Our subscription offerings this month come to you from Nicaragua, Guatemala, and Ethiopia, each with a unique story.
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Nicaragua – Cafetos de Segovia
Nicaragua has struggled to find its way into the specialty coffee market. Like many other small coffee-producing countries tucked in Latin America, Nicaraguan coffee producers have experienced firsthand the instability of the commodities market. Pair this with the coffee leaf rust disease and difficulties accessing the specialty market, and you have a desperate situation. Luckily, some farmers, despite all the odds, have become resilient and found unique ways to enter the specialty market. The Albir family began farming coffee in 1991 and continued to grow their operations until political turmoil in the country drove the family to stop farming altogether. In 2007, sisters Ana and Martha Albir decided to return to the farm and take over their father’s operations. Ana and Martha have seen growth every year as a result of their diligent work to produce coffee that is not only high quality, but also genuinely sustainable for the environment. This year, coffee from Cafetos de Segovia won 6th and 16th place in the Cup of Excellence, a competition which recognizes the best producers from coffee producing countries.
The general “Cafetos de Segovia” lot is a blended macrolot which includes coffee from not only Ana and Martha’s farms, but coffees from smallholder producers in the Segovia region who they have partnered with. Their partnership with smallholder producers has allowed these farmers access to the premium prices paid in the specialty coffee market, whereas before they sold their coffees on the commodity market for exceptionally low prices. Additionally, the Cafetos de Segovia micromill offers financial, logistical, and agricultural support to smallholder producers throughout the region. By creating large lots with great quality such as this, Cafetos de Segovia provides stablility for smallholder producers where in the past there was only instability.
In the cup, we taste dessert-like flavors of peanut brittle and cocoa nibs with a lemon-citrus finish.
Processing – Fully Washed
Varieties – Caturra and Bourbon
Harvest – Oct – March
Farmers – Various / Ana and Martha Albir
Altitude – 1400-1600 MASL
Region – Nueva Segovia, Nicaragua
Guatemala – Finca Los Angeles
Finca Los Angeles is on the west side of the village of Hoja Blanca in Guatemala’s Huehuetenango region; Mexico is almost visible down the valley to the northwest. Rising from 1525 to 1800 MASL, Arturo’s lots exist on two sides of a sheer ridgeline. Mature Chalum, Mandarín, and Capulin trees rise at angles, providing afternoon shade for the Bourbon, Caturra, and Maragogype plants below. Pure mountain spring water is used for processing their coffees.
The land is managed by Arturo’s son Vielmann Vides Villatoro Castillo, an enthusiastic farmer. For eleven years he lived in Los Angeles, and he loves to talk about his experience picking fruit there. The difference in agricultural pay affected him profoundly: in California, he was paid $40 per apple bin, whereas in Guatemala the pay was Q40 ($5) per 1 quintal (100 pounds) of coffee cherries picked. He decided after a decade, though, that it was time to return to be with his father and to care for the family coffee farm. Soon after returning, Vielmann was married and bought more land to grow coffee. He built more drying patios and worker housing. Along with his wife and three siblings, the family looks forward to leaving the land and legacy to their beloved children to continue. (Written by Onyx Coffee Importers)
This particular lot is a selection of Bourbon, Caturra, and Catuai varieties, which when grown at higher altitudes become deeply fruity and complex. This coffee is the perfect mixture between approachable and challenging. We found this coffee displays comforting flavors as well as tones that will surprise even the most seasoned coffee drinkers.
In the cup, expect approachable tones of rich candy-like tones of nougat and caramel with soft fruited flavors of tangerine and cranberry in the finish.
Processing – Fully Washed
Varieties – Caturra, Catuai, Bourbon
Harvest – Oct – March
Farmers – Arturo and Vielmann Villatoro
Altitude – 1600 MASL
Region – Culico, Huehuetenango, Guatemala
Ethiopia – Worka Chelbessa – Danche Village Selection
Ethiopia is easily the most dynamic coffee producing nation in the world. Being the genetic-homeland of coffea arabic gives Ethiopia unparalleled access to genetic diversity that simply isn’t found anywhere else. It’s very common to see new genetic hybrid varieties, which were distributed to farmers by the Jimma Agricultural Research Center (JARC) in 1974, growing right alongside local landraces that are difficult to identify, and they usually are only identifiable by names given by local farmers who’ve grown these plants for several generations. Pair this with the endless microclimates found in each distinct area of Ethiopia and what you have is absolutely outstanding coffees with a very mysterious heritage.
For decades coffee in Ethiopia was referred to by general regions: Yirgacheffe, Harrar, Sidamo, and Limu. While these are legit regions, they’re pretty massive areas with a plethora of diversity being held within. Coffee from Sidamo could range from exceptionally deep berry flavors to sundried stone fruits and everything in between. In the last decade the Ethiopian coffee sector has seen some massive changes which has allowed private buyers from around the world to directly purchase from farmers and coffee exporting companies instead of having to purchase through the Ethiopian Coffee Exchange (ECX) which frequently obscured coffees unique identities in favor of general labels like Yirgacheffe, Harrar, and so on…
The result has been an explosion of potential and possibility for Ethiopian coffee that was largely impossible only a few short years ago. We’re seeing individual villages gaining recognition for their distinct flavor profile, and general labels like Yirgacheffe are beginning to lose their as the primary method to identify where a coffee has come from. 2020 seems to be the year for amazing identification in Ethiopian coffee, and we’d like to share one particularly amazing selection.
Gedeb is a district in the Gedeo Zone, which is one of the southern-most growing areas in all of Ethiopia. Gedeb has some of the highest elevations in the entire country, which has resulted in exceptionally bright and lively coffees that remind us of the ripest citrus and stone fruits. This particular selection comes from the Danche Village, which is a small sub-village outside of the larger Worka Chelbessa community. The result of the separation and selection is pure-bliss in a cup. Like coffees traditionally from “Yirgacheffe” the Danche Selection displays stone fruit flavors while also displaying some of the most distinctive flavors we’ve come across. Because of the dry-process fermentation, this coffee reveals a deeply textured mouthfeel with a wide variety of fruited tones, ranging from stone fruits to bright berries and even tropical fruits.
We’re excited to share such an amazing coffee that reflects the changing landscape of Ethiopian coffee.
In the cup, expect divine and lush fruited tones of honeydew and mixed berries with deeper tropical-fruit tones, all paired with a gentle florality that is deeply expressive and exotic.
Processing – Dry-Procssed / Sundried Natural / Fermentation in Cherry
Varieties – JARC Selections / Local Landraces – Particularly Wolisho and Kurume (Typica and Bourbon)
Harvest – December – January
Farmer – Neguesse Debela and
Altitude – 1900-2200 MASL
Region – Danche Village, Gedeb Woreda (District), Gedeo Zone
As always, thank you for choosing Utopian! We hope you enjoy learning more about the coffees you drink and share. If you have questions, comments, or feedback, feel free to leave them below or email to .