Coffees of the year 2018
It’s that time of the year when I like to review some of the incredible coffees we’ve seen this year. As I continually tell anyone who’ll listen to me we live in a golden age of coffee. The work at origin that goes into setting such a high bar is truly humbling and it’s tragic that so much is simply sold as commodity and left to the vagaries of New York “c” and a handful of hedge fund managers.
Thankfully there is an increasing interest in carefully prepared coffees with great heart-warming stories for which you the consumer is prepared to pay a premium and which in turn will ensure that these premium coffees continue to be produced. So it is with great pleasure that I present to you the coffee highlights of 2018.
I’ve got to start with Myanmar as I visited this origin earlier in the year with my great friend and fellow traveller Priscilla from DR Wakefield. Despite its troubles it’s an amazing country and the quality of the coffee we tasted was exceptional. It inspired me to import our first “natural” process coffee from the Blue Mountain estate, a European exclusive.
Although not a fashionable origin Ed who started with us this year keeps banging on about the quality of the Cuban Altura Lavado. it’s probably the least traceable of all the coffees we sell but has a “je ne sais quoi” element about it which Ed can explain at length to anyone who will listen. Therefore it makes the list.
A coffee which truly humbles me is from DR Congo and the Kawa Kanzururu Co-op. In fact given the political situation in this country it’s a wonder we see any coffee from this origin at all, let alone the quality that we receive. Trade not aid is a mantra I truly believe in.
The surprise coffee of the year came from Guatemala, a well-known origin but not a well-known varietal. “Laurina” has a chequered history and looks more like large grains of rice rather than coffee. It’s a heck of a challenge to roast as its size and dryness means that stuff happens in the drum at breakneck speed. The result though was a spectacular coffee. Real depth and super smooth. Sadly we were only able to get a single bag but we’ll keep our eyes open for it in 2019.
Next I turn to coffees that might just help us to save the planet. The Mexican “El Triunfo” biosphere reserve is a truly remarkable coffee. It comes from the south west of Mexico in a region that is hugely protected for its bio-diversity. It’s a great example of humanity living in balance with nature and proves that we don’t have to tear everything down in order to get what we want. Another coffee that came and went this summer but will be back on our books in 2019 if you missed it first time around.
The final coffee to make the list is Indian Gems of Araku. I visited this origin back in 2015 and was blown away by the immensity of the social and environmental projects taking place there. We’ve been unable to get this coffee for over a year now so it was a great relief for it to turn up just before Christmas. It’s also the first time we’ve ever brought in a coffee from a single origin processed in two very different ways. A social experiment by us on our customer’s taste buds.
I can’t believe that I’ve left so many other great coffees off the list. Brazil Daterra, Old Brown Java, Sumatra and Costa Rica community lots to name but a few and equally deserving. It’s been a huge privilege to handle such amazing coffees over the past 12 months and great credit has to go to DR Wakefield, the London based coffee importer for actually getting these coffees out of origin and to my little Island of Jersey.
Happy New Year and thank-you to all of you who have taken such an interest in what we do.