Higher Grounds Trading Company // Honduras COMSA Melvin Alonso Microlot

Melvin Alonso is a member of the Honduras COMSA cooperative in Marcala, Honduras. He harvests his coffee from December to April, the coolest months of the year in that region. Harvest is completed entirely by hand, and cherries are selected at optimum ripeness.

After harvesting, the fruit is subjected to a process of wet mill. All water used in this step, and coffee waste as pulp, are incorporated into the soil of the farm, following the technical guidelines of organic production received from the team of advisers at COMSA. Finally, the coffee is placed in courtyards where the sun dries it slowly and naturally.

Over the last few years, COMSA has been experimenting with honey processing as well as natural/dry processed coffees, which have rendered excellent cup results when submitted to quality evaluation. This coffee from Melvin Alonso, along with a neighboring microlot from Betty Perez, is an exceptional example of a successful experiment.*

Welcome to my Table, here in the corner of this cafe. Today we’re sipping the Honduras COMSA Melvin Alonso Microlot, from Higher Grounds Trading Company in Traverse City, Michigan. Feel free to pull up a chair.

THEDETAILS

origin: Village Arenales, Santa Maria, La Paz, Honduras
farm: Melvin Alsonso Microlot
producer: Melvin Alonso
association: Honduras COMSA Cooperative
elevation: 1500 meters above sea level
cultivars: Icatu
process: honey

CUPPINGNOTES

The aroma of Melvin Alonso’s coffee is pretty interesting; complex, even. Grassy, lemon zest, green tea, clove, stone fruit, nuts… Some notes that are pretty typical for Hondurans, but a great many that are very atypical (the grassiness, especially).

Wow. This coffee is really something else. It’s a medium-bodied coffee, with a silky mouthfeel and, right out of the gate, it’s presenting my palate with some really unique, complex flavors. Much like it’s aroma, this has a very grassy flavor profile with prominent notes of lemon grass, Sencha tea leaves, jasmine, and mint. Yes – this coffee tastes very green. Beneath those flavors are some really nice notes of honey, almond, melon, plum, and peach. As the cup cools off, its sweeter flavors recede a bit, and those green tea flavors become the focal point again; I’m also detecting the emergence of clove and anise.

*content courtesy of Higher Grounds Trading Company

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UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED, ALL PRODUCTS REVIEWED BY A TABLE IN THE CORNER OF THE CAFE ARE UNSOLICITED SUBMISSIONS FROM THE PRODUCT MANUFACTURER. TO LEARN MORE ABOUT A TABLE IN THE CORNER OF THE CAFE, OUR REVIEW PROCESS, HOW TO SUBMIT PRODUCTS FOR REVIEW, OR SIMPLY TO CONTACT US, PLEASE VISIT OUR ABOUT PAGE

Higher Grounds Trading Company // Honduras COMSA Miriam Perez Microlot

Miriam Elizabeth (“Betty”) Perez has been a longstanding advocate of women in leadership positions within the Honduras COMSA cooperative, and she has consistently produced outstanding coffee. We are beyond pleased to offer her honey-processed coffee this year, a lush and satisfying cup reminiscent of a full-blown natural.

Harvest is carried out in the months of December to February, time when sunlight penetrates the farm softly and indirectly due to the abundance of shade in the farm, in the coolness of the shorter daylight hours. Harvesting is conducted by hand, carefully selecting fruit that has achieved optimal maturity, cherries that are freshest in appearance, firm and brilliant in color. This meticulous cherry selection mandates at least three pickings of the same plant, in order to allow for a superior quality coffee.

After harvest, the fruit is submitted to a wet processing method where the coffee is depulped, and later placed in tanks where it gets fermented for over 36 hours. Any byproducts of this process, such as pulp, are reincorporated to the farm’s soil.  Finally, the coffee gets laid out to dry under the sun in a protracted drying process.

Over the last few years, COMSA has been experimenting with honey processing as well as natural/dry processed coffees, which have rendered excellent cup results when submitted to quality evaluation. This coffee from Betty Perez—along with a neighboring microlot from Melvin Alonso (review coming next week)—is an exceptional example of successful experimentation.*

Welcome to my Table, here in the corner of this cafe. Today we’re sipping the Honduras COMSA Miriam Perez Microlot, from Higher Grounds Trading Company in Traverse City, Michigan. Feel free to pull up a chair.

THEDETAILS

origin: Marcala, La Paz, Honduras
farm: Miriam Perez Microlot
producer: Miriam Perez
association: Honduras COMSA Cooperative
elevation: 1250 meters above sea level
cultivars: Typica, Caturra, Bourbon
process: honey

CUPPINGNOTES

There’s not much that separates this coffee’s aroma from that of a natural Sidama. In fact, if I were cupping blind, I would have guessed it was a natural Sidama. But it’s not—it’s a honey-proceed Honduras; and it’s aroma is filled with scents of blueberry, cocoa powder, and florals.

