Remember when Prince had a label dispute, used an unpronounceable symbol for his name and had to call himself The Artist Formerly known as Prince? This is kinda like that, minus the label dispute. Think of El Desarollo as The Coffee formerly Known as Matambo. And while not impossible, if you're having trouble with the pronunciation, this is not your favorite chocolate-covered caramel; it's Spanish, it's pronounced des-a-roy-o, and it means development.
Legend has it that long ago, a giant named Matambo lay to rest in Huila, forming a massive mountain that dominates the region's landscape. The nearby town is now known as Gigante, and while we've called this coffee Matambo in the past, it felt like time for a refresh, and a name that honors the farmers who produce this coffee.
The best Colombias - and particularly the best Huilas - pull off a balance between approachability and exciting flavors that few other origins can match. This latest crop is a perfect example of that balance, popping with red berry and plum fruitiness, but rounding out the pop with dark honey and buttery pie crust sweetness.
Huck has been purchasing and roasting coffee from the El Desarollo Coffee Growers Association for four years now, and year after year the coffee is dependably complex, sweet, and balanced. We had the pleasure of visiting these growers in August of 2017 with Caravela, one of our favorite sourcing partners who we work with throughout Latin America. Read more about that visit here to see why we're stoked for yet another great year with the El Desarollo Growers Association and the long game with these growers and Caravela in Colombia.
We think El Desarollo has something for everyone. Plenty of traditional coffee flavors and sweetness for those who prefer a more approachable or milk-friendly mug, but also packing juicy, fruity flavors and high-end brightness to please folks who prefer more adventurous coffees. Year 4 of this gem from Gigante, and we’re looking forward to brewing it for the next few months!
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While Huck loves to work with the same producers year after year, it’s always fun to bring in new coffees that have found their way into our hearts. Enter Hacienda Casablanca, nestled in the Santander region of Colombia. When our head roaster, Shelby, won the 2019 US Coffee Roasters Championship, part of the prize was a trip to Colombia with Ally Coffee. Casablanca was one of the many impressive farms from that trip.
Casablanca is aptly named for the lavish, white Spanish villa built on the farm during colonial times. Liliana Caballero grew up in the area, and always had an affinity for the old white house and the land it sat on, so when she purchased the villa and a portion of the old hacienda in the early 2000s, she kept named her land after the beautiful white house..
When Liliana first purchased the 20 hectare farm, it was mostly planted with the rust-resistant Tabi variety. This failed to live up to Liliana’s high quality standards, and with the aim of improving the coffee’s cup quality, Liliana has consistently worked to renovate the farm, replacing Tabi with Colombia, Castillo, Bourbon and Gesha trees--not a cheap investment.
More than 10 years have passed since Liliana purchased Hacienda Casablanca, and her efforts have not gone unnoticed. Beyond the farm’s well-known beauty, Casablanca earned some well-deserved fame by competing in the 2016 National Yara Championship (a coffee quality competition) and taking first place!
During the Champs Trip, Shelby tasted coffees from several farms, but kept comparing the others to the sweet and fruity coffees from Casablanca. This particular coffee is a blend of Castillo and Gesha varieties, and with notes of brown sugar, raspberry, lime, and macadamia nut, it doesn’t disappoint.
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This is Huck's second year roasting coffee from farmers in East Timor's Letefoho district, and this year’s crop delivers big sweetness and approachable flavors.
Coffees from the Pacific islands can be big, bold, and in better cases, a good kind of earthy. But the wet hulled process that’s common in the region - in which the coffee’s protective parchment layer is removed before drying - lends itself to premature fade and vegetal, funky flavors. So, we specifically seek out washed coffees from the islands, dried in their parchment to preserve the goodness and keep out the funk. The tiny country of East Timor has been on the comeup the past few years, in large part by focusing on fully washed coffees.
Cafe Brisa Serena is a social enterprise that works with farmers in East Timor's Letefoho district to improve growing and processing practices, obtain organic certification, and access the specialty market. This particular coffee comes from organic-certified family farms in the tiny village of Eratoi, and is all washed on-farm, rather than at a centralized mill.
If you like your coffees big and approachable, this is the ticket. It’s not a dark roast, but we do develop this coffee just a touch further than most of our single origins to accentuate its body and chocolate flavors. Beyond the big body and chocolate, raisin, walnut and pastry sweetness round out the cup. Letefoho is nuanced, but at the same time traditional, approachable, and pleasing with (cow or alternate) milk or on its own.
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Bosque de Marfil is back for its second year in the Huck lineup, and we’re excited to brew this one up again over the winter and spring. Black cherry, nougat, and molasses flavors dominate a complex, but sweet and comforting cup.
Bosque de Marfil is the name of a forest in the center of Ecuador’s southernmost Loja province, and the 44 farmers who produce this coffee call this forest home. Sitting high in the Limo mountain range, the bosque provides great shade for coffee production, and abundant natural resources that help these farmers earn secondary income in the months between one coffee harvest and the next.
As is the case with many of our Latin American coffees, we’re excited to source Bosque de Marfil through Caravela Coffee. Caravela helps ensure us dependably great coffees, and provides farmers with access to on-farm assistance plus fair, transparent pricing structures. It’s a win-win, and it makes them one of our favorite partners in Latin America.
As far as the cup goes, it’s a sweet, delicious ride. Cherry cola sweetness, molasses sweet-spice, and a touch of green apple brightness, with a syrupy body. It’ll hold up to milk just great, and we’ll be brewing it plenty as a single origin espresso, but we’re also jazzed to drink this black - it’s a lively and juicy everyday drinker.
Winter and spring are a time for Southern Hemisphere coffees to shine, and this season we're excited to offer two coffees from Rwanda. We've roasted the last of Ejo Heza, but are following that up with another cooperative-produced coffee: Kirorero.
It's been a few years, but Kirorero is Huck's second coffee from COOPAC cooperative. Some of y'all may remember Kigeyo from a few winters past. COOPAC was formed in 2001 with just over 110 farmers, but now boasts over 8,000 small farmers split among several washing stations - including Kirorero and Kigeyo - on the shores of Lake Kivu. COOPAC has long been a leader in promoting organic coffee farming in Rwanda, so we're excited to have the cooperative back in our linuep.
One of the reasons we love Rwandan coffee is that the Lake Kivu area is planted almost entirely in Bourbon, a coffee variety that lends a deep, sugary, syrupy sweetness. Beyond variety, rich red clay soil, meticulous picking and sorting, careful processing all work together to layer that sweetness with sparkling acidity and complexity. In comparison to our other Rwandan and Burundian coffees this year, Kirorero is a softer take on the fruit we tasted in Ejo Heza and Gitwe. We're picking up notes of yellow pear and dried cranberry, balanced with sweet graham cracker and baking spice.
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