In February, Anne visited our direct trade partners in Costa Rica during harvest. This year’s visit was special for Anne as she spent time at Finca las Torres in the Chirripó region of southern Costa Rica and participated in the harvesting and processing of the same coffee that will be in our Tasting Room this fall.

Finca las Torres is located about four hours south of San Jose off the Inter-American Highway. ICAFE, Costa Rica’s Coffee Institute, has designated this coffee production region as Brunca. This area is more accurately defined however as the Chirripó micro region. Here the coffee is grown at high elevation (around 1500-2000 meters) and has a distinctly different flavor in the cup when compared to the low elevation production in the Brunca region.

Anne worked at the micro-mill during the morning with Régulo and Luis. The coffee which was drying was carefully raked on the raised African beds. Coffee which had been drying on the patio was then collected into Grain-Pro bags to continue the drying process.

The activities in the afternoon centered on the farm. Coffee that is picked during the morning is collected by mid-afternoon. The coffee is measured and each picker’s yield is recorded. By late afternoon the coffee cherries are brought to the micro mill.

During the evening the coffee cherry is de-pulped and laid onto raised African style beds. Café Rivense del Chirripó micro mill specializes in honey processed coffees. The coffee skin is removed during the de-pulping process but the fruit remains on the bean. The idea is to have the honey dehydrate on the bean—the honey must hold onto the coffee bean—which will mean the cup of coffee will have more sweetness.

The balance of the trip was spent at farms in Tarrazu, Central and West Valley. Anne cupped coffees at the farms and arranged for Red Cedar Coffee Co. to bring fantastic coffees to your table.

Anne with the Ureña family

Measuring the coffee harvest

Since we started roasting coffee in 2005 we have been working to roast the best tasting coffee for our caffeinated and decaffeinated coffee drinkers.

With that goal, we roast Swiss Water Process decaf which is the only 100% chemical free decaf coffee. If you look at one of our Red Cedar Coffee Co. retail coffee bags you will see the Swiss Water Process logo placed prominently on the front label.

There are many ways to decaffeinate a coffee bean. However, the process that Swiss Water Process uses sets their coffee process apart. The Swiss Water Process method removes caffeine from the coffee bean using water, while protecting the unique characteristics (sometimes referred to as the origin or taste) of the coffee.

The decaffeination process begins by soaking the unroasted (green) coffee beans in hot water which in turns releases the caffeine. Once the caffeine has migrated from the bean and into the water, the caffeine rich water is moved into a new tank. Within this new tank the caffeine rich water will slowly flow through a carbon filter which traps the caffeine molecules and allows the soluble components to flow through the carbon filter. The unroasted coffee bean’s flavors and oils and then reabsorbed into the unroasted coffee bean which keeps the flavor intact. This process takes 8-10 hours and in the end the unroasted coffee is 99.9% caffeine free.

We understand that decaf coffee should be as special as its regular caffeinated counterpart. Therefore, we only trust Swiss Water Process with our decaf coffees.

Costa Rica Finca las Torres

In February Anne returned to Costa Rica on a coffee sourcing trip. These trips are important for us as we are able to meet with our direct trade partner producers, cup the new crop and build relationships with new producers.

Among the coffee regions visited Anne traveled to southern Costa Rica–a region called Brunca. This region of southern Costa Rica is best known for Cerro Chirripó which is the country’s tallest peak. From the summit on a clear day one can see the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans.

While in Brunca Anne came across Café Rivense, a family micro mill located in the canton of Perez Zeledón. The micro-mill is located between Cerro Chirripó and Cerro de la Muerte. Grown under the careful eye of Régulo Gerardo Ureña and his family, Finca las Torres is located at an elevation of 1550 meters.

Our micro-lot is processed as a black honey and sun dried. This is the most unique and rarest of Costa Rica’s processing methods. The skin of the coffee cherry is removed but the fruit remains on the coffee bean. It takes approximately 10 days for the fruit to dry off the coffee bean. This additional time gives the coffee bean more complexity, sweetness and body.

This coffee is available exclusively in Red Cedar Coffee Co.’s Tasting Room and via mail order.

Costa Rica Finca las Torres

Costa Rica Finca las Torresdscn0644

Fair Trade Certified Organic Nicaraguan Madriz

If you have been in the Red Cedar Coffee Co tasting room you may have recently noticed a new coffee. If you haven’t, you don’t know what you’re missing!

For a limited time, we are roasting our Fair Trade Certified Organic Nicaraguan Madriz. The cooperative that produced this organic coffee is called 25 de Marzo and is located in the San Juan del Rio Coco region of Madriz in northern Nicaragua. The cooperative has 49 members, fifteen of whom are women.

Fair trade producers commit to protecting the environment and social causes. Fair Trade workers receive sustainable wages, representation, safe working conditions, access to education and health care.

Cupping notes: Sweet, caramel, nutty, light citrus

Anne traveled to Costa Rica in February to visit coffee farms and micromills, and to work with our direct trade partners.

February is an important time to visit the coffee farms in Costa Rica. It allows us to gauge harvest, reconnect with our producers, and to cup coffees from this year’s harvest to make our buying decisions.

During this year’s visit, Anne visited producers and mills in five of Costa Rica’s eight growing regions. For the first time, Anne traveled throughout the Brunca region in southern Costa Rica. This region is known for Cerro Chirripo, Costa Rica’s tallest peak at nearly 13,000 feet. This is a relatively new region that is known for producing distinctive, full bodied coffees.

February is the peak of the specialty coffee harvest. This month producers have experienced unusual rainfall which has complicated the harvest in some regions. In the south the rainfall has brought about the flowering of coffee trees earlier than normal. After the coffee tree has flowered coffee cherries will begin to grow.

Have you had a chance to try our new Direct Trade coffee, Costa Rica La Lia Finca Dragon? This exceptional coffee comes from the award winning farm of Finca Dragon. This micro lot is exclusive to Red Cedar Coffee Co.

Finca Dragon is located at 1800 meters in Santa Rosa in León Cortés, about a 2 ½ hour drive from San Jose in the Tarrazú region. Luis Alberto Monge is the producer and owner of the farm and micromill. The micromill, named La Lia after Luis’ mother, was built in 2007. By owning a micromill the family can separate the coffee varietals and process the coffee using various methods. Most importantly, the micromill allows Luis to ensure that his coffee is being processed carefully and at the highest attention to detail.

 

The coffee varietal is red catuai and our coffee has been processed using the honey (miel) process. After the coffee has been processed the coffee is sun dried. The micromill has raised African beds along with patios for drying.

Check out our video to learn more about our Direct Trade relationship with Finca Dragon.

New product lines.

If you have recently stopped into Red Cedar Coffee Co.’s Tasting Room in Berea, Ohio, you will have noticed some exciting changes in our retail coffee packaging.

We have divided our retail coffee line into five eye-catching color categories:

-single origin/direct trade (gold label)

-Fair Trade Certified organics (green label)

-blends (orange label)

-Swiss Water Processed decafs (blue label)

-flavors (red label)

Our new retail labels feature tasting notes based on the SCAA Coffee Flavor Wheel. It is also easier to locate details on the coffee’s elevation and roast style.

Direct Trade single origin and organic labels includes information on the micro mill and region.

The package size for the Tasting Room and Mail Order remains as a one pound (16 oz.) bag. The back label includes recommendations for coffee storage and brewing.