A delicious new coffee season has begun in Ottawa as fresh coffees from South America and Central Africa have arrived to replace those coffees from Central American and Ethiopia that are going out of season. We are pleased to bring back a few Southern Season favourites this year while introducing some new coffees that we have not had the pleasure of knowing in the past.
Colombia Piendamó is a coffee that we have started the southern harvest season with. It is a terrific coffee grown by small organic producers around the town of Piendamó, Cauca. It is cultivated and harvested on the eastern slopes of the Cordillera Occidental, the westernmost of the three Andean mountain ranges of Colombia. The coffee is slightly sweet with balanced acidity and boasts a very respectable mouthfeel. The flavours when roasted to a full medium are somewhat chocolaty and nutty, making it a very broadly appealing coffee.
Next up for the season are two recently released coffees from around 1000 km to the southwest of Piendamó in southern Ecuador and northern Peru: Ecuador Zumba and Peru Amazonas. These coffees, combined with the Piendamó from Colombia, round out the core of the medium roast offering for the season. Zumba, from Ecuador, is named after the town in the Zamora-Chinchipe department around which the producers grow this coffee. The Amazonas from Peru is similarly named after the department in northwestern Peru where this coffee originates. Both of these coffees, as with all of our full medium roasts, are selected for ripe selection and clean processing to yield a sweet and clean cup with ample roast development for the flavour to carry through nicely in milk. Taken black these coffees offer flavours that are carmaelly, sugary and nutty while offering some unique characteristics owing to their specific origins. The Amazonas features some pastry-like and very slight tropical fruit aromas, while the Zumba features an orange floral aroma that I really love.
In the next weeks we have a few more coffees to add to the medium roast line up. Later in March we are excited to bring back a coffee from the ASOCAFE cooperative based in Taipiplaya, Bolivia that we haven’t featured since 2013. Bolivia Tapipiplaya is among the more lively of coffee’s we’ll have for the season with a juicy acidity and a caramelly, toasty, nutty aroma profile that is reminiscent of caramel brittle. We are also launching in March a single farm coffee from an individual member of the CENFROCAFE cooperative in Jaén, Peru - Efrain Carhuallocllo (Kar-hwa-yolk-yo) which will be a rare, delicious treat that will only last a few weeks.
Looking further ahead in April we look forward to the release of coffee from Uganda in addition to another single producer coffee from Peru.
As for the dark roast line up, we are getting set to transition into Southern Season offerings from Colombia, Peru and the Democratic Republic of the Congo! We will be finishing the last of our supplies from Mexico and Nicaragua from this past harvest and will be rolling out Colombian Dark, Andean Dark (from two sources in Northern Peru) and Congolese Dark. Each of these have their own characteristics when roasted to a dark degree, offering slight variations on the smoky and powerful roast character you get from high temperature roasting. Look out for all of these to be in stores by mid April!
There’s nothing quite like excellent African coffee. Uganda Bukonzo Owemba joins Congolese Dark for this season’s slate of coffees from the region, but there are a few things you might not know about this great medium roast. The coffee comes from the Bukonzo Joint Cooperative in the Rwenzori Mountains in western Uganda - this member-owned cooperative of 5,500 small farms raises high-quality, organically grown, hand-picked coffee. It is also 83% owned by women members!
Bukonzo Joint was founded in 1999 to serve the poor, isolated farming communities in Bukonzo county, which, due to war, poverty, and location, has been marginalized in the past. The central focus of the cooperative’s operations is offering sustainable financial and capacity building services to the economically disadvantaged. Bukonzo Joint is committed to improving the living standards of the rural poor, and ensuring that they are active participants in the economic, social, and political development of Bukonzo county.Bukonzo Joint is headquartered in Kyarumba town, Kasese district. Its operations in Bukonzo county’s sub-counties of Kyarumba, Kyondo, Kisinga, Lake Katwe, Maliba and Mahango, include marketing its farmers’ organic coffee; micro-finance, such as providing agriculture and small business loans to members; and member training and skills development. In addition to its more than 5,500 farmers, Bukonzo Joint has a full-time staff of 29, over 140 part-time volunteers, and fourteen training officers.
This is our second year working with Bukonzo and we’re extremely pleased with the progress of the relationship thus far. The cooperative has been supported heavily in recent years by a celebrated development project with significant energy being put specifically into quality related investments such as milling, storage, transportation and quality assessment capacities. As a result of these investments we are seeing some extraordinary progress in consistency and tastiness of the coffee sold as “Owemba” lot – a local word for ‘something outstanding’.
The coffee is roasted medium to highlight its exceptional cleanliness and sweetness; the taste is full and balanced with ample sweetness and acidity. Flavours are in the categories of dried fruit (raisin-like), toasted nuts and rooibos-like earthy (a flavour that we find is characteristic of many coffees from that part of Africa).
Uganda Bukonzo Owemba will be available through August/September!
Thanks for supporting the Homework Club again this year!
We always have a great time when we visit the Boys and Girls Club of Ottawa and on Tuesday we got to hang out with the Homework Club again! It marked the end of our three-month long fundraiser with the sale of EK #65 Blend, a great coffee that Ottawa Senator Erik Karlsson helped to us develop for BGCO.
$2 from every pound of EK #65 Blend sold went to the Homework Club. Thanks to you, we were able to donate over $11,000 to a community program that provides a safe and supportive environment for children and youth to get after-school help with their homework, to form solid friendships, and to be active.
Our sincere and special thanks to Erik Karlsson for working with us again this year. We cannot thank him enough for his support. Without him, we would not have been able to raise the $22,000 between this year and last.This year’s Most Valuable Supporter award? Hats off (again!) to our Bank and Second Avenue coffeehouse team who defended the blue line in true Karlsson style to retain their title! From November through February almost one out of every five bags of coffee bought at Second was a bag of EK #65 Blend to support the Homework Club. Our thanks to them for driving this fundraiser so much - they really hit the ball out of the park (puck out of the rink?)!