From the Source: Ethiopia, the Origin of Origins

Full containers of fresh crop Ethiopian offerings have started to breach our warehouse doors!:

current US Ethiopian offeringscurrent EU Ethiopian offerings, current AU Ethiopian offerings

With much anticipation, we are excited to share with you some closer looks at where these containers started their journey.

Please enjoy these slice-of-life "From the Source" video renditions from our visit to our producing partners in Yirgacheffe this past December. We have more media from Ethiopia coming, including interviews with our YCFCU partners. Expect to see more when those coffees arrive.

Ethiopia has a highly complex coffee system, unlike that of any other origin. To help streamline the language we use in distinguishing traceability in a seemingly untraceable system, we have put together a couple regional coffee maps to give you some context. 

Ethi_Yirg_coffeemaps.jpgFor a full-res version of the Ethiopia Regional Coffee Map click here 

For a full-res version of the Yirgacheffe Micro-Region Coffee Map click here

*Please note - these maps are not an "absolute" depiction of Ethiopia's growing regions. Our coffee mapping is a work in progress where-in discussion is encouraged. Our aim is to explore the use of maps as a tool to help refine the context we speak in regarding coffee growing regions vs. political boundaries. 

to view recent photos from our trip to Yirgacheffe during peak processing last December, click here



Introducing "Cafe Imports: From the Source"

There is a unique understanding in the specialty-coffee world that the people and places that foster coffee production are essential to the quality passed along to the cup. Responsible roasters and baristas strive to show respect to their products by getting to know them better.  The most passionate coffee professionals emit this value through taking an informed approach to coffee: strategically sourcing, impeccably roasting, and proudly serving something truly special to their clientele.

It is our understanding that, as an importer, we have a monumental role and opportunity to lend a hand in this information chain -- to link our producing partners' stories with the people who roast, brew, and serve their coffee.

In working with coffee producers from all over the globe, we seek to match the quality of their product by supplementing it with as much accurate, traceable, and intriguing information as we possibly can. This concept was the inspiration behind of our ever-expanding Beanology program.

We have recently expanded our coffee information team, and in the coming months, we plan to build out our Beanology library to a state that is more thorough than ever before. On top of that, over the past year, we have been experimenting with incorporating new forms of media, namely videos, into our coffee documentation; as an ever-evolving undertaking, it has slowly and steadily grown to a point where we feel it is officially dialed in. 

We would like to introduce our coffee education and documentation video series "Cafe Imports: From the Source".


Our video postings will be unlike that of an established media publication, ranging from frequent to infrequent depending on the season. A quality-over-quantity type of video content flow will be the goal, as sourcing, importing, and information gathering is our first order of business. 

Our aim with From the Source is to help contribute educational content to the specialty coffee-drinking world in a visual narrative that does the producers justice, as well as to simply create content that celebrates the beautiful people and places from which the world gets its coffee. 

You will find From the Source in the video page of our website's multimedia section, as well as in the header section of relevant beanologies. All videos can be directly downloaded from our vimeo pageand we welcome anyone to use them in their own marketing effortsIn the end, it is coffee that wins, and as lovers of coffee, that makes us all number one. 

We are also starting a "producer productions" channel on our video page, an open channel to which our producing partners may submit their own videos. We recently posted one from Colombia COE winner Carmen Cecilia Montaya, and we are excited to see this channel develop.

Today we kick off our From the Source series with an Ethiopia media roll-out. Three videos accompoanied by two regional coffee maps, and a photo album that we published earlier this year. 

There are no interviews in the videos we are releasing today; instead, they are simple, slice-of-life renditions from our visit this past December. We have more media from Ethiopia coming, including interviews with our YCFCU partners. Expect to see more when those coffees arrive.

From the Source will be a program which, if nothing else, can offer another a visual dynamic to your coffee knowledge.

Ultimately, it's value is for you to decide, afterall, art is subjective -- did I mention that the life surrounding coffee is straight-up artwork? Remind me to tell you about it later.

Thank you and please, Enjoy!

-- Andy Reiland

Andy is Cafe Imports' Media Pro.

Read more about Andy HERE.  Read other blogs by Andy HERE.

Community Coffees of Costa Rica

Coopetarrazu_header.jpgA few years ago we started a program with a number of coffee farmers in the Tarrazu region of Costa Rica and the Co-op they belonged to called Coopetarrazu.

