We're welcoming three new coffees to our lineup and saying goodbye to blue labels for the season. Together, we drank all the Kunjin and Tana Toraja. These have been two stellar coffees for us, with growers that we hope to highlight again once these coffees come back in season. Two of our new coffees, Mexico La Cuesta and El Salvador San Rafael, fit a similar crowd-pleasing role to the profiles of Tana and Kunjin. The third, Kenya Karatina, is definitely on the adventurous side of interesting coffees and a delicious choice for anyone in the mood for a bright cup.
A little about these tasty beans. New Kenyan coffees are super exciting for our roaster and baristas. Thanks to a combination of high altitude, plant varieties and meticulous washing, the best Kenyans are among the most interesting and enjoyable coffees on the planet. Karatina, grown by the Barichu cooperative and washed at the Karatina Factory (wet mills are called factories in Kenya) is a great example of a classic Kenyan profile - high acidity, currant, a bit of savory complexity, super clean. Juicy, very bright, and fruity - we say nectarine, pink grapefruit, raw sugar, and currant on the bags. This coffee also has a round, slightly creamy body, and it's a clear choice for pourover or hot-over-iced coffee, but if you're willing to step out on a limb, it should be a wild and super tasty single origin espresso, too.
San Rafael comes to us from the twenty one member ACOPARSAR cooperative in Sonsonante, El Salvador. We buy from several cooperatives of small farms, but San Rafael has an innovative twist on the cooperative model. These growers collectively own and operate a single large farm together, where they grow this coffee. It's much more straightforward than Karatina, which can make for a consistent and satisfying cup of coffee. We taste roasted walnut, peach cobbler, a bit of chocolate, and buttery pie crust. We'll use this as our classic batch brew, since this is a coffee that works great on its own or with cream.
Finally, La Cuesta. Two years ago, our best Central American coffee was Ixhuatlan, from Veracruz. Last year though, thanks to leaf rust, drought, and a few other climate concerns, all the Mexican coffees we tried didn't meet our Huckleberry standards. But La Cuesta and Caravela Coffee (importer and exporter) have our team excited about Mexican coffees this year. Caravela, who help us source the delicious Las Brisas, is based in Colombia, but have branched out to Mexico, El Salvador, and Nicaragua. They're arguably the best in the industry at identifying great small farmers, then building the best possible lots from those farms. Francisco Caraza and his farm, Finca La Cuesta, show just how good Mexican coffee can be, and this year, we purchased all of his top-quality coffee. It's a relatively small lot that we'll probably only have for two months or less. We taste deep caramel sweetness, raisin, subdued orange, and chocolate malt.