The Cafe Imports Coffee Family Tree, fourth edition

There are hundreds of varieties with individual proper names planted all over the world, and many of them grow differently, look different, and certainly taste different from each other—but when you dig below the soil and research each plant’s roots, you’ll often find yourself tangled in a network of related, crossed, back-crossed, and derivative genetic lines that, well, often lead back to one or two or three main branches.

Introducing: Oxcart Coffee – Cafe Imports Latin America

Traditional oxcarts, or carretas, are one of the most prominent national symbols of Costa Rica, and they call back to the country’s long, proud history with coffee. That longevity and pride, as well as quality in work and deed, is the reason we chose the same symbol for our newly expanded office in the capital city of San José: Oxcart Coffee – Cafe Imports Latin America, a full-service import-export operation that allows us to work directly with growers, build better connections, and keep a closer eye on the quality and logistics of all coffee shipments leaving Costa Rica bound for Cafe Imports’ sales offices around the globe.

A Dispatch from Honduras about Cafe Imports’ Partnership with Trees, Water & People

When you break down the work we do into three absolutely basic elements, what do you get? Trees, water, and people—right? After all, what is a coffee plant but a tree; water is necessary not only for growing and processing coffee but also brewing; and without people, well, need we say more? Considering the incredible significance of this natural trilogy, it makes perfect sense that we have partnered with an organization called Trees, Water & People in order to maintain our carbon-neutral status and to attempt to “leave no trace” as a business in a resource-thirsty global industry.

Best Cup 2018, Bigger and Better: Colombia and Carmo de Minas

A few times every year we pile into a chiva with 20 or 30 of our roaster friends from around the world, drive into the heart of a coffee-growing community, cup for days and days, and discover some of the most exquisite microlot coffees in the world by ranking the top 30 out of hundreds of submitted samples. Then we all wake up on the last day of a long week and top the whole thing off with a wild and wooly live auction, surrounded by dozens of coffee growers and their families in a sea of auction paddles, music, food, tears, and camaraderie…

Introducing Cafe Imports’ Ethiopia Sourcing Office, Addis Ababa

Ethiopian coffees are near and dear to our hearts, so it’s only fitting that we at Cafe Imports should want to be near and dear to the heart of Ethiopian coffee: This year, we’re happy to announce the establishment of the Cafe Imports Ethiopia Sourcing Office in Addis Ababa, which will operate during and post-harvest and will serve as a hub for our cupping, purchasing, and developmental operations in East Africa.

Understanding Fermentation and Coffee

Humans love fermented foods so much you’d think we’d have pickled ourselves by now: We can’t seem to get enough bread, sauerkraut, wine, yogurt, cheese, chocolate, or, of course, coffee. Well, coffee’s not a fermented beverage per se, but fermentation does play a part in the creation of this drink we love, and since we are insatiably curious about every step in the process we have attempted to learn and absorb as much as we can about the importance and the impact of fermentation on coffee quality and flavor. Click here to read more about what we’ve discovered in our reading, research, and experience.

Introducing: Farm Select

In response to the diversity of the market and the growing amount of high-quality coffee available from farms of all sizes, we are pleased to announce a new Farm Select initiative in order to offer our customers greater traceability on midsize single-farm lots that are reasonably priced and hit a solid, reliable level of quality.

Origin Report: Colombia 2018

Colombia is a home away from home for us, and we travel there so often it almost feels more like a regular commute than a big-deal coffee trip these days. This year, maybe more than ever, it’s been especially important for us to spend time and share physical space with our producer partners, as continued weather disruptions and a tumbling market threaten to cause a crisis of confidence. Here’s our latest dispatch from the harvest currently underway in Huila and Nariño.

A Note from Cafe Imports Australia about the C Market

In response to many of the questions, concerns, and conversations happening in the global speciality-coffee community lately, we wanted to take a moment to share what we know and how we feel about the current state of the C Market.

Origin Report: Nicaragua 2018

We are in love with Nicaragua, and when we fall for a place, we fall hard. Over the past couple of years, our focus has been on the small specialty producers of Dipilto in Nueva Segovia, nurturing relationships that display huge potential, as well as a continued commitment to the cooperatives with whom we’ve enjoyed strong, stable partnerships for years. While the past few months have been especially hard on the people of this beautiful country, we have found much to celebrate in the highland farms and with the growing specialty-coffee sector: We bet that by the end of this report, you’ll be just as in love—and just as devoted—as we are.

Colombia Best Cup 2018 – Registration now open

Colombia is a special place to us in general at Cafe Imports, but it’s also the coffee-growing country where the Best Cup competition was born: Along with our partners at Banexport, we created this regional competition to highlight the best and brightest within several of the country’s specific growing areas, beginning with Cauca and Huila. For this year’s cupping contest and auction, we are thrilled to expand our reach to the Nariño and Tolima departments in order to discover even more top-shelf lots from the world’s best smallholder producers.

Previously, on “Variety: Unknown…”

Cafe Imports longtime green-coffee buyer for Colombia, Andrew Miller had seemingly stumbled on exactly the type of coffee mystery we love: He tasted something on the cupping table that he could hardly describe, let alone identify. What *are* these mystery coffee beans?

Innovation Series Spotlight #2: Shabbir A. Ezzi

Shabbir A. Ezzi, an entrepreneur with a vision for the revival of Yemeni coffee, made a significant investment of time, money, and on-the-ground engagement to initiate programs to incentivize coffee production and offer a stable marketplace for the farmers who are willing and able to meet Ezzi’s demanding standards.

SCA Expo 2018 Flavor Station Recap: Do You Have Good Taste?

This year at SCA Expo, we wanted to have a little fun with flavor, while also gathering data about a (very) random sample of coffee professionals in order to continue asking ourselves about our competency as tasters, and how we can improve—both within our ranks at Cafe Imports, of course, but also how we can help others improve, especially the folks we work with all along the supply chain.

For the three days of SCA Expo 2018 in Seattle, we set up a Flavor Station at the Cafe Imports booth, with different things to taste each day. The idea was to offer show-goers an opportunity to stop for just a minute, taste something other than coffee for a change of pace, and maybe get a small sense of what we are doing when we taste coffee in the cupping lab—something a bit more nuanced and hopefully more constructive and practical than a simple “Loved it,” “Hated it.”