This is a program that blossomed out of our efforts to know where specific coffees come from, to know the people that are growing them and to create a relationship with those farmers that benefits both of us, or all of us. image3__.jpg

Most farmers in this part of Costa Rica tend to deliver ripe cherries to a big mill or a cooperative, like Coopetarrazu, where it typically gets blended together during the wet milling process. So to keep the traceability of one farmer's coffee is very difficult or nearly impossible in a large wet mill like theirs because it is unreasonable to shut it down and clean it out between small batches'.


Coopetarrazu  was trying to find a way to support their members and at the same time, encourage top coffee production. Their idea was to separate the coffee of a specific community so that there was specificity of cup or final product and then the top coffees could fetch a higher price.  We offered to pay a 20 cent premium for high quality coffees, coffees over 86 points,  if they could trace the coffees back to a specific group of farmers or community.  They just have to all show up on the same day with trucks full of perfectly ripe cherries; not a small feat. We offered to pay this premium directly to the community so that they could use the funds for social programs or to support their communities in ways that they get to decide. The San Pedro community last year for instance decided to build a roof over the schools playground to serve as shade during hot days and keep the rain off during the rainy season. This worked to provide a place for local children to play in a healthy environment and keep them from walking around our playing futbol in the road.

This program has allowed us to separate lots from specific communities that score over 86 points and pay a quality premium that the individual communities get to receive and decide as a group how the money will be used to improve their coffee production and their livelihood.  We have seen the premiums used to build roads, build large water tanks to store fresh water for the community or like the example above, to build roofs for the children's schools.   This is our fourth year of this project and it has been a wonderful success story for the producers in this regions and Coopetarrazu as well.  Last year they integrated agricultural workshops in to the system where they brought agronomists in to the field to work with producers.

In 2014 they had 40 workshops which benefited 1800 people.  In 2015 they've had 20 workshops with 1300 people attending.  They hope to reach 2500 members this year with workshops.

The intent of Coopetarrazu is to continue to expand the program to benefit farmers in the greater Tarrazu community with educational workshops such as these:

  • Water quality for foliar application
  • Foliar nutrition for coffee
  • Fertilizer quality
  • Calibration of agricultural equipment
  • Pest control (rust, eye of rooster, antracnosis)
  • Weather forecast
  • Root system health
  • Tree Donation: Native trees, such as vetiver, are being donated to prevent soil erosion at the farm-level.

This Community Coffee program has made a real impact on the communities that deliver cherry to this mill.  Coopetarrazu has made a commitment to help to improve the lives of their members and offer them the opportunity of gaining higher quality premiums for their best coffees. This program has motivated these producers to keep improving their quality and their lives. We are proud to be their partner and very excited to see this year's harvest coming in; the quality has been impressive. 

- Andrew Miller


View all of our current Coopetarrazu offerings here

View our afloat Coopetarrazu offerings here


Read more posts from Andrew Miller 

photos by Jessica Brotzler and Andy Reiland


Welcome to our new Website!

We are proud to announce this milestone project that we've been working on - a new website that we feel truly encompasses the culture and driving principles of our company. 

Our internet vehicle for providing you the world's finest specialty coffees is more equipped than ever before!  (Just in time for SCAA - as if we didn't have anything else going on, right??). 

We believe our new website is an incredible resource for buying green coffee efficiently, for finding rich coffee media (including beautiful coffee photos and videos) and now more than ever, for access to Coffee Education.

Education is at the core of everything we do. It is truly one of our guiding principles, and we live it.  This new site is the result of the collaboration between all of our specialists and partners, both here and abroad. 

We are students and teachers in every facet of the chain of coffee, from the producer level to the barista level and we believe that paying forward experiences and lessons is the key to our industry progressing as a whole. For this reason, we have created a new education section to the website.

Our Education Section Includes:

In-depth Origin Information page: Coffee Producing Country Profiles

blog1.jpgAs well as freshly updated information, the origin pages are home to our new "World Coffee Maps" project, with the first batch of Regional Coffee Maps debuting for Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica and Ecuador (more coming soon!)


FREE Course downloads of the curriculum we have developed at the MPLS Coffee Mill.


Courses Available for Download Now:  "Seed to Cup" "Intro to Sample Roasting" and "Intro to Cupping"

A Processing Information page, a Harvest Calendar page, a Coffee Variety page and a page outlining our cupping process.

