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.

Origin Report: Tanzania 2018

“We love a challenge” might just be a cliché for some, but when it comes to sourcing coffee in Africa, it’s definitely true that some of our very favorite growing regions are also hands down the most complicated. One of the countries in which we’re just starting to have a more engaged buying presence is in Tanzania, an East African coastal country that shares borders with Kenya to the northeast, and Rwanda, Burundi, and Uganda in the northwest.

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 about the C Market

In response to many of the questions, concerns, and conversations happening in the global specialty-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.

Aces Are Wild!

We don’t Ace just anything: Coffees sold through our Aces program are the kinds of exceptional lots that make even us shout, “Wow!” Read more about how you can sign up to receive Aces alerts and have early-bird access to some of the most exquisite, exclusive coffees on earth.

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.

Steps Toward Gender Equity: A Bit about Our Women Coffee Producers Program

For the past few years, we have been growing a Women Coffee Producers program, sourcing coffees grown by women-run associations or by the women members of mixed-gender co-ops. We pay a gender-equity premium for these lots in order to support projects or initiatives of the women producers’ choosing. This year, we also hosted a Resource trip to visit two women’s associations, bringing along a group of women roasters who buy their coffees through this program.

Espírito Santo, Brazil: Fashionably Late to the Party?

Have you ever shown up for a birthday party a week late (or a week early)? Of course it’s a little embarrassing at first, but it can also be an opportunity to, you know, just have an extra party, right? Some of the origins we work in are a little bit like that party bonus, except it’s not that they arrive at the wrong time—they just party on a slightly different schedule.

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.

Origin Report: Burundi + Rwanda 2018

The two tiny Central African countries of Burundi and Rwanda could practically be a geographical Venn diagram, despite the actual political border that separates them. Their landlocked status, cultural history, and relative remoteness make them seem easy to lump together as coffee-producing nations. If you visit a household in either country, you’re even likely to be welcomed in and served a plate of ugali, a porridge-like staple made from boiled cornmeal or flour with water or milk.

For all the similarities between them, however—including how significant coffee is for both—the two countries are distinct to us as origins, despite very often getting lumped together.

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?

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.”

Perfect Strangers: A Sourcing Story

Every stranger might be the friend you haven’t met yet, and in coffee, the way we meet each other is sometimes simply a matter of pure chance and in unusual circumstances.