One of the things we love so much about coffee is that each growing region is distinctly defined by its geography. Since no two growing regions are geographically identical, each coffee boasts unique characteristics that won’t be found anywhere else. In Colombia, the three cordilleras (mountain ranges) that form the northern tip of the Andes have created a range of remarkably diverse coffee growing regions throughout the country. The south-central regions of the country have long been considered the home of the country’s best coffees, and this wonderful organic offering from Gimme! Coffee shows us why. Outside the town of Libano in the Tolima region, you’ll find Finca San Luis, where veteran organic farmer Omar Arango grows numerous coffee varieties across 46 hectares of mountainous terrain. Whereas most producers in Colombia harvest twice a year, Arango manages his crops in a nearly continuous harvest cycle that requires an immense amount of skill and labor. The result? A steady stream of extremely limited micro-lots, like the one that’s in your bag this month. Ithaca, New York coffee darlings Gimme! Coffee first started working directly with Arango about 3 years ago. At the time Arango was considering abandoning organic farming practices because the production costs were too high compared to his farm’s yields. With support from Gimme!, Arango was able to achieve financial stability and renew his commitment to organic practices. This coffee’s story is truly a parable for how specialty roasters can help improve the overall quality of coffee around the world by focusing on the wellbeing of dedicated farmers like Arango.
At just 21-years-old, Jorge Arturo Benitez Miranda may seem pretty young to be managing an award-winning coffee farm, but for him it comes naturally. Jorge has been working on his family coffee farm, Las Peñitas, in Honduras ever since he was a boy. In 2010, shortly after taking over the farm from his father, Jorge continued his father’s legacy by winning the Honduras Cup of Excellence competition. These beans, roasted by Ithaca’s Gimme! Coffee, yield a full-bodied yet smooth cup. This well-balanced coffee is defined by midnotes of pineapple and cane sugar, with a creamy base that carries into a clean, sweet finish.
Every cloud has a silver lining, and in this case, fantastic coffee also grows beneath it. These beans, farmed by Agustín Cruz, come from a tiny seven-acre farm located in a cloud forest in Chijchipani, Bolivia. The trio of Catuai, Typica, and Catimor varieties were grown under the misty canopy in a region known for its outstanding coffee production. Gimme! Coffee from Ithaca, New York, lovingly roasts the beans to bring out their gentle tropical sweetness. The coffee is delicate and balanced, with soft flavors of toasted marshmallow and mild tropical fruits like pineapple and banana.
There are only 16 bags of this coffee in the world. All of it produced by Aida Titirico Hilari, a 25-year-old mother of three. The Cima del Jaguar (“Jaguar’s Hilltop”) collective she runs with her husband Braulio and brother Carmelo doesn’t just have a really sweet name--it produced 3 of the top 10 winning lots in the 2009 Cup of Excellence. When the 2010 Cup of Excellence program was cancelled in Bolivia, coffee roasters rushed to lock up the best coffees in the country--Ithaca’s Gimme Coffee snatched up Aida’s entire lot. Grown at 1800 meters, Aida’s farm produces both the Caturra and Catuai varieties, which are washed and sun-dried and totally organic.