And we cannot forget to mention our expansive archive of photos and videos in the Multimedia Section found at the bottom of the homepage:

When searching for your coffee on our Offerings Page, the new website easily allows you to sort through our offerings by country, coffee type, or even search by flavor profile!  


The geographic location in the top tab allows you to sort by warehouse. You can also see future offerings by clicking on "Afloat". Here you will see all coffees on the water in route to us, and to which warehouse it is going! Clicking on "Open" will show you all coffees contracted but not yet shipped.

 We set out with the goal of building the best possible tool for our customers to fulfill their green coffee needs, both in terms of inventory and personal education. This site is our way of supporting you as our customers, friends, and most importantly, partners in finding homes for some of the world's finest specialty coffees. 

 We hope you enjoy and, as always, welcome any feedback over the coming months on how this can be improved even more for your needs. 


 The Cafe Imports Team 




The Jamaican Coffee Farmers Association

Watch the video above for a full run-down of a program we've initiated with a young band of Jamaican coffee farmers called the "Jamaican Coffee Farmers Association"

Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee is mainly produced by the Wallenford, Mavis Bank, Moy Hall, and Old Tavern Estates. It is consistently the highest priced coffee in the world. A typical Jamaican farmer will pick their own "cherry-berry" and drop them off to these estates for processing and to get paid. For the 15-20 years that we have been buying Jamaican coffee, we have not been able to work or communicate with the producers or farmers. In 2014, Cafe Imports President, Andrew Miller met a young Jamaican coffee farmer who is a member of the Jamaican Coffee Farmers Association, a group of about 250 small producers in Jamaica that are trying to band together, process their own coffee, and bypass the big estates' processing services. Since meeting and visting their farms in Jamaica, Cafe Imports has pre-financed Arthur and the Jamaican Coffee Farmers Associaton so that they can produce their own coffee.

We are very excited to be working with the JCFA, and we cannot wait to see where our relationship might take us.

Visit the Beanology here

USBC 2015

The 2015 US barista Championships have officially kicked off today in Long Beach California, and we couldnt be more excited. Once again we are proud to be contributing to the competition by providing top notch competition coffees sourced in partnership with an elite cast of Barista and Brewing competitors. 

Here is a run down of competitors/coffees that will provoke judges to have animated eyebrows this weekend at the USBC:

Barista Competition:

Nora Brady: Blueprint Coffee - Saint Louis, MO. Coffee: Ecuador Finca Maputo. Instagram & Twitter @snackpackbrady, @BlueprintCoffee 

"Nora is a lazer beam of focus, and a heart full of passion for what she does. Her drive toward pure excellence creates a wake which is full of people who strive after her example. When Nora has a goal, she will reach it. We are so excited to be partnering with her again this year in striving toward what many of us think is impossible, but she thinks is attainable, that perfect coffee experience." -Joe Marrocco

(click here to watch our interview with Nora From last years USBC)

David Bueher: Greenway Coffee - Houston, TX. Coffee: Ecuador Finca Maputo. Instagram & Twitter @greenwaybarista 

"David is one of those people that you want to bring home to meet the folks. He is a genuine, honest, food loving, pho slurping man. It is impossible to not have fun with David. People dream about driving around with this guy to eat food...I know I do. Thank you for your partnership, you will kill it!" - Noah Namowicz

Michael Butterworth: Quills Coffee - Louisville, KY. Coffee: Colombia ACES Alexander Cortes - Instagram: @mjbutterworth

"Michael is a severly dedicated competitor, his passion for coffee and service shows in every presentation. I couldn't be more excited to see him representing on the national level for the second time, his place there is well deserved. He looks good doing it too...which doesn't hurt." - Matt Brown

(click here to watch our interview with Michael From last years USBC)

Michael Harwood: Ceremony Coffee - Annapolis, MD Coffee: Colombia ACES Alexander Cortes & Sulawesi ACES Toarco Minaga. Instagram & Twitter @bluebarista 

"I first met Michael in Brasil on the first ever Barista Origin Trip after he won his region. Michael is honestly probably the sweetest person I know I aside from my Grandma. It is really neat for me to see how these trips build lifelong friendships. I consider Michael a great friend. He is an extremely dedicated coffee professional, and it has been amazing to see his coffee journey take him now to a new part of the country. Best of luck Michael!" -Noah Namowicz

Cole McBride: PublicUs - Las Vegas, NV. Coffee: Arnulfo Leguizamo, Colombia. Instagram & Twitter @cole_coffee

