This month’s selection from Klatch Coffee is steeped in a history that dates back to before coffee was introduced to Latin America. In 1715 a wealthy landowner in southwestern Colombia donated a plot of land for the construction of a small town and church dedicated to the Virgin of Guadalupe. For the next 100 years, however, the town was known by the name Viciosa (“the spiteful one”). Perhaps by fate, a devastating earthquake left the town in ruins but claimed very few lives. The town was then rebuilt and renamed Guadalupe, as originally intended, to honor the Virgin for protecting the lives of its inhabitants. Flash forward to 2003 and the area surrounding this historic town had become one of the premier coffee-growing regions of Colombia. Four producers from the municipality of Guadalupe came together to form an association called Villa Esperanza, with the goal of increasing their income and quality of life by producing higher amounts of coffee for export. The group now boasts over 100 smallholder farmer members and exports nearly 1 million pounds of coffee a year--pretty impressive considering its humble beginnings just 10 years ago. Klatch is certainly no stranger to us here at Craft Coffee. We’ve included them in three of our past tasting boxes, and we’re as excited as ever to feature them again with this textbook example of what we love about Colombian coffee. Round and balanced with comforting notes of warm spice, this is a perfect cup to help you fight off the winter blues.
Within the Spanish-speaking world, Colombian Spanish is widely known for its exceptional clarity and refinement. We think the same could be said about this lively, approachable Colombian brew from Klatch Coffee in Upland, California. Taza Cafe de Antioquia, grown by Jose Arcadio Rueda, blew away the judges at this year’s prestigious Colombian Cup of Excellence. Not only did it place 7th overall in a competitive field of more than 2,500 coffees, but it also took home the silver medal among the coffees from Rueda’s home region of Antioquia. You could say Rueda was destined to become a distinguished coffee grower. Growing up in the rural village of Urrao, he developed an intense passion for coffee from working on his parents’ farm. Although his parents are still active producers, Rueda decided to establish his own farm in the lush mountains of Antioquia. And now, with the help of his wife and 14-year-old son, he’s become one of the most recognizable faces leading the charge to put Antioquia on the map as a world-class coffee origin. Rueda’s memorable showing at the Cup of Excellence may have taken the judges by surprise, but we’re certain Klatch Coffee founder and roastmaster Mike Perry could have seen it coming. Perry is as knowledgeable as they come about the wealth of coffees produced throughout Colombia’s diverse growing regions. In fact, he recently helped launch a program called Roasters United, which aims to find the country’s finest coffees by building innovative long-term partnerships with farmers. If Taza Cafe de Antioquia is any indication of what’s to come from Colombia, we think Kenya and Ethiopia should be prepared to make some room at the top.
Who knew that enjoying a cup of coffee could be a step towards gender equality? The Abakundakawa Rushashi Coffee Cooperative in the Gakenke District of Rwanda is comprised entirely of female farmers with the goal of broadening the scope of women’s roles in the community. The first of its kind in Africa, the collective is part of the Café Femenino Program, a worldwide social program designed to support women in the coffee industry. Under the discerning attention of Klatch Coffee, these fair trade beans become a layered and luscious, full bodied coffee. You’ll taste citrus zest, walnuts and oat in a surprisingly articulate interplay with cocoa butter and dark chocolate.
Perhaps the only thing better than coffee that tastes good is coffee that does good. At Las Mercedes farm in Cerro El Tigre, El Salvador, producer Ortiz Barriere cares as much about his coffee as he does about his community, providing clothing, food and health care to those in need, and nurturing the land and wildlife. In addition to Rainforest Alliance certification, roaster Klatch Coffee’s direct trade contract commits 25 cents of each pound to fund community programs and Los Ortiz medical clinic. It truly feels like a sip in the right direction: sparkling lemon acidity leads into deep, round flavors of cider and caramel, delicate hints of anise and a sweet, clean finish.