There's no denying it - we're suckers for juicy, bright, and fruit-forward coffees. So, we always look forward to new coffees from Kenya, and our second Kenya of the year, Karuthi, is a banger. Berry lemonade, white grape, and sugarplum flavors in a bright, full-bodied cup.
We were lucky enough to spend some time at the Karuthi factory and at the Othaya Cooperative’s cupping lab and dry mill this January, and we’re pleased to offer two coffees from Othaya this year (we’re following Karuthi with a peaberry from Gatuyaini Factory). Othaya Farmers Cooperative Society is a group of approximately 10,000 coffee growers in Nyeri County, who deliver their coffee to 17 different factories, or wet mills. 378 of these farmers bring coffee to the cooperative's Karuthi factory, where it is washed in the traditional Kenyan style, and dried slowly on raised beds.
We’re psyched on Othaya in large part because the society also manages its own dry milling and quality control. While many other factories deliver their coffee to foreign-owned dry mills, Othaya has its own cupping lab and dry mill in Nyeri, so the factories get feedback and have a bit more control over whether their coffees are sold directly to buyers like Huck, or go to auction. Everyone we met at Othaya was great, but it's worth saying that David, who runs the Othaya lab and mill, is the man. Furthermore, Othaya and a few other Cooperative Societies export their coffee collectively as Kenyan Cooperative Coffee Exporters. Kenyan owned, Kenyan operated. And the coffee’s delicious.
This is easily one of the most interesting and complex coffees in our lineup - we taste the juicy citrus pop we've come to expect from the best Kenyans, deep sugary sweetness, and loads of fruit, especially blackberry, plum and white grape. We’re hyped on our second Kenya of the year and our first of two from the Othaya Farmers Cooperative Society.
$ 18.50 $ 20.00
Wolichu Wachu is our second coffee from the Uraga area of Ethiopia's sky-high Guji Zone, and was one of our favorite washing stations from our visit to Ethiopia this past winter. Wolichu is our coffee of the month for November!
This area of Guji is a relatively new player in the specialty coffee scene. The area has amazing growing conditions, and has had the potential for great coffee for a while now, but is exceedingly remote and difficult to reach. Coffee buyers weren't visiting, there was a lack of infrastructure and investment due to lack of name recognition. So, a good amount of coffee from Guji was moved over to Yirgacheffe and sold under the name of Ethiopia's most famous coffee region.
Luckily, thanks in part to some changes in Ethiopia's regulatory structure and the way coffees are sold, washing stations from Guji are now seeking a name for themselves and the coffees have been among our favorites for the past few years.
Wolichu Wachu is a beautiful station, and was among our favorite places we visited in Ethiopia. The coffee is beautiful, too - complex and delicate. We're tasting melon, nectarine, and earl grey tea with a bit more bergamot than usual in our third washed Ethiopia of 2019.
Hambella picks up the fruit where Chelbesa Natural left off. Our second Ethiopian natural of the 2019 harvest is fruit-forward, creamy, and delicious.
Coffee is the seed of a fruit, and most of the coffee we roast and drink is washed - that is, the fruit is removed from the seed before drying. For this lot from Hambella Washing Station and other natural-process coffees, the coffee is dried with the fruit still intact, and the dried cherry is removed during milling. This process imparts a uniquely fruity, jammy quality to the coffee, though improper and uneven drying carries a distinct risk of off, funky flavors and early fading. The best naturals, though, taste like a blend of coffee and fruit punch.
370 smallholders in the woreda (village) of Hambella pick their ripe coffee cherry and deliver it to the Hambella Washing Station, where it is sorted for ripeness, laid out on raised beds, and further sorted over the course of several weeks’ drying time. We tasted dozens of naturals from throughout Ethiopia this year to follow up to Chelbesa, and this lot from the Guji Zonewas a standout for its sweet fruit and creamy body.
Hambella should be an easy choice for all you fruit-forward coffee lovers out there. We’re tasting ripe strawberry, blueberry, mango, and a sweet cream in our mugs.
Guatemala is always on our minds here at Huckleberry, and even though the coffees from the AProCafé El Grano Growers Association might only be on our menu for a few months each year, these coffees represent year-round work and commitment from both Huck and the growers. After months of work and a bit of waiting, we’re always stoked to drop Atitlán el Grano back into the lineup.
Lake Atitlán is a truly stunning body of water, surrounded by mountains on all sides, and three volcanoes on its southern shore. The coffee growers of AProCafé are based on the southwest shore of the lake and the slope of Volcan San Pedro. Their rich volcanic soil, combined with well-managed organic growing practices and careful processing, contribute to a delicious coffee year after year. AProCafé farmers also consider themselves stewards of the environment, growing their coffee with only organic inputs and taking care to properly treat their processing water. Petrochemical fertilizers and improperly treated water from washing stations have contributed to various environmental problems in the area, including increased algae on the lake over the past decade. AProCafé is one of several grower groups around Atitlán working to improve the environment while also producing tasty coffee.
Huckleberry has been roasting coffee from AProCafé el Grano since 2015, and have been working hands-on with these growers since day one. Several years ago we worked with the group to develop their first single farmer microlot program, and have used a portion of proceeds from our holiday Sister Winter blend each year to help the group with a variety of projects. AProCafé has used Sister Winter funds to purchase and apply organic-approved leaf rust prevention treatments, to build raised drying beds to improve coffee processing, and a portion of funds from 2018-19 helped the association build a few more drying beds and purchase a new depulper for some of the group’s more remote farmers.
While we’ve had special single farm microlots each year, this year’s main lot from AProCafé is equally special, and may be our best multi-farmer coffee from the group to date. While AProCafé does produce excellent coffees from all 40+ farmers, this year we worked with the group, and with exporting partner Caravela, to take it a step further. This year we cupped dozens of single farmer coffees to build a lot that we’re blending into Blue Orchid and Sound and Vision, this lot that we’re selling as Atitlán el Grano, and separated 3 small single farmer coffees to showcase as microlots.
This year’s Atitlán el Grano is balanced, deeply sweet, but also packs plenty of complexity - we’re tasting caramel, black cherry, plum, orange, and cocoa, and are looking forward to brewing it up as both a filter coffee and espresso over the next several months. Keep an eye out for the single farm coffees from these growers, but don’t overlook the main lot - it’s tasty as hell.
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