Taking my first few sips from the cup, the flavor follows the nose. Again, there are some strong similarities to a natural Sidama in this full-bodied coffee, but there are some Honduran nuances coming through, too. There are big flavors of blueberry and blackberry immediately out of the gate, but I wouldn’t necessarily call this a “berry bomb.” Not in the sense that these flavors are explosive or bombastic; but they are very prominent up front, and they are propelled forward by deep, bold notes of dark chocolate cocoa powder and roasted almond. As the cup cools, the coffee becomes much lusher, as juicy flavors of black cherry, peach, nectarine, and a citrus acidity. There are some nuances of roastiness and earth throughout the cup, but they’re negligible in the overall flavor profile.

*content courtesy of Higher Grounds Trading Company

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UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED, ALL PRODUCTS REVIEWED BY A TABLE IN THE CORNER OF THE CAFE ARE UNSOLICITED SUBMISSIONS FROM THE PRODUCT MANUFACTURER. TO LEARN MORE ABOUT A TABLE IN THE CORNER OF THE CAFE, OUR REVIEW PROCESS, HOW TO SUBMIT PRODUCTS FOR REVIEW, OR SIMPLY TO CONTACT US, PLEASE VISIT OUR ABOUT PAGE

Colectivo Coffee // Guatemala Hunapu Mountain of Flowers

Guatemala Hunapu Mountain of Flowers comes from a highland valley, Antigua. Antigua is a city and a coffee producing region in Guatemala’s central highlands. It is also a popular tourist attraction due to its well-preserved colonial heritage and remarkable scenery. Antigua sits in a valley surrounded by three massive volcanoes: Agua, Fuego and Acatenango.

The outstanding landscape, contains volcanic soil and a unique dry climate, which provides ideal conditions to produce one of the best coffees in the world. Hunapu is the brand name established by Zelcafe, a well respected Guatemalan supplier led by Luis Pedro Zelaya. Zelcafe is comprised of small producers that came together to separate each of their 100% Bourbon varietal cherries to create a truly special Antigua coffee. Hunapu is the indigenous name given by the Mayans to the nearby Volcan de Agua.*

This year, Colectivo has taken only a few of the highest-scoring lots from Hunapu and combined them to create the seasonal offering Guatemala Hunapu Mountain of Flowers. Grown specifically in the San Miguel Duenas and Ciudad Vieja communities, this coffee is harvested from 100 percent Bourbon variety and grown at elevations from 1,500 to 1,800 meters above sea level.**

Welcome to my Table, here in the corner of this cafe. Today we’re sipping the Guatemala Hunapu Mountain of Flowers, from Colectivo Coffee in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Feel free to pull up a chair.

THEDETAILS

origin: Antigua Guatemala
farm: N/A
producer: smallholder farmers
association: N/A
elevation: 1500 – 1800 meters above sea level
cultivars: Bourbon
process: fully washed, patio dried

CUPPINGNOTES

The aroma

dark chocolate, earth, roast, wood, flowers, citrus,

FINALTHOUGHTS

*content courtesy of InterAmerican Coffee
**content courtesy of Colectivo Coffee

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UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED, ALL PRODUCTS REVIEWED BY A TABLE IN THE CORNER OF THE CAFE ARE UNSOLICITED SUBMISSIONS FROM THE PRODUCT MANUFACTURER. TO LEARN MORE ABOUT A TABLE IN THE CORNER OF THE CAFE, OUR REVIEW PROCESS, HOW TO SUBMIT PRODUCTS FOR REVIEW, OR SIMPLY TO CONTACT US, PLEASE VISIT OUR ABOUT PAGE

Eastlick Coffee // Burundi Bukeye Rubiziri

The Bukeye Rubiziri lot is a remarkable production of mixed bourbon varietals that was processed at the Buhorwa processing station in the East African nation of Burundi. It was sourced by Crop to Cup, who began working with the Buhorwa processing station in 2009. Hundreds of thousands of Burundi’s smallholder coffee farmers rely on central processing stations like Buhorwa to wash and process coffee from smaller towns like Rubiziri. Such processing stations, when supported by partners like Crop to Cup, can drastically improve an origin’s potential for quality by applying its skilled processing methods to many farmers’ crops.

