Hey everyone, my name is Nick and I roast and source coffee for Utopian. As we reach the end of April, we’re beginning to gear up for a set of new coffees joining our subscription. For those of you who are new to our subscription, I want to give you a quick rundown on what to expect:

Interested? Check out our subscription here.

Let’s check out what coffees we’ll be sending out this next month!

Peru Laurel Bag

Peru – Laurel Community Lot

This coffee in particular has me really excited! Peru has long gone overlooked in specialty coffee, but more recently this country has garnered a lot of attention because of the potential for really outstanding flavors. Many of these unique flavors stem from the extraordinarily high elevations of Peruvian coffees. This lot in particular comes from a small community called Laurel in the La Coipa, San Ignacio region of Peru. This small community of coffee farmers have worked hard to focus on improving quality standards and with the help of our sourcing partners at Origin Coffee Lab they’ve seen a massive increase in quality over just the last couple years.

This coffee is tasting extraordinarily fresh! Harvested in the fall of 2019, this coffee display flavor characteristics reminiscent of cranberry and toffee, with a refined sugary-sweetness that’s sure to brighten your morning routine!

Impact: Co-operative partner built a health facility in a hard to reach area as a result of specialty premiums we paid! 

Additional Information:

Processing – Fully Washed and Fermented 12-24 hours

Varieties – Catimor, Bourbon, Pache, Caturra

Harvest – Fall 2019 with drying finished in November

Farmers – Single-Village Lot comprised of about 10 family farms – each farm oversees about 2 hectares (approx. 5 acres)

Altitude – 1600-1800 Meters Above Sea Level resulting in delicate and well-toned flavors

 

 

Burundi –  Ngogomo  Central Washing Station

The second coffee you’ll receive in April will be hailing from the country of Burundi, a relatively small country tucked in the heart of East Africa. Like Peru, Burundi was relatively overlooked coffee-producing nation, but they’ve received more and more attention as quality in general has increased. Burundi has everything necessary to produce high-quality coffee, including cool temperatures, high elevations, and interesting micro-climates which create various flavor profiles throughout the nation. This lot in particular comes from Ngogomo Central Washing Station (CWS).

This brings up an important but complex topic – where do coffees get their names from? As you can see, the Laurel coffee from Peru got its name from the village associated with it, whereas this Burundi coffee gets its name from the washing station (aka the place where the coffee was processed). The washing station is where all the local coffee-farmers will bring their cherries to be processed, and in return collect their payment. Higher pay is given to the farmers who selectively pick only the ripest cherries, which end up making for the best-tasting cups of coffee.

This coffee has distinct flavor tones of raisin and raspberry, with a finish similar to brown sugar. The exceptional sorting and processing of this coffee leaves your tongue with plenty of sugary-sweetness and an almost jam-like juiciness. 

Impact: A farmer-focused community processing station saves time for producers and pays out above average prices.

Additional Information: 

Processing – Fully Washed and Fermented 10-12 hours

Varieties – Single Variety Red Bourbon (originally planted over a hundred years ago)

Harvest – Summer 2019

Farmers – The ripest cherries were selected from among the 1802 farmers who work with the Ngogomo CWS

Altitude – 1500-1800 Meters Above Sea Level

Dialoguing about coffee harvest in Pajal

Colombia – Mireya Espinosa

For the last several years Utopian has focused in on a single community near the village of Miranda, located in Cauca, Colombia. The farmers here previously grew coca which was used to make cocaine. Without going into too many details, this situation was largely terrible for the farmers – the coca did not pay well, since their primary customer was the FARC, a rebel group who basically extorted the coca from the farmers and paid them very little. Eventually, members of the community began to convert their farms from coca to coffee cultivation, but even after this the farmers struggled to find people who were interested in their coffee. Quality was rough, and most roasting companies were not interested in making any initial investment with the farmers to see quality improve…

Breaking the cycle, Utopian stepped in and committed to helping these farmers every step of the way because we believed (and still believe!) specialty coffee will help improve the lives of each and every farmer.

We’ve partnered with this community of new coffee-farmers to help pay them fair wages, invest in agricultural inputs,  and support them every step of the way. Additionally, we’ve raised money to help convert more farms from coca to coffee with the intention of purchasing the coffee as soon as it’s available. This year we were able to purchase the vast majority of the coffee the entire community produced, and this next year we’re going to be taking even more! Until then, we’re going to begin releasing some of the single-farmer lots we separated this past year. For a farmer to have their coffee separated from the larger-community blend their lot must have met strict criteria in regard to quality and we believe Mireya’s coffee is among the best.

In the cup, we’re tasting lemon and lime, with a finish that mixes dark red fruits with cane sugar sweetness. This coffee is exceptionally bright and lively and makes for a truly one-of-a-kind drinking experience! 

Impact: Providing stable income for the Espinosa family as they transition from growing coca to coffee.

Additional Information:

Processing – Fully Washed and Fermented for 12 hours

Varieties – Single Variety Castillo (a really interesting coffee variety created by the Colombian government to fight Coffee-Leaf-Rust)

Farmers – Single Farmer Mireya Espinosa

Altitude – 1700 Meters Above Sea Level

I hope that you enjoy this month’s selections! What excites me the most about this month is how diverse and fresh  our subscription lineup is looking! All of these coffees are fresh-crop meaning they’ll display the most flavors when you go to brew these coffees at home. These are three coffees you definitely do not want to miss out on! Go head over to our subscription page to take a closer look.