Los Angeles Coffee Festival 2018

 
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Tradeshows can often feel cold and corporate, Global Coffee Trading is not about that. Luckily our sister city of Los Angeles hosted the first ever Los Angeles Coffee Festival, organized by Allegra Events. This was Global’s debut at a tradeshow and we wanted to best represent our company ethos.  

We believe our job is to connect the two pillars of our industry: the producer and the roaster. We don't buy coffee like most; we don't always look for the cheapest price, the popular regions, or the trendy varieties. We buy most of our coffees with the distinct intention to inject dignity and empathy into the coffee industry. You can see it written all over the faces of the hard-working farmers that truly make this possible, and that's what makes it all worth it. This is why we love sourcing coffee in Mexico and promoting this origin as an up-and-coming specialty producer.

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We decided to partner up with Ensambles Coffee of Veracruz, Cafetaleros de la Concordia from Chiapas, Neekuun Coffee from Veracruz and we brought Israel Paz, our Global Coffee Mexico Country Director. Together we brought the essence of Mexico to our booth, to make this a sensory experience we decided to showcase roasts of Mexican lots by our customers: Forge Coffee, Hope Coffee, Jones Coffee, Modern Times & Spanish Peaks. We also tried other origins roasted by Coffee & Tea Collective, Milka Coffee Roasters and 7 Seas Roasting.  These coffees were served as espressos thanks to a collaboration with Faema Espresso Machines who loaned us one of their beautiful E61 machines. 

The booth came to life thanks to our guests:

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Gibran Cervantes of Ensambles(pictured on the left): Global Loteria Lots. Gibran charmed and educated the masses on Biodynamic farming practices. Beyond "responsible farming" biodynamic practices are regenerative intent on healing the planet through agriculture. 

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Karina Arguello & Jose Arguello of Cafetaleros de la Concordia: Organic La Concordia Lot. The Arguello siblings enjoyed many firsts: their first trip to the U.S., first time cupping with the roasters of their coffee, and the first time eating a Taiwanese dessert with mung beans.

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Javier & Eduardo Debernadi of Neekuun Coffee: El Olvido & Chachaxtla Lot.  These guys not only know how to manage multiple farms but can also pull amazing espresso shots and make killer pour-overs.

We paired these espressos with Oaxacan chocolate by Caracol Purpura, a boutique chocolatier from Oaxaca City. Pairings also included candied fruit brought over from Mexico City, including candied yams, pineapple, pears, oranges & prickly pear.

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Mexico Origin Update

 
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Finca Santa Cruz: La Concordia, Chiapas 

A few months ago a sample arrived at the laboratory, which literally “blew my mind”, it took me by surprise. The fragrant notes of jasmine brought up memories of flower fields in the spring, This coffee had a complex citrusy flavor, intense sweetness, pleasant aftertaste, and a well-defined character. It was undoubtedly a Gesha. I needed to find out more about the provenance of this coffee.

The opportunity came about to travel where the seeds of this Gesha are grown, and a few months later I finally got to visit the farm. Everything on this trip was special: the coffee, the producers, the farms and the state traveled to: Chiapas.

For several days I devoted myself to researching the Chiapas region. Chiapas is a state in Mexico that is characterized by its natural wealth, multiculturalism, but above all the biodiversity it harbors. Located to the south, Chiapas borders the Mexican states of Oaxaca, Veracruz, and Tabasco, as well as Guatemala.

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This Gesha comes from the municipality of La Concordia which is part of the Fraylesca region and is located to the southeast of the state. I was heading to Finca Santa Cruz, in the community of Las Delicias. To get here it requires several stops and transfers and about 19 hours of travel from Oaxaca City to get to this magnificent farm. The travel times was absolutely worth it.

The adventure began when I boarded a bus in Oaxaca City, bound for Tuxtla Gutiérrez, capital of the state of Chiapas. The trip lasted almost 11 hours. There is no direct transportation to the municipality of La Concordia, and have to use a collective taxi that took me to the municipality of Independencia, the trip lasted 3 hours! When I arrived my friend Christian López (Operations Manager for Ensambles Cafe Mexicanos) was already waiting for me to go to the municipality of Jaltenango, it took another hour to travel between Independencia and Jaltenango. We decided to stay for the night and to continue the following day.