"Cole McBride is that guy that you see at every major coffee event. He has been a leader within the barista community both in his service and his excellence. We are proud to partner with Cole and Arnulfo Leguizamo to bring one of the top producers and top baristas together in one of the most prestigous coffee events in the world. Thank you Cole!" -Joe Marrocco

Jonathan Miller: MadCap Coffee - Grand Rapids, MI. Coffee: Ecuador Finca Maputo

"Jonathan Miller has been at this for some time. He is a flavor focused madcap scientist who will draw out every drop of character his coffee has to offer. Technical abilities in drves, but hidden under a slight-of-hand execution. Put Jonathan and a special coffee like the Typica from Finca Maputo....Watch Out." -Joe Marrocco

Kyle Ramage - Mahlkonig. Coffee: Colombia Best of Cauca - Twitter: @kyle_rampage

"Baron of the burrs! Kyle is one of the finest professionals I've had the pleasure of meeting, it's great to see the way that he has stretched his desire to advance our industry into this competition. More than that, great to see him doing such a fine job. I'm excited to see what he brings to the national level." - Matt Brown

Radames Roldan: Blueprint Coffee - Saint Louis, MO. Coffee: Ecuador Finca Maputo. Instagram and Twitter @radprojection, @BlueprintCoffee 

"Radames is cool, calm, collected. He has a voice that captivates and pulls everyone in the room to hear what he has to say. But, more importantly, he has the skills and follow through at the bar to surpass expectations of what coffee quality means. Don't be fooled by this champion's cool deameanor. He is out to win, and has one round under his belt." -Joe Marrocco

Leann Wacker: Colectivo - Milwaukee, WI. Coffee: Ecuador Juan Pena. Instagram: @leannsoowacker

"Leann is a fairly new competitor to the scene and completely blew everyone away with her BIG CENTRAL routine. She is known as the "Milwaukee Dark Horse". Leann is one of those people that just completely lights up a room with her smile and positive attitude. I am so happy to see her flourish as a competitor and cannot wait to see her progress in her coffee career." - Noah Namowicz

Hadassah Wilson: Square One Coffee - Lancaseter, PA. Coffee: Brasil Santa Lucia Instagram: @hadassahwilson

"Hadassah is a unbelievably dedicated and fierce competitor. She has constantly been in touch with myself and our partners at Carmo Coffees to truly uncover what makes her coffee tick. Hadassah's BIG EASTERN routine just made me want to be back in Brasil. I am proud to call Hadassah a friend and love everything she brings to our industry." - Noah Namowicz

(click here to watch our interview with Hadassah From last years USBC)

Brewers Cup Competition:

Zach Althaus: Sump Coffee - St Louis, MO. Coffee: Peru ACES Alejandro Apolinar

"Zach Althaus has that hear of gold that pushes him to brew coffee in a way that is customer first, Zach second. His humble focus leaves the coffee on center stage and the drinker in awe. Expect him to take a surprisingly refreshing coffee, a Peru Microlot, to new heights!" -Joe Marrocco

Brian Benavente: Black Cup Café Del Mundo Anchorage, AK. Coffee: Ecuador Las Cinco - Fabian Lomas - Sidra - Twitter and instagram: @brthbe

"Brian has shown such an amazing excitement about competing this year, driven by a love for his coffee. I know that attitude is going to show in the spotlight, all of you who get to partake should consider yourself fortunate. Someone give that guy a hug on my behalf." - Matt Brown

Mickey Comerford: Colectivo - Milwaukee, WI. Coffee: Ecuador Juan Pena 

"I got to know Mickey because he lives and works in my hometown of Milwaukee, WI. Mickey has been a force the past several years of barista competition. He has some of the most impressive facial hair capability in our industry. Mickey and I also share some Jesuit education roots and I feel like he is just one of those people in life you could call and count on for anything. Best of luck Mickey!" - Noah Namowicz

Mick Evans: One Line Coffee, Columbus, OH. Coffee: Costa Rica Las Lajas Alma Negra. Twitter: @mick_hop, Twitter & Instagram: @onelinecoffee

"Mick is director of retail operations and partner in One Line Coffee. He brings 7.5 years coffee experience, starting off an educator with Boston Stoker. His approach is trying to bring simplicity to brewing; trying to adapt brew to the variables as presented to him. We love this approach and believe that Mick is using one of the most amazing coffees we saw out of Costa Rica last year. Las Lajas processing experiments bring an amazing opportunity to showcase processing to the judges. Best of luck Mick!" - Cafe Imports Team

