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Simon's Coffee Travels — specialty coffee RSS

Rwanda Specialty Coffee

The country of Rwanda has changed a great deal since my first visit in 2005 —  English has replaced French as the primary second language, they have created a great deal of business infrastructure and established themselves as the business center of central African. Coffee growing has also changed a great deal, too. Rwanda has adopted much of the African coffee growing technique in terms of washing and drying.  Before the genocide most Rwandan coffee was commercial, low grade and sold to Belguim. After the genocide, when the world came to Rwanda’s doorstep, coffee was recognized as having a specialty coffee foundation similar to Kenya and Tanzania. New methods were adopted and upgraded including coffee cherry picking procedures, washing stations,...

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Guatemala Micro Climates

I have learned over the years that the micro-climates vary dramatically within Guatemala. One region will have very distinct rich, nutritious soil and plentiful rainfall, neighbored closely by a region that is bursting with mostly sunshine. For example, Antiqua produces exceptional coffee that bursts from great soil.  Sadly, there will be a farm right next door where the soil looks like something you’d make roads with, and little nutritious value whatsoever.  Another example is Coban, a region that gets much more rainfall than other the other.  The more mountainous an area,  the more differentiation in the growing conditions.  Additionally, Guatemala is such a narrow country it is greatly influenced by the ocean and Carribbean from either side.  All of this...

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Sumatra Medan Cupping

Traveling through Sumatra means cupping coffee at every stop. This coffee origin values the pursuit of quality and verification of consistency.   They have a good infrastructure of quality control and labs, more so than most other countries. Coffees from these small specialty coffee farms sell at a premium so they are able to reinvest in future crops and people.  This coffees flavor profile is unique because the beans are grown in more of a jungle forest rather than mountain forest.  These more humid growing conditions impart a deep wild flavor to the coffee.

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Sumatra Takengon

It is humbling to walk down a road in a small mountain village, such as this one in the Takengon region, and see homeowners raking and drying their coffee in the sun in front of their homes. This is a type of garden-like farming and is very special to witness the great care each family takes in growing their crop of coffee beans.  All coffees are taken from the individual homes to the Junus family mill where I was assured fair payments are made to these small individual farmers.

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