nice body and good chocolate and positive earthy and herbal notes, but around 25% of the cups were musty; unacceptable! Musty goes beyond just a bad taste, I consider it a possible danger since it must originate in a mold or fungus … even if it is roasted at 450f and brewed at 195f, I wouldn’t trust it and I would sell it to anyone… so Harar is in Limbo. I will be a little surprised at this point if a good one materializes, because late shipments from the East are never good due to the storage conditions in Dire Dawa and shipping from Djibouti. 2009 might be the “Year of No Harar”. Too bad because we had this beautiful coffee all lined up from the Choma subregion, the raised bed project there, the one I went and photographed in February. We have some nice wet-process Yirga Cheffe lots on the water too, so no worries there, And in fact this late current crop Bonko wet process we have now has been a lifesaver. We also keep our secret stash of wet process Kochere that helps make a couple of our new Espresso Workshop blends so aromatic and sweet. And Misty Valley, ay, finally running out of stock. Farewell my friend, I have some fears that we might not see you in ’09 due to quality issues with that project (mainly linked to too-rapid expansion I think — havent you seen IMV offered all over, and has it been good? Not all of it. (We squirreled away our separated lot, but I cupped others that were, yawn… not what they should be…)
-Tom

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2 Responses to “Central America and Ethiopia Updates: June 30th”


  1. 1 Philosogeek

    “2009 might be the ‘Year of No Harar’.”

    NOOOoooo! I’ve been waiting for a quality Harar to be posted. Man, this exchange system really has me bummed :(

    “They are just late, a little harder to find, and a few, if they went through the exchange, may not have the exact producer name attached…”

    Does this mean that you have some coffees being shipped to you that didn’t go through the exchange? I have been stocking up and vacuum sealing all the pre-exchange Ethiopian beans I can, so I’m wondering if I have any others to look forward to :)

    -p

  2. 2 Thompson

    I think a “quality” Harar is a longshot this year. I could get a Harar, there are Harars out there, but quality, no. Yes, a few lots we have coming did not go through the exchange, in fact the majority of them. They were exempted either because they were from a cooperative Union or because they are sold from a farm that processes and exports their own coffee. So don’t despair, there will be nice coffees! Just probably not Harar.

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