Tony Querio: Spyhouse, Minneapolis, MN. Coffee: Ecuador Juan Pena. Instagram: @tonyqtostador, Twitter: @tony_querio

"We were all incredibly excited to learn that Tony was being imported from Oregon to Minnesota to work for Spyhouse's new roasting operation. Tony is a man with an unbelievable amount of integrity. He is truly one of the good guys in our industry, and a seriously talented roaster. Watching Tony compete at the Big Central, it was clear that he is one of the most well rounded coffee pros in our industry. We cannot wait to see what he comes up with for the USBC this weekend!" - Joe Marrocco

And of course, we cannot forget the Cup Tasters Championship, where we have two competitors representing Cafe Imports (!!!)




Piero Cristiani: Cafe Imports Green buyer. 

"Piero is originally from El Salvador and found his way to Minnesota for school. We are so proud that he wanted to join the Cafe Imports team. Piero started by answering phones, and for you 

longtime customers, you will remember his distinctive greeting. Piero has been a pioneer for many new exciting origin programs for us, including setting up our office in San Jose Costa Rica. Piero is an incredible cupper. We all will be cheering him on this weekend!"


- Noah Namowicz







Megan Person: Cafe Imports Sensory Analysis

"Megan is a pillar of the Twin Cities coffee community, previously working as a barista behind the counter of some of the best coffee shops in the area. Megan has developed into an incredible cupper and sample roaster throughout her journey at Cafe Imports. She outright smoked everyone in the office during cup tasters practice rounds. Watch out for this one, she's there to win."

-Noah Namowicz

AND LASTLY BUT NOT LEASTLY - here are our FIVE ads that you can see during the 2015 Barista Championships' commercial programming between competitors! enjoy :) 

Cafe Imports: Cupping Anxiety from Cafe Imports on Vimeo.

Cafe Imports: Unicorns & Rainbows from Cafe Imports on Vimeo.

Cafe Imports: We Salute You from Cafe Imports on Vimeo.

Cafe Imports: Livelihood from Cafe Imports on Vimeo.

Cafe Imports: Spartans of the Spro from Cafe Imports on Vimeo.



The A(w)ctivity of Drying Coffee - by Ian Fretheim

Ian1.jpgLast November I was invited to Copenhagen to speak to the Nordic Roaster Forum about a project that I've been leading back in the lab here at Cafe Imports, namely, investigating the role of water activity (Aw) in green coffee quality and longevity. From the beginning we envisioned two sides to this project, an origin side and a destination side.

To date, we've been focusing primarily on the destination side. What can Aw tell us about pre shipment coffees and the likelihood of their arriving to specification? For this investigation, time begins when we first cup a pre shipment sample. Day zero for the coffees in this trial is measured from the first time that we see them in the practical course of business. Of course, this approach turns a blind eye to whole worlds of variability in different coffees' lives beginning much, much earlier. The upside to this approach is that it challenges water activity to show us a pattern in spite of lacking a considerable amount of highly pertinent information. More on this shortly.

In the last two or so years we've picked up just shy of 2500 longitudinal readings- that is, readings on coffees that we've approved or purchased and will have (or have had) an opportunity to cup and measure again after some interval of time. For now, coffees remain in the study for one year from day zero and can be cupped up to four times. There are patterns emerging, albeit with a need for more data and further analysis, but enough so to encourage us to take a closer look at all those pre-preshipment variables that we set aside earlier.

In Copenhagen, and in a couple of articles that I wrote previously, mention was made of a few tentative drying trials. These were of a much smaller scope and I'm afraid suffered somewhat from my own lack of familiarity both with what to look for in an Aw trial, as well as more simply with how to control and run such a thing. Fast forward to December of 2014, back from CPH and feeling pretty good, though unsure where the next step with water activity would be. I get into the office one morning, open my email and see a note from a guy named Carlos. Sr. Batalla was writing to say that he had read the articles and would I like to further the drying study at his facilities in Costa Rica? I expressed some interest and described some of the previous challenges and current needs and would he be interested and able to accommodate? After a little conversation we had yesses all around. Great.