Burundi is a textbook example of how a nation can be perfectly suited for coffee production but suffer from poor access to information, few resources, and little support from the specialty market at large. Its high altitudes and heavy mountain rainfalls support more than 800,000 families growing coffee in the nation of 9 million, most of whom work with around one hectare of land. State controlled until 1986 with a mandate that emphasized high output over quality, Burundi coffee has seen immense improvements in quality over the last 10 years due largely in part to companies like Crop to Cup and their hands on methods. Often compared to Rwanda, its neighbor to the North on the Congo Nile divide, Burundi coffees are remarkably complex and vibrant, showcasing sweet, jammy fruit and floral notes and balanced by complex low notes of dark sugars and chocolate.*

Welcome to my Table, here in the corner of this cafe. Today we’re sipping the Burundi Bukeye Rubiziri, from Eastlick Coffee in Brooklyn, New York, courtesy of Craft Coffee. Feel free to pull up a chair.

THEDETAILS

origin: Bukeye, Burundi
farm: Kenya Chinga Mill
producer: smallholder farmers
association: Rubiziri Producer Group
elevation: 1760– 1890 meters above sea level
cultivars: Jackson Bourbon
process: fully washed, raised bed dried

CUPPINGNOTES

The aroma of the Burundi Bukeye Rubiziri is deep and intoxicating. Big scents of dark chocolate, cinnamon, nuts, and cranberry juice.

The flavor follows the nose, as I take my first few sips immediately post-brew. This full-bodied coffee has a thick, juicy mouthfeel and deep, voluptuous flavors. Very bold, powerful flavors, too; particularly of dark chocolate cocoa powder and honey. Further, right out of the gate, there is a rush of tart fruits that bites at the tongue. Tart cranberry juice, watermelon, and a mild lime acidity… What I’m most surprised by, though, is the massive presence of nuts and spices.

Most of my experiences with Burundian coffees provided what I’ve tasted so far in this cup: chocolate, fruit, florals… Those are pretty typical notes for this region. But this coffee also features roasted hazelnut, cinnamon, and clove nuances, making this one of the more complex Burundian coffees I’ve had in some time.

FINALTHOUGHTS

 

*content courtesy of Dispatch Coffee

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UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED, ALL PRODUCTS REVIEWED BY A TABLE IN THE CORNER OF THE CAFE ARE UNSOLICITED SUBMISSIONS FROM THE PRODUCT MANUFACTURER. TO LEARN MORE ABOUT A TABLE IN THE CORNER OF THE CAFE, OUR REVIEW PROCESS, HOW TO SUBMIT PRODUCTS FOR REVIEW, OR SIMPLY TO CONTACT US, PLEASE VISIT OUR ABOUT PAGE

New Harvest Coffee Roasters // Honduras Los Portillos

Adolfo Reyes Portillos farm lies on the fertile volcanic slopes surrounding Lake Yojoa in the village of El Cielito, Santa Barbara, Honduras. Like many farmers in the region, he has found great success in the Cup of Excellence program, placing seventh in 2010. With the winnings from that auction, he was able to expand his farm and build a small wet mill on his property to ensure that his coffee is processed correctly.*

Welcome to my Table, here in the corner of this cafe. Today we’re sipping the Honduras Los Portillos, from New Harvest Coffee Roasters in Pawtucket, Rhode Island, courtesy of Craft Coffee. Feel free to pull up a chair.

THEDETAILS

origin: El Cielito, Santa Barbara, Honduras
farm: N/A
producer: Adolfo Reyes Portillo
association: N/A
elevation: 1530 meters above sea level
cultivars: Pacas
process: fully washed, patio dried

CUPPINGNOTES

The aroma of the Honduras Los Portillos is stunning, and immediately seizes my attention. It’s bright and lively, bursting with scents of red berries, stone fruit, and citrus, all of which play off a backdrop of cocoa powder.

And as I take my first few sips from the cup, its flavor profile is even more stunning. This is a medium-bodied coffee with a tremendously juicy mouthfeel, as from the very start, bright, juicy fruit flavors come splashing onto my tongue like a flood. Jaw-dropping flavors of raspberry, apricot, tangerine, and lime entice the taste buds, rounding out with a crisp, clean finish.

FINALTHOUGHTS

 

*content courtesy of New Harvest Coffee Roasters

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UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED, ALL PRODUCTS REVIEWED BY A TABLE IN THE CORNER OF THE CAFE ARE UNSOLICITED SUBMISSIONS FROM THE PRODUCT MANUFACTURER. TO LEARN MORE ABOUT A TABLE IN THE CORNER OF THE CAFE, OUR REVIEW PROCESS, HOW TO SUBMIT PRODUCTS FOR REVIEW, OR SIMPLY TO CONTACT US, PLEASE VISIT OUR ABOUT PAGE