Quaffee Newsletter April 2021

Introduction

Grab a cup and have a seat (you’ll need about 15 minutes to read it all). Or just read the summary. In this issue:

  • Some good news for coffee
  • Cascara
  • New coffees:
    • Burundian Murambi Hill
    • Costa Rican La Canuela
    • Colombian COE 2020 from Jose Ignacio Gomez Lopez
  • Anticipated issues
  • Notable new equip
  • The Hoff and AeroPress
  • ?

Quaffee Newsletter April 2021

Good news for coffee

Like many crops, coffee’s major cultivated species, Arabica, is under threat by climate change. Unlike other crops like rice, wheat and potatoes, Coffea Arabica has a far narrower genetic diversity. As a result, the more or less accepted fact that we will witness temperature changes of at least 1 degree Celsius (C) and probably 2 degrees C will directly affect Arabica’s ability to produce a coffee we love. While varieties like Robusta and Liberica are not at as much risk, their cup quality is known for its lack of flavours, rather than the complexity of Arabica

This week an exciting development was published. A far hardier variety that has promising cup quality has been rediscovered. Coffea stenophylla was a known and enjoyed variety of coffee that came from Western Africa. Its small production numbers meant it was sidelined in the 20th century. An extensive search has now reaped rewards. Interested in more? Read our consolidated post on this discovery that could save coffee here…

Cascara

Have you heard of tea made from the fruit of the coffee cherry? It is called Cascara. While the source is also the coffee cherry, this is NOT coffee. If you like fruit teas, then you should try this one. It is sweet and has berry type fruit when brewed, and can also be enjoyed chilled.

We secured a little of it and are keen to share. Try it; we promise it will be something unique. Order some via this link: Costa Rican Cascara.

RowWithCoffeeBeans

New coffees

Colombians

A new season of our Colombians has arrived. The shipment was delayed, but they are finally here. We had run out of the Decaf and were on our last roast of Los Idolos, so we are happy to have the new season in the warehouse. See the range here…

New Burundi

We now have our third coffee from Migoti coffee in Burundi. We hope this relationship will continue, as we like what Dan and the team are doing there. This one is from farmers based on Murambi Hill, and we think it is a superb example of a washed coffee from Burundi. If you enjoyed the washed Long miles coffee project, this one will be a good fit. Read more about the Murambi Hill here…

Costa Rican

We have been enjoying the early feedback we have received on our new Costa Rican. We try and select Central Americans that represent the areas they come from well, rather than being the same old Central American. This is a natural processed coffee from a single producer; read more about it here…

Colombian Cup of Excellence

The top-rated coffees in the coffee industry are rare. How rare? Less than 1% of the coffee worldwide are in this group. Typically, only a tiny sample of the world’s coffee drinkers are able to taste these coffees. While in the past we have offered some Cup of Excellence coffees, taste of harvest and limited auction coffees, the Cup of Excellence coffees are considered a standard that all other coffee auction-based coffees look to.

Coffees on this auction got through many rounds (read our summary here…), and being able to offer coffees like this has always been the reason we do what we do. A producer that is able to secure a place in the final auction can often be rewarded with a significant financial reward, and just like winning an Oscar, it has far-reaching results. The cup of excellence offers complete transparency to what they do, so valid claims made by a roastery offering a CoE coffee can be thoroughly checked.

We appreciate that these coffees are significantly costlier than other coffees we offer, but we also believe they are probably priced at a level coffee should be. Top whiskeys, wines, brandies and gins cost more per portion than these coffees, and most people have no issue paying for these, as they are first world beverages.

That said, because we want our fellow coffee lovers to enjoy this coffee, we have decided to offer a 70g tasting potion of the COE. You can also buy from 250g up to 1kg on the site. Read about Jose’s cup of excellence coffee here…

RowWithCargoBoat

Projected Issues with Ethiopia/Kenya

To secure good coffees, we learned early on we had to rely on sourcing coffee via agents with a solid presence at origin. While we have been fortunate with working with Caravela since 2008 sourcing Colombian coffees and then other Central and South America coffees.

Our experience with African and Asian coffees has not been as easy. We have gone through approximately 8 different agents in over a decade to source coffees from these regions. Over the last 4 years, we have worked with three different local agents that worked with people on the ground in Ethiopia and Kenya.

The last agent who worked with us to secure coffee via the partners we had met along the way, was Sevenoaks Trading. Unfortunately, this year they decided that it was not worth their while to import the Ethiopians and Kenyans we have come to rely on. Sevenoaks has slowly and surely expanded their specialty range under the banner of Premium. With COVID-19, demand for premium product shrunk and hence the risks for them were too high. Working with them has been a considerable pressure release for us since they handle all the logistics and finance themselves, leaving us to do what we enjoy best.

While we still have contacts in Europe that can source the Ethiopians and Kenyans we have grown to love, we have serious cash flow problems. This means pre-paying coffees to get us through to the next Ethiopian and Kenyan season (coffees would land in March/April 2022) may be beyond our capability at the moment. We are already committed to Oct/Nov shipments from Colombia, which means we need to save for pre-paying those.

However, we are still exploring other alternatives. We hope to find a solution with the knowledge that the Ethiopians and Kenyans, we secured via Sevenoaks from the 2020 crop, will get us through to at least November.

You may say this is a little too much sharing, but that is us a Quaffee; we like to play with an open hand, especially to our most important clients.

RowOfCupsBreak

Notable Equipment

The range of equipment we offer is typically limited to products with a particular place in our offering. Products that have stood out for us in the last few months are:

  • The Hario mini-slim pro: Probably the best entry-level hand grinder has been upgraded. Now there are new burrs and a full stainless steel chassis. There are better grinders like the Timemore, but they are almost 50% more. If you were a fan of the Porlex, the Hario mini-slim pro is now your go-to. Read more here…
  • Rancilio Silvia Pro: The Rancilio Silvia is a great little machine. With the optional third-party PID addon, it was also hard to beat at the price. The only limitation was its ability to steam milk and brew at the same time, or at least within seconds. Rancilio launched the Silvia Pro last year. The first shipment to South Africa was totally sold out. We grabbed one with the new shipment. Besides having two boilers, a bigger water tank, and some cool electronic features, the Pro comes with a commercial quality PID controller that is super accurate. We feel that this machine is the best value for money espresso machine on the market by far. While others may have better looks with larger dials, they are technically inferior (in our humble opinion). Read more here…

The Hoff and AeroPress

Typically, we find “ultimate” brewing recipes rather short on fact and very personal. We did try to start our series on designing recipes, but a total lack of interest in these videos killed any motivation to continue with them as a series. Recently, James “The Hoff” Hoffman did a deep dive into the AeroPress. Finally, a brewing video we would be happy to share. If you have not already watched them, we would recommend them. We have put together a playlist of these and will add to this list once he adds the final video: Link to the playlist:

Shot in the Dark

A surprise for those that have got this far, we are competing in the shot in the dark roasting competition again this year. We want you to help select the coffee we will submit. Are you keen? If so, contact us the way you usually do.

Social Media

Did you notice we had no social media presence for an entire month? We took a break, and somehow our sales went up. We are now positing only when there is something to say, rather than because we have to say something.

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