So, how about a primer? Water molecules combine more or less easily with the molecules of whatever substrate is wet up by said water. The strength of the molecular bond between water and the substrate or system in which it is found is what Aw measures. For example, the water content of rolled oats and that of raisins is quite different. Raisins of course carry a higher percentage moisture. However, because the sugars in raisins bind with the water so well, the water activity of raisins is lower than that of rolled oats. This is significant because it is water activity and not moisture content that governs numerous factors of transformation, spoilage and growth in food products. Great.

Back in Costa Rica, our primary origin question for water activity is whether or not it can tell us anything significant about a coffee prior to its being tendered as a pre shipment sample. Specifically, are there better and worse ways for coffees to shed moisture through the drying process that can be identified by cup and shelf life and profiled at the time of drying with water activity? Neat stuff, but dang if there ain't horses to be held. In developing our lab study it became quickly apparent that we needed a massive sample size, both to account for variables and because we really had no scope for what Aw in coffee could be, let alone should be. Same thing applies here.

Fortunately, we're starting with some background in place this time around. Nonetheless, step one, the one we're working on and talking about right now, is to establish a baseline and to substantiate it with a reasonably large pool of data. For this we're looking at water activity, temperature, and relative humidity through the drying process. In the end we'll be cupping these coffees over the course of 2015 and into 2016 and then going back to see if there are relationships and patterns that emerge between the three drying measurements and both initial cup score and stability over the following year. Heady stuff, that.


Sample chart of temperature and humidity readings.


Carlos indicated that he was already set up to process and maintain separation of day lots. That's his SOP. Super duper. Over the course of this season we'll be monitoring up to six separate lots at any given time, and hopefully coming away in the end with between 40 and 60 individually tracked lots of coffee. Already within Carlos' drying facility we can see hotter and cooler zones, and he noted as well that in years past different zones could take a full day longer to complete drying. This means that we'll have a small range of drying profiles spread across a substantial sample size of similarly originated and processed coffee. That's a good thing. We don't need the answer this time around. We want to establish a baseline, and if we can see a trend shake out across that relatively controlled sample size without mussing around so much as to overly diversify the sampling into effectively many different types of sample- even better.

Ian3.jpgDrying facilities at Carlos Batalla's mill.

Mid January and we're up and running. It's already been a month since I went down to set up the sensors and meet Carlos. The loggers report back to my computer every day, and I forward the temperature and humidity data back down to Carlos. This is just the beginning. As the coffees start coming in, we'll be labeling, storing and cupping them over and over. And then tying all that data back to the Aw and data logger data. By the end of the year, I'll be tucked back right here in my office pouring over data and looking for patterns, profiles and next steps. Until then the plan is to buckle up. Spring in coffee is already getting sprung, and the first Centrals are already on offer.

So, there we are. An update from the dark winter recesses of pet projects and R&D in the sensory department at Cafe Imports.

The crickets and the rust-beetles scuttled among the nettles of the sage thicket. "Vámonos, amigos," he whispered, and threw the busted leather flintcraw over the loose weave of the saddlecock. And they rode on in the friscalating dusklight.




Cafe Imports' Dan Jensen reports on Ethiopia for Barista Magazine


Our very own Dan Jensen was asked by Barista Magazine to report on his recent sourcing experience in Ethiopia this past December. His article recounting the origin visit was just featured in their February/March issue that just hit the newsstands!

you can catch Dan's Article on pages 42-47, or read the digital version here

follow along with Dan's musings about all things coffee, his thoughts on the latest (and oldest) R&B popcharts, and his love for cured meats on twitter and instagram at @Jandensen 

Coffee Send Back → Back to the Origin

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Knowing that many producers never actually get to taste their own coffee, we decided to create a way to do just that - send it back, roasted. We are super excited about this program and the excitement and support we've received so far is incredible. We will be doing several Send Backs each year, so stay tuned for future origins!

Our first official Coffee Send Back of 2015 was to Brasil. Part I of the send back featured CarmoCoffees in Carmo de Minas, Minas Gerais. The event was held at Unique Cafes where the producers were able to taste their own coffees roasted by: Detour Coffee, Bow Truss, Modest Coffee, Lineage Roasting, Passenger Coffee, Coffee Hound, Square One, Boxcar, and Hansa Coffee.

We'd like to say a huge thank you to CarmoCoffees and the producers for all the hard work in producing some truly amazing coffees. Their dedication to quality and passion for innovation are inspiring and so greatly appreciated. Also to all the roasters that were able to participate in this first round, a huge thank you for supporting this program by sharing your craft and fostering the coffee community from seed to cup. We can't wait to grow this program and get as many roasters involved as possible.

