Learning to Cup in Hawaii: The Kona Cultural Coffee Festival and the HCA Coffee Competition

Cafe Imports’ sensory analysis director, Ian Fretheim, is so curious about cupping that he’ll happily travel to the most remote place in the world to study it. (It helps that the world’s most remote landmass also happens to be Hawaii.) He’s had some thoughts about both Hawaiian coffee in general as well as our industry-wide cupping practices after coming back from the Kona Coffee Festival and after serving as head judge in the 2019 Hawaiian Coffee Association Cupping Competition. Climb into the mind of Ian Fretheim here.

Mexico Harvest Report 2019

There are lots of coffee-growing regions with potential, but when we think of untapped opportunities to invest in producers and make a real impact on quality and recovery, we can’t help but think of Mexico as a perfect example of what “potential” means from a coffee source. There are good varieties, a strong cooperative culture, and more streamlined logistics—so what has kept Mexico from truly shining as a growing region?

A Closer Look at Tega & Tula Specialty Coffee Farm in Keffa, Ethiopia

Single-farm traceable certified-organic coffees are hard to come by from Ethiopia, but Cafe Imports’ strong relationship with Tega & Tula Specialty Coffee Farm in Keffa, Ethiopia, is a special exception to that rule. Read more about T&T and its primary owner, Ahadu Woubshet.

Now Streaming: An Educational Coffee Processing Video Series

Coffee people are naturally curious, and we are no different at Cafe Imports: We love learning new things about this amazing plant, seed, and beverage, and we’re passionate about sharing any information we have on our Education page and through other free, accessible resources-like the brand-new Coffee Processing video series, which debuted last week on the Cafe Imports YouTube channel!

El Salvador Harvest Report 2019

It’s been another season to celebrate forward momentum and growth in El Salvador, senior green-coffee buyer Piero Cristiani reports after the end of the recent harvest. After several years of struggle following an outbreak of coffee-leaf rust, this small but strong producing country is boasting a bigger yield and stellar cups of Pacas and Pacamara, the latter variety “a national treasure of El Salvador,” Piero says.

Chalatenango Best Cup 2019

In March of 2019, we held the first-ever Best Cup cupping competition and live auction event in the small but mighty coffee-growing region of Chalatenango, El Salvador. This video tells the story of the Best Cup competition and our history working in Chalate, and hopefully inspires you to reserve your seat at the next auction event.

Knowledge Talks featuring Ever Meister

Just last month, Cafe Imports editorial manager Ever Meister visited four cities in Australia as the featured speaker in the most recent outing of Toby’s Estate Coffee’s “Knowledge Talks” series. Rather than give a straightforward lecture, she opted to create more of a conversation with the audience about coffee traceability and marketing ethics—two of her very favorite things to talk about and puzzle through, as anyone in the Cafe Imports office will tell you. Click through to watch the full video of her presentation.

Carmo Best Cup 2018

Best Cup is designed to highlight the great work and vast potential for high-end specialty coffee within a particular microregion, and Carmo de Minas is a perfect location for that kind of signal boosting: CarmoCoffees, a developer and exporter of specialty lots there, works with more than 2,000 small- and medium-size farms in Carmo de Minas and has been one of the most active supporters of farmers transitioning from a focus solely on volume to one that takes quality into account.

Harvest Report: Costa Rica 2019

While Costa Rica accounts for just about 1 percent of the world’s total coffee volume, it has a huge place in our hearts (and our offerings sheet) at Cafe Imports. In this year’s harvest report, we’ll take a trip around the country’s growing regions with Oxcart Coffee: Cafe Imports Latin America, visiting some of our longest-term producer partners to find out how the 2018/19 cycle performed, and to get a sneak peek at what fantastic new-crop top lots will be arriving in our international warehouses shortly.

Our 2018 Progress Report

At the end of each year, we take a look back over how well we have lived up to our mission, stayed true to our values, and kept up focus on the guiding principles that inspire and motivate us at Cafe Imports: Quality, Service, Education, and Progress. This year’s Progress Report is condensed into a single analysis of our engagement with our communities, our educational outreach, and our efforts toward the development of ever-better coffee quality. Click to read the full report.

Water Activity in Specialty Green Coffee: A Long Term Observational Study by Ian Fretheim

We know that water is wet, but that fact alone isn’t enough to capture water’s immense power. That power is evident in coffee, not simply in the cup but also in the seeds themselves: Water activity (Aw) is the relative equilibrium that exists (or doesn’t exist) between the vapor pressure inside a food or a coffee seed as compared with the surrounding humidity or environment. In perishable foods, it is a significant measure for the sake of safety and the prevention of food-borne illness, but in coffee, it’s a significant measure…why, exactly? Click to find out.

Harvest Report: Colombia 2019

When it comes to highlights and harvest reports, Colombia has a very square advantage: The size, terroir, and geographical location of this coffee-producing force make sure that there is always news coming from some corner of the country, and its multiple harvest and shipping seasons make it a constant source of interest for us as well as for our customers.

Our Hamburg Warehouse: Schwarze & Consorten

Cafe Imports Europe is sehr froh to remind our customers that they are welcome to order from our position in one of two European warehouses: Vollers U.K. located in Bury St Edmunds, or Schwarze & Consort in Hamburg, Germany.

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.