Photo by @sebanzacoffee
love to be able to write that the sun is shining! Such a lift to the mood and a pleasure to spend some time outdoors with something to read and coffee. Bean Bros is here for you and providing some wonderful accompaniments to life…delicious coffee, this month roasted by the exemplary, standard setting Coffee Collective!
Thank you for your order this month, your reward is ready to brew and please take some time to learn some more about the company that roasted the coffee and farmers that grew it.
Hopefully you enjoyed your coffee roasted by Bean Bros last month, don’t forget that you can order this any time through our website, in addition to the coffee we present from other great roasters each month.
What do you want to be known for – is there a deliberate focus on certain things / approaches?
We would like to be known for our ongoing work with the coffee producers and pushing to reduce our impact on the world. It's what we spend a lot of our time on and we hope it can inspire other roasteries to pursue the same goals.
When talking about coffee producers world-wide the industry is in a pretty bad place. One of the lines we always use to explain their world is ''Imagine you made a product and every year you didn't know who would buy it, how much you would get paid for it and when you'd receive your payment.' This is the reality for the majority of coffee producers in the world and it's not a constructive system. We want to be part of developing this and changing the norms.
What are your views on the more exotic processes at origin?
If they create flavour experiences that excite us and customers they are great. There is a lot of experimentation being done and we always appreciate the curiosity - so long as it's the farmers idea and curiosity that prompts it or they are fairly compensated. I will say that our flavour preferences are quite conservative however - all the coffees we source are clean and transparent with a nice underlying acidity. This is something we most commonly find in washed processed coffees.
Is there any particular seasonal release you look forward to the most?
Of course! We'd be lying if we said there wasn't but luckily for us each new crop from a farmer we have been working with for a long period is both exciting and nerve wracking. We only taste the coffees in the producing country and then again once it's being loaded onto the shipping container (termed Pre Shipment Samples). Getting it into the storage and roasting the first test batches are some of the most exciting times in the roastery.
How much debate amongst the team at cupping…or are you pretty much in very similar places?
We have a wide range of experience when cupping. Peter Dupont, Klaus Thomsen and Casper Rasmussen (the three founders) have been in the industry for about 60 + years collectively (no pun intended). They have such a wide array of coffee flavour knowledge that helps define the direction we roast, brew and discuss flavour.
For newer team members it can be a bit intimidating to be tasting with such experienced pros but this is a great platform for staff to learn how we communicate internally and defines our outlook on coffee's flavour. In summary - we have a great communication about flavour that is shared across the company and therefore we almost always agree on the cupping table!
Great selection for this month, for each of the coffees being featured please could you share some details:
Coffee 1 is Kieni. Do we need to introduce this one? haha. It's been featured before in the Bean Bros subscription but this is the brand new harvest which means everything is amped up. Sweetness is high, acidity is high and aromas are plentiful. We've chosen to roast the AB for this round to keep things interesting.
AB - what is it? Put simply it's a screen size or 'bean size' that is smaller than the more popular AA. The theory is that the larger the bean then the more it has matured and therefore the more flavour it has. We think this is a bit of a myth. There are definitely flavour deviations in the AA and AB sizes however we feel like the main difference is that the AA is higher in acidity and lighter in body. This is subjective on whether that is a good thing or a bad thing. A lot of people in the tasting room prefer the AB as it's got a more dense mouthfeel which is really enjoyable. We'd love to hear what you think!
Producer wise there is so much to explore in Kenyan coffee. It's produced by Kieni a co-operative of sorts who have around 1000 farmers deliver their coffee cherries to them on the day of picking. Kieni is responsible for controlling the quality of the cherries that come to the mill (ensure they are all the correct colour of red), removing the fruit (de-pulping), fermenting them and then washing the beans to remove the final layer of fruit.
After this they leave it to dry in the sun on some chicken wire benches and then send it to a dry mill. Dry mills do the rest of the work before it's packaged and shipped to Copenhagen.
Two of the more encouraging developments we have seen over 10 years working with Kieni is that
- a) framers appear to love working with them as they currently pay the highest recorded (and fact checked) prices in the region
- b) farmers who we visited are using their profits to purchase cows / chickens. Cows/ chickens provide food for their owners but also free manure which they use for fertiliser. This saves them a lot as their biggest expense is fertilisers
Varieties; SL28, SL34, Ruiru 11, Batian
Elevation: Around 1.600 - 1.800 masl
Price paid above the C-market price for this coffee; 80%
Harvested: Nov - Dec
Coffee 2 is Jaime Casallas - a young Colombian producer who has taken over his fathers farm (same name). Jaime and his father are producers who we have also worked a long time with. We started buying his coffee when it was blended in a 'Collective Blend' from various producers in the Huila region - El Desarollo for the old school Collective fans.
He has been able to continue pursuing how to push quality higher crop after crop, through educating himself how to cup with the local export company called Caravella. It's always so surprising to hear how few coffee producers have actually tasted their coffee when it has been roasted. Even fewer understand what quality is in terms of flavour. It would be like a wine producer never tasting their product and if they did, not having any reference if it's good or bad.... a really strange situation right?
Jaime's father planted a few of the common varieties grown in Colombia as they work well in that climate. He harvests twice a year and this is the most recent harvest we have received - it landed around February. Jaime Jr has played around with his fermentation period, picking cycle and also started to grow some other varieties to see what can be produced on the farm. We are incredibly happy with how this latest harvest is tasting! We hope you get some good brews from it too.
Producer: Jaime Casallas
Varieties; Caturra, Typica, Colombia, Java
Elevation: Around 1.500 masl
Price paid above the C-market price for this coffee; 173%
Harvested: Oct - Jan
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