we have an established office and lab space that has been fully operational throughout this season, this has given us an ability to function on a much broader scale in our efforts to find coffees that are cupping great and show a good range of what can be produced in Ethiopia. It has also facilitated building relationships with new suppliers and stronger relationships with our existing partners.
Kenyan coffees are important to us, and we love both the big classic fruit profiles as well as the subtle, herbal-like Kenyans. It has taken a little more cupping work this year to find the kind of coffees we love Kenya for and we realise they are expensive, we have been extra careful to only buy coffees that at the time we cupped them for purchase were tasting outstanding!
The first El Salvadors from Las Cruces are shipped and on the way. Los Pirineos just ended the harvest and we are currently making our selection. Quality this year looks great. Compared to last year’s cupping, at this stage the coffees seems to be more intense and fruit driven, with a lot of structure and body to it. We spent days in different periods both in the fields and at the cupping table and we have high hopes for both quality and new interesting profiles.
The two daughters, Maria and Arlene, who assist their father in running their farm, are a glimpse of the future generation of coffee producers.
We just started selling coffee from Indonesia, and wanted to take this opportunity to tell you a little bit more about the project. This story has everything, an underdog entrepreneur trying to win over the villagers, fighting climate change, building communities, and of course, delicious coffee for you.
I wanted to write this blog post just to give you all an insight into how we in work with samples. Samples are a big part of the daily routine here in the Lab and our main way of selling coffee to our customers. In average, we roast 3 hours daily, to prepare for cupping or to send out to you guys and gals.
Last year was a pretty productive harvest for Costa Rica. In the history of the country there hadn’t been so much volume like the 2015-2016 harvest. Which was good but at the same time tough for farmers to sell their coffees because of the high offer in the market. Despite the harvest was massive for Costa Rica, the good quality was there and I found great coffees among a small group of 6 farmers, with whom we decided to start to work for many years.
2016 has been an unusually tough year for most coffee farmers in most parts of Colombia because of El Niño – a complex weather pattern resulting from variations in ocean temperatures, that can lead to extreme weather conditions. Because of drought this year harvests have either been delayed, very small, or in some cases even non-existing. A severe lack of rain in many coffee growing regions has affected the quality of the coffee in a negative way, and thus there has been an increase in the number of hollow beans, leaf rust, and broca (coffee berry borer).
This year’s production volumes in Rwanda have returned to a more normal level after last year’s huge harvest. As a whole the production volume appears to be average, though some rule changes in how cherries are delivered has caused some regions to drop in volume more than others. Overall we have less coffee available than last year but the quality of the coffees is generally improved.
We are at the time of year when many roasters are thinking: what’s next? We’re talking about fresh greens, of course. We’ll try to give you an overview of our current and upcoming purchasing so you can plan the next 6 months or more. There are lots of fresh crop goodies on the way from Burundi, Rwanda, Tanzania, Colombia and Brazil. And if all goes well we’ll launch a new origin, Indonesia.
Israel Degfa is a young business man in Ethiopia with a sure and steady focus. He owns thirteen washing stations and a farm, across the South and South West of Ethiopia. In previous years the production at these washing stations has been focused on volume but over the last two or so years Israel has shifted his focus, and is now working on the quality of processing across his washing stations as priority.
We are introducing a selection of coffees for the first time, through a new project were we are working with a single farm. The farm is able to produce lot separation according to different parts of the farm and by varietal, with complete traceability. This is the first opportunity these coffees are being exposed to the market in this way. We have been working with Mohammed Lalo over the four or so months I travelled to and from, as well as around Ethiopia. The anticipation of the final results from our investment and the investment from our new partner has been mounting.
The most fascinating thing with costa Rica is the awareness of lot separation and different processing and preparation methods. You'll find great representative coffees of everything from fully washed, different levels of honeys as well as super clean naturals. Even if the coffees can be expensive due to cost of production we totally find it worth it.
We both want to maintain transparency in what we do and communicate why we chose any one of the coffees we sell over the many others we cup through. So we have looked at the kind of profiles we work with from Ethiopia, we have associated these flavor profiles to colors that make sense to us and we have created a color wheel of Ethiopian coffee profiles.
