The next step…
Long before CVC came into existence, we’ve been on the hunt for something much different than the same old Joe you find on the supermarket shelves, and indeed from other roasters - We still stick by our mantra of finding great coffees and sharing them through our little company with minimum fuss and maximum service.
Since our inception, we’ve provided some lovely and lesser know coffees but now want to dig even deeper and find the rarest and most exotic coffees we can. Not necessarily out of the way plantations in places you’ve never heard of, or big name ‘posh’ beans such as Jamaican Blue Mountain or Kona from Hawaii, but something a little different from the norm. (Quick tip - Don’t bother with JBM. A good quality and smooth Brazilian bean is 10x better and 10x cheaper)
So, the Gold Label range movement starts next week and we move towards what we are going to call “The Hallowed Ritual”. It’ll be ever expanding but we’ll keep it at four for the moment - We won’t leave our traditional range of coffees behind, this is just a concurrent path that we’ll dip in to when we find something extra special. These four coffees have taken us months to decide upon.
All the new coffees come with a hand written tasting card that you can either improve your coffee knowledge with, or impress your friends and family. A little extra on our part for you to enjoy some exotic brews.
Enough waffle - Let’s get to the important stuff:
Lets start with Burundi:
The coffee industry, like the political and economic situation in Burundi has gone through many changes since independence. Introduced by the Belgians, Burundi coffee has enjoyed periods of privatisation (free market) and government controlled. In the late 1970’s, the entire sector from production to export became state controlled. Today, much of the coffee is back in the hands of private individuals and “Sogestals” (Co Operatives). Most coffee is fully washed in its processing method, and thanks to substantial investment in research, the blight of ‘Potato’ cups is considerably less prevalent today, than it was 5 to 10 years ago. This consistency in quality is starting to put Burundi on the map of specialty coffee hunters looking for an alternative East African offering. Its high altitudes and good volcanic soils produce a sweet acidic and fruity cup, known throughout the east African region. Burundi’s next challenge is to smooth out the peaks and troughs of its bi-annual production cycle – further increasing consistency.
Our Burundi Kirema bean:
Kirema washing station follows a model similar to many – whilst some farmers can bring their coffee directly to the washing station, many rely on regional collection centres, placed to enable quick access to fresh coffee and then transport it to the washing station within a set time. Infrastructure plays a strong role in coffee quality in this set up, as does admin. Maintaining lot separation and traceability to ensure correct payment happily lends itself to microlot production and Kirema has excelled at that too.
In an area with a reputation for excellence, Kirema has placed in Cup of Excellence previously, in 2019 gaining a place in the top ten. Eight of those top 10 were from Kayanza, the region Kirema is found in.
Mibirizi is likely the oldest varietal to Burundi and Rwanda (according to World Coffee Research), though a lot of it’s origin story is less than clear. Recent genetic tests show it related to the Bourbon-Typica group, though naturalization and some breeding have occurred that may have led to slight variations throughout the two countries farms.
Similarly to Rwanda and Kenya, coffee in Burundi is fully washed; the beans are washed, pulped and rested, before a wet fermentation, wash and soak, with drying on raised beds. Tarpaulins rest nearby wrapped around sticks ready to unfurl at the start of rain!
Secondly, let’s look at what Guatemala as to offer.
The Guatemalan coffee industry is a formidable one. Producing coffees from areas in the volcanic mountain ranges such as Huehuetenango, Coban, Fraijanes and Antigua – Guatemala is as famous for its regional specials as it is for the SHB and HB grades it more commonly exports. A mixture of small holder farms and larger estates make up the mainly washed production of Guatemala. The coffee flavourings offer a wide range from Chocolate and cherries, to citric acidity, sweetness caramel and nuts. Often a favourite on the cupping table of green coffee traders, Guatemalan coffee offers the chance for huge complexity in the cup, and richness, body and mouthfeel, Guatemala really does offer it all. Producers in Guatemala are passionate and careful with their crop, and whilst local infrastructure may not always favour them, this does little to deter the determination for producing ever better cupping coffees year after year.
Our Guatemala Fedecocagua bean:
Fedecocagua is a secondary co-operative formed of 148 primary cooperatives, that is, coffee farmer-based organisations. This equates to around 20,000 members. These (the primary co-operatives) typically form to help provide access to agronomists, wet processing facilities, seedlings and microfinance support. Above them, and generally formed of members of primary co-operatives is a secondary co-operative, that works together to provide dry-milling facilities, greater quality control and the all-important access to a global customer base.
A regional ‘type’ coffee is a great way to work with a number of primary co-operatives to produce something that is distinctly regional in character yet with enough volume to ensure consistency year round. The QC team at Fedecocagua do the heavy lifting of cupping hundreds of samples before expertly blending and bagging ready for export.
Lastly, you might be looking at the picture below and thinking “But your Hallowed Ritual bundle will contain four coffees?! Where’s the other one?”
You’d be correct - We’re keeping the last one under wraps until the day we release it from the roaster and it’s ready to deliver. We believe we’re one of two companies in the UK that sell this extremely rare bean.
We can pretty much guarantee that you won’t have had this coffee, or anything like it, ever before. Keep your eyes peeled and your espresso machine poised!