It’s an exciting time of year — so many origins are in harvest, and so much great coffee is coming our way! What can we expect from Ethiopia, Kenya, Honduras, Colombia and Uganda this year? Our buyers give us an update.
The harvest this year was earlier with higher yields. Last harvest the rain continued to the end of December but this harvest it stopped in early November in most regions, Yirgacheffe being the exception. No rain means higher temperatures and great conditions for drying.
Coffees have been rolling into Addis for the past few weeks, and while there is a noticeable lack of acidity and complexity in coffee from certain regions, there is plenty of great coffee to select. Last week we secured our first containers with coffees from Kochere, Gedeb, West Yirgacheffe and Limu. We expect those to ship within the next couple of weeks.
Guji are tasting fantastic at the moment, but parchment is delayed arriving at Addis, which means we just need to be patient. West Arsi and Northern Sidamo are developing well and we aim to make our first picks in the coming three weeks.
It has been an early start for the main crop in Kenya this year. We have already in December 2020 seen great qualities, and additional samples in January have shown these qualities to be maintained. I am more excited about these coffees this year than I have been for quite some time, although I feel like this is often said of Kenyan coffees, the samples we have cupped and selected so far have been some of the most fruit-filled and distinctive Kenyan coffees I have had for years.
It looks as though 85-90% of the P1’s (parchment 1) of this harvest are already delivered to the mills and there has been a high ratio of AA’s from outturns delivered this year. In some cases, the AA grade is making up as much as 50% of the outturn delivered. The FCS’s showing the very highest proportion of AA’s from their deliveries are those in Kirinyaga, and we have plenty of great coffees coming from this region.
We also have some fantastic coffees from Nyeri, in fact, one of my favorite cups this year was from Tegu however, in general, there have been fewer top qualities from the region. There was a small drought here in Jun/Jul which caused stress to the trees, this followed by a few days of rainfall caused a flowering, and there looks to be cherries that will ripen in May/Jun. We still expect to see good qualities from Muranga, which is on the western side of Nyeri, along the Aberdares mountain range.
Prices in the auctions this year have been high, possibly because of the lower volume in the fly crop that has left traders needing to fulfil contracted volumes.
Picking has begun in Honduras, especially in the southwestern region of Marcala where we work with the Caballeros family. They began picking only in late December, so the harvest is slightly delayed but we still expect to see good sample material for selection by late February or early March.
With Moises, we will continue to work on more volumes of natural coffees along with some extended fermentation lots and anaerobic trials we have been doing in other coffee producing countries. As is usually the case in Marcala, the weather in January is very unstable and not good for drying natural coffees, so we expect the first samples and shipment to mainly contain washed lots from the different farms. In Honduras, the older generations attribute the volatile weather of January to old mythology that holds that the different days show what the weather will be like for each of the months to come in the following year.
While we are so glad to work again this year with Rony and the small producers of Masaguara and the surroundings of Intibuca. These coffees are at higher altitudes and the cherries are ripening later, from here we will have small micro-lots of washed coffees from each producer and some community blends. We expect samples in April and can’t wait!
Our buying for the first half of 2021 has come to a close. We still have coffees being milled and some only just on the water. You will see more lots come on our offer list from Central Huila and also Antioquia, these will include more natural volumes.
In Antioquia low temperatures during the main harvest led to slow maturation of the cherry, resulting in a longer harvest. This means the deliveries of cherries are more spread out giving the producers more time to process and dry the lots. This, combined with greater sugar development that comes with slow maturation, led to much greater quality for this harvest.
There are still some volumes being harvested from higher altitude areas such as Concordia.
Harvesting is always taking place in Colombia, and there are still good volumes from Huila. We also look forward to the mitaca in Antioquia. Please contact us if you have any specific requirements.
In Uganda the crop is generally divided into two parts: a main and a smaller fly crop. Under normal circumstances the main runs from June to September and the fly crop is between January and April. Usually the main crop yields around 70-80% of the total harvest, and the fly crop the remaining 20% – 30%. However this year it is all turned on its head.
This year the crop was delayed about a month due to the weather, and yields were very low, around 20% – 30% of the total harvest. The majority of the cherries are still maturing and expected to be harvested in the time window that would otherwise be named the fly-crop.
Our first shipment is expected to land in March and will include the different kinds of experiments we’ve been doing with Kingha Estate and Great Lakes. These projects are a continuation of the experiments we did last year and it seems that the quality is even better this year as we tweak and refine the process. We are very excited to see these results shining through on the cupping table.
Pre-shipment samples for these coffees are expected to arrive very soon. Get in touch with your sales rep or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to ensure you get the samples you need to plan your buying.