Working in coffee in any producing country is like working in a shifting landscape, and for me no landscape shifts quite so much as Ethiopia. Still a magnificent landscape all the same.This 2015/2016 season has been really exciting for us because of developments in our own business which have lent us far greater scope to explore and uncover the coffees of Ethiopia.
I guess many are thinking of Brazil as an origin with huge mechanized farms selling relatively cheap coffees by the container. But this is really not the case.
2015 was a great year for us at Nordic thanks to all of you that’s supporting us as producers, exporters and clients. We know that many of you have great sales before Christmas and we would like to give you an update on fresh available and incoming coffees, as well as some good offers. Hopefully this will help you plan the purchase for the next months.
We have made a new film! This time from Colombia, showing some of the various farms, environments, production facilities, surroundings, and daily life of the farmers we are working with in Colombia.
We have been focusing a lot on Colombia over the last two years, putting a lot of time and work in developing the projects we have started with Fairfield Trading (our exporter) and Coocentral in Huila, Cafisur in Tolima, and Buesaco in Nariño. The focus for this trip, in July, was on Hulia and Tolima.
It’s no secret that Burundi can be a tricky origin, especially for milling, internal logistics and shipments etc. Even if some of the coffees last year were tasting amazing they came later than expected. I have to admit that we were in doubt this year if we were going to continue because of the logistical issues, but with a great dialogue with the producer Salum we agreed on a different strategy to get it all moved and executed faster.
If you want to have fresh coffees in your inventory all year round, now is a good time to plan your purchases all the way until April 2016.
Through this post I’ll try to give you a heads up on how to plan your purchases, what’s in stock and what’s coming in the next months.
We are proud to again present a great range of Ethiopian coffees. Still, it’s no secret that 2015 was a tough year for Ethiopian coffees in general. Even if we have found great coffees they have been harder to come across than before. There have also been a lot of delays and prices internally have been relatively high across the board. Even so, the coffees that we bought are super juicy and sweet, and can as always out-cup most coffees around.
After two tough years for El Salvador's coffee industry, with leaf rust and record low harvests, this year is looking a bit better. When we visited our producing partners the Salaverrias (Jasal) and Gilberto Baraona (Los Pirineos) in February the farms were looking great, full of cherries in the higher altitudes. Quality is great and while volume isn't huge, it is up from last year.
We are getting in to the peak of the purchasing season for Ethiopia. We have tasted and bought coffees this year that are better than ever. It is still mainly washed coffees we are currently buying, but we have started to see a few interesting naturals coming in from the fields as well. And there will be way more to come the next month or so. There are more great coffees around than what we can currently purchase right now, We are still trying to figure out and plan what you all need, and how much we are going to stock up with for this year.
We would like to take this opportunity to give you all a 2014 wrap up, and an update of what is going on in 2015.
Overall 2014 has been a great year for us at Nordic. Our coffees have tasted great and have been very well received in the market, many baristas have performed well in competitions with our coffees, and most importantly we have had a return of satisfied customers increasing their annual volumes with us.
On our most recent visit to Ethiopia, we had the pleasure of cupping some pretty amazing coffees, coffees we cant wait to share with you! There are a couple of things we learnt on this trip that we would like to talk about first. Coffee from Ethiopia stands out both because of the incredible diversity of profiles across the different growing regions in Ethiopia and for its complexity in the cup. It is this complexity that has lead to these coffees being widely under valued.
We have just received our last shipments from Burundi in to the UK warehouse. These coffees are from the later pickings of this year’s harvest. We think these coffees definitely have a place in the high-end market and are generally undervalued. They work well both as espresso and filter, and are in our opinion very well priced compared to the quality and flavor attributes.
We are now partners and shareholders in Motherland Farmers, a coffee project in Rwanda, and we’re more or less finished with our first season as coffee producers. It’s been a great learning experience, and we are getting more humble than ever before in regards to coffee farming and production of high quality coffee.
The coming period can be a challenge for many roasters wanting to have fresh crop all year as they often run out of coffees from Centrals and Ethiopia/Kenya, and new arrivals from these regions won’t arrive until spring. This is why we have focused a lot now on other origins with great potential and opposite harvesting periods.