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).
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.
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.
We’re working on 4 main projects in 3 regions in Colombia this year – very exciting and lots to learn. Besides Finca Tamana, where we have been working for some years, we are working on projects with Coocentral in Central Huila, Cafe Sur in Tolima, and Buesaco in Nariño.
Some of the best coffees we have ever tasted in Burundi are already purchased and on the way.
We are now in our 3rd year in Burundi and we clearly see great improvement both from the producers end, and also regarding our ability to get things going on dry milling, internal logistics and shipping. We do now feel we are in control of the whole chain, and this is why we are stepping up and increasing volumes. We have locked in three containers this year mainly from three different producers. Still as everything is separated by area and days of picking we have about 25 lots with a very broad range of flavor profiles and lot sizes.
El Salvador has been hit hard by leaf rust in addition to the low harvest cycle. Still, we have a selection of coffees from Jasal this year as always. We are increasing our range of Costa Rica this year compared to the past. We have spent some time there to find new producers and have selected a really good range from different micro mills in Terrazu.
We want to let everybody know about some warehousing changes we’ve started for the 2014 harvest. As you can see on our new offer list, we are landing an increasing amount of coffee in the UK at Eniti, a specialty coffee and tea warehouse that is already quite well known in the industry.
There are several reasons for this, and all are related to giving more flexibility, better service, and a smoother and more economical option for coffee delivery.
We just finished up a trip to El Salvador to follow up on this year’s harvest. It is still quite early for the highest altitudes, but there were already a lot of samples to cup, and the quality seems to be great. It’s apparently the lowest crop in 50 years, and a huge shortage of coffee, but fortunately we have locked in a lot prior to harvest. In general we are working out contracts for two–three years at a time, mainly for our special preparations.
We recently received a range of coffees from the Fazenda Ambiental Fortaleza (FAF). This is a good mix of coffees from small to medium sized separated lots of different varietals and from different local municipalities. This is based on a concept where FAF is growing and processing their own coffee, while also running a coffee initiative to develop a great range of products from the neighboring farms. We think this is a unique concept for Brazil and the flavor profiles are really complex and interesting compared to many other Brazilians we have tasted.
After buying the coffee from Bela Vista the producer wrote us a letter for us to be able to better understand their philosophy and products. It’s translated from Portuguese to English by Felipe Groce, and posted as it is, including the pics, without any editing from our end.
I recently spent a week in Addis to gather samples and to cup and take position in coffees. At this point it’s mainly Yirgacheffe and Sidamo coffees from private wet millers and producers in Kochere, Wote (Konga), Chelelektu, Aricha, Guji, Dumerso. The quality of what we found so far is outstanding!
As many of you know Central and South America is suffering from heavy leaf rust attacks. This is a small presentation from our producers in El Salvador, Salaverrias, on how they work to recover. Even if they were far better of than many other producers as they have good altitudes Read more…