More to come!  Rumor has it some nice fresh Colombians are flying out the door...

- Caitlin Cooreman and the Cafe Imports CS Team

CarmoCoffees made this video to showcase the event and relay their experience → back to the roasters (this is the coolest thing ever):  

and here are some more photos from the event:

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Introducing: Cafe Imports' Variety Select Project

Variety Select Header_blog.jpg
In our usual course of walking around a coffee farm with a producer and talking about his or her coffee; the layout of the farm, the distance between trees, pruning, fertilizing, yield, varieties, life and things like that, we sometimes come across interesting items; like a 75 year old tree in Brazil, a small field of Pacas in Mexico or a family of Possums living on the farm under a tree.

Last Month in Colombia we happened upon a field of Pink Bourbon, yes Pink. We bought all 20 bags.

Later that day we met three small producers in Alto Del Obispo region who all happened to produce Yellow Bourbon.  I've never seen that much Yellow Bourbon in Colombia, a tree here and there but not enough to produce a hundred bags.

We've had producers with pure Castillo that got 91 points on the cupping table, a pure Absynnian varietal from Sumatra and 100% Pacamara from Mexico for example and for these interesting reasons, we have decided to launch a new little program called "Variety Select"  In this program we will work with our producer/export partners to keep these varieties separate throughout the picking washing, drying, milling, bagging and shipping process so that we can offer a variety of variety specific coffees from around the world.

Some examples:

Yellow Bourbon - Colombia

IMG_2990 copy.jpgYellow Bourbon is a natural cross between Red Bourbon and Amarelo de Botacuto, which is labelled as a Typica variant with yellow fruit. Bourbon resulted from selections made by French botanists in wild Yemeni coffee groves.  Moved to controlled fields for propagation, the relatively humble stock produced a remarkable variety and was given the namesake of its nursery - Bourbon Island - upon its introduction to South America. Under expanded cultivation in Brazil, a yellow mutant with a unique flavor profile expressed itself and was isolated, expanded, and named for its color.

Pink Bourbon - Colombia


Cultivated from hybridizations of Red and Yellow Bourbon - very rare but the producer said it is quite resistant to Rust. Pink and Orange Bourbons are very difficult to produce with consistency.  The recessive genes leading to the expression of these colors are easily thwarted by the presence of yellow and red genes in a given pollen grain.  A carefully isolated and contained lot can do quite well and preserve the unique color and character of this variety, though this is quite hard to find.

Laurina or Bourbon Pointu


Laurina is a Bourbon derivative originating from Reunion Island with a recessive gene mutation that gives it a dwarf-like habit, small leaves, small, pointed seeds and very low caffeine concentration: as low as 0.6% when compared to the 1.2% of Arabica and 2.2% found in Robusta. The Laurina is also parent to Mokka varieties, known for uniquely small beans and even more exotic flavors.

Rume Sudan

rume.jpgRume Sudan RS-510 was selected from the wild population on the Bome Plateau, in the Rume Valley of south east Sudan. Predating the extraction of Typica and Bourbon genetic material, the Sudanese (and Ethiopian) accessions draw on a much broader genetic pool than their more strenuously selected nieces and nephews. Rume Sudan has long interested genetic and hybrid development researchers due to the broader genetic base and disease resistance it offers, and continues to appear in new hybrids today. Low yields and small bean size have limited Rume Sudan's popularity with farmers, making it rare to find as a standalone variety. We're excited to be offering this interesting look into coffee's history... and it's future.


Geisha copy.jpgAn Ethiopian descendent, Geisha had been trialed in Latin America since the mid 50's by researches seeking new means of disease resistance. Shelved for poor cup quality and yield due to being grown at too low of altitudes, the Geisha variety did not come to prominence until Price Peterson won the Best of Panama contest with it in 2006. In the decade since, the Geisha variety has ascended to the ranks of coffee variety superstardom. Geisha coffee typically offers a very floral cup with loads of citrus acidity. While Central American Geishas are commonly described as tea-like, with a lighter body and moderate sugar levels, those grown in Colombia frequently have a heavier mouthfeel and sweeter cup.

And check out these Beanologies of the Variety Select coffees we have coming:

Yellow Bourbon

Pink Bourbon


Rume Sudan 

-Andrew Miller