Named for the Reko washing station which started production in 2001 and is located in Kochere, Yirgacheffe. Kochere is the Westernmost part of Yirgacheffe and boasts some of the highest elevations in the region. This particular lot was grown at a staggering 1850-2100 meters. During harvest, which took place between late October and mid-January, about 850 farmers brought their red cherries to the station for processing. Cherries are washed with water from a nearby river, after which the cherry is removed from the bean by a vintage Agard pulping machine. The mucilage covered bean then goes through a wet fermentation for 36 to 48 hours depending on the weather. After a wash and an overnight soak, the coffee is finally dried on raised African beds for 10-12 days. If Reko is an indication of the quality of this season's harvest from Ethiopia, it's going to be a beautiful summer.
Kickapoo Coffee Roasters
In Swahili, Muungano means "togetherness," and it is a guiding principle for the farmers of the Muungano Coffee Cooperative. For many years, the people of eastern Congo -- Bahunde, Bahavu, Bashi, Batembo, and Rwandan Congolese -- were divided by war, but through Muungano, they are once again working as one to create a brighter future for their people. Farmers tend their land naturally, using homemade compost and mulch. With coffee plants growing among homes in their villages, they see the importance of the industry to the local environment as well as to the health of their citizens. Farmers are also taking measures to combat the risk of landslides in heavy rain by planting trees with deep roots to strengthen the soil structure.
This elegant Congolese offering from Wisconsin’s Kickapoo Coffee has an inspiring backstory that highlights the power of joining forces to overcome adversity. Political and social turmoil have historically prevented coffee producers in the Democratic Republic of the Congo from receiving fair prices for their crops. Many farmers had to risk their lives to smuggle their coffee across the Rwandan border, hanging their hopes on the possibility of receiving a better price there. In 2000, a small group of farmers in the South Lake Kivu region of Eastern Congo resolved to find a sustainable solution to this problem. They laid the groundwork for the Sopacdi cooperative society, which today boasts nearly 6,000 farmer members and is helping the DRC join the ranks as a world-class coffee origin. With support from a number of foreign importers, the Sopacdi coop was able to build the Tsheya washing station in the town of Minova, where this month’s selection was processed. This particular lot is special not only for its unique origin but also because it comes exclusively from female producers, who receive a premium for delivering their beans to the Sopacdi coop’s washing station. We’re happy to stand behind any initiative that helps level the playing field for female producers - it’s just an added bonus that this coffee happens to be so delicious! We’ve featured Kickapoo a handful of times before, but we’re especially proud to work with them this month to offer you such a memorable selection.
Kickapoo Coffee Roasters embodies just what a modern micro-roaster can be. Their process is a unique blend of old and new, traditional meets state of the art technology. Take for instance, their tricked out 1930's era roaster, where handmade Amish belts whirr alongside infrared lasers monitoring the roast with mathematical precision. When this high tech approach meets old school care, Kickapoo's artisan sensibility can thrive under the possibilities of modern technology. This exquisite brew from the Kirinyaga Cooperative in Kenya is a perfect example - hand-picked, hand-sorted beans, roasted with present-day precision. The result shows all the subtlety and depth this crop has to offer –a truly modern classic.
In an old train depot along Wisconsin’s Kickapoo River, an enormous 1930’s roasting machine whirs. The only known surviving machine of its size and type, the German machine turns out 30 kilos of elegantly roasted coffee at a time. This is how a small company like Kickapoo Coffee creates beans with a huge reputation. In this month’s box, the award-winning roaster gives us a rich and exotic take on a coffee farmed by the Tairora Smallholders in Papua New Guinea. This lush brew bursts with tropical flavors: sweet mango acidity, a creamy coconut milk body, with tarragon and cardamom notes carrying through into the finish.
Wisconsin may be thousands of miles away from Kenya, but that hasn’t stopped Kickapoo coffee roasters from forging a long-distance friendship with the Kaliluni Cooperative. The former is a family business that values connection to the land and strong communities. The latter is comprised of 1,104 farmers producing high quality beans. The partnership ensures that these small-scale producers are recognized for their work. The flavor of this coffee is particularly complex, with grapefruit acidity leading into black currants and oolong tea. But it doesn’t end there – notes of brown sugar and bing cherries linger on your tastebuds long after.