We left at 6 a. m. to go to Paraiso, a community that is part of La Concordia, where we met with the producers of CAFECO and then head to Finca Santa Cruz, which took us another 2 hours of traveling, but we were finally there!

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The main objectives of this trip were to facilitate a quality improvement workshop to prepare the farm for the upcoming harvest.  We met with producers from the surrounding areas and members of the CAFECO organization, to which Finca Santa Cruz belongs to.  

The Quality Improvement Workshop was given by Christian, who shared the basics of harvesting ripe cherries, wet processing and drying practices, as well as basic elements of fermentation. The producers learned about methods that influenced the quality of their coffees and the processes to improve it. The theoretical-practical workshop culminated with the commitment of the attendees to implement these practices on their farms and on the importance of gradually improving quality as the axis of development.

The intervention of CAFECO and Ensambles in the region through the organization of this training was of vital importance for the people who attended because now they can implement these techniques. I left with the expectation that there will be other great coffees coming from this municipality for the Global Book!

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Guatemala Sourcing Summary

 

Huehuetenango has quickly become one of my favorite regions. I would dare to say that it is one of the regions with more diversity in flavors in all of Guatemala. Its mountainous areas are home to some of the most exotic and unique coffees. For me, working with producers from Huehuetenango is like having found a treasure chest. This year we have worked with small and medium producers including Faustino Gomez and Hector Pablo for our Todos Santos lot. The challenge here is infrastructure. The road for the Huehuetenango producing areas oscillate between 6-8 hours of road. It really is a challenge to enter the coffee growing areas. The roads are in poor condition, it is a mountainous and rocky area. But once you get to the destination, the challenge becomes not wanting to leave!  Huehuetenango is a majestic place. 

Every year, at the beginning of November and December, we travel to the different regions of Guatemala and visit coffee producers with whom we’ve worked before and we project the new harvest. During these visits we seek to learn results from the work we have done year after year while looking for the weakest points to improve. But there are factors that we cannot control, one of these factors are climatic changes. This year in Antigua, Guatemala we witnessed one of the strongest and most catastrophic eruptions of Volcán de Fuego’s history. The eruptions destroyed villages completely and many coffee plots ceased to exist due to lava and ash. Here the challenge will be time, a coffee plant takes 4 years to produce coffee. For many this is their first and only income and it is catastrophic to learn that they will not produce more coffee. Many of the producers we work with in Antigua have small plots on the slopes of this volcano and the biggest concern is not having their coffee for the 2019 harvest. The social economic situation of this affected area of great concern.  

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Estate Spotlight: Finca Los Papales

 
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The quality of Nicaraguan coffee has exponentially increased over the last few years. Our Nicaragua & Honduras Country Director, Rosario Castellon, lives in the capital city of Managua where she sources certified coffees and microlots for the Global book. Nicaragua’s recent history has been tainted by a bloody Civil War, but the country entered the 21st century with hopes of putting it all behind.

This year Nicaraguan socio-political tensions resurfaced in mid-April, intensifying in May, June & July. Directly affecting producers, coops and exporters around the country. Demonstrations were curtailed with violence and terror. The daily lives of people have been severely altered with shootings happening every night. Close to 400 deaths have been verified in the past three months with around 300 people missing and over 2,000 wounded. A national tragedy during the most important months of coffee exporting. Finca Los Papales in Jinotega, Nicaragua found itself in the midst of these injustices being led by the government. The city of Jinotega saw violent confrontations and the mill had to evacuate. 

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Nonetheless the logistics team from Finca Los Papales and our country director were able to coordinate the export of our lots during interim periods of amity. These two coffees have had a difficult trajectory, but they signify the hope for a better future during these dire times in our loved Nicaragua.

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YELLOW CATUAI 
Farm:
Los Papales
Producer:
Martha Veronica Lopez
Varietal:
Yellow Catuai 
Processing:
Triple Fermentation Washed Processing 
Bags:
36
Warehouse:
The Annex 
Certification:
RFA
Notes:
brown sugar, mango, juicy body, floral

 
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NATURAL PACAMARA
Farm:
Los Papales
Producer:
Martha Veronica Lopez
Varietal:
Pacamara
Processing:
Natural Process 
Bags:
70
Warehouse:
The Annex 
Certification:
RFA
Notes:
clean, medium body, vanilla, tangerine