OK, we admit this news is slightly overdue but we are here nonetheless as we officially launch the new iteration of our Four Chairs Espresso, version 3!
The coffee rust disease that is sweeping through Central America last year is really affecting our producers hugely. Many have experienced big drops in coffee harvests compared to previous year. This in turn makes our job even more challenging this year as we have to seek out even more producers for that cup of coffee that we feel works for us. The good news is that even though quantity has suffered greatly, quality on the other hand has improved with noticeable results on the cupping table.
We visited El Salvador in February earlier in the year and caught up with our friends from the Pacas family, who operates Café Tuxpal, a wet and dry mill that processes the family’s farms as well as a couple of other partner farms that they are working with to improve the quality of their coffees. This year, we saw new raised drying beds which are used to dry some of the coffees and a huge demand for naturals (also known as dry-processed coffee) from their clients. The processing in this facility has always impressed us greatly, especially the approach to the high standards of quality that Federico and Lily Pacas have instilled in the team. A trip to Finca Santa Petrona also reiterated our beliefs that we are working with people who really care about their coffee. The following day, we cupped the coffees from this farm and we knew we have to buy all that was available to us, especially when there is so little to go around this year! We selected a fully washed Red Bourbon varietal, which seem to bind the blend together so well. Credit goes to this coffee for those who love lots of chocolate in their cup.
Los Pirineos is a new farm that we are really excited to be working with. Introduced through our Norwegian sourcing partners, Nordic Approach, we travelled across half of El Salvador to get to the Tecapa volcano where the farm and mill are both perched high on the top of the mountain. Gilberto Baraona owns and runs this farm that has been with his family since 1890! The day before the trip, we cupped 40+ coffees in the evening with him - his way of introducing his coffees to us! We were really impressed with some of the cups that we tasted and even more fascinated by his scientific approach to processing his coffees. We chose a Bourbon Heirloom (also known as Bourbon Elite, imported from Guatemala in 1890), fully washed and super clean tasting. Lots of sweetness from this coffee, and it doesn’t pale in acidity too.
Finishing up with the last coffee in this new blend, it is a farm that we also bought from two years back from the Mierisch family in Nicaragua. This year, we cupped a fully washed red Catuai from Finca San Jose and loved the immense sweetness and mouthfeel that came through from it. We also celebrate working with Erwin Mierisch and his family for the third consecutive year and we cannot be more grateful to their support to us since day one.
After weeks of test roasting, cupping, blending and trialling with customers who walk through our doors, we think we might have nailed it.
With this blend, expect a really sweet and balanced coffee, with distinct notes of ripe cherries and berries. Notes of roasted nuts complemented by a creamy mouthfeel is nicely rounded off with a long, elegant finish. Some of you might find the new blend slightly differing from our usual style but we also like how coffee flavours can vary to allow us to produce something that is different but hopefully yet appealing to some of you.
Available now, in store or web - SGD19/300g