Just like the Burgundy region of France is famous for its distinctive wines, the Yirgacheffe region of Ethiopia is renowned for its prized coffees that explode with bright flavors of flowers and citrus. The coffee in your box this month, from Sacramento’s beloved Temple Coffee, is a prime example of why Yirgacheffe holds a special place in the hearts of coffee lovers worldwide. We wish we could share the stories of the farmers behind this lovely coffee to honor the hard work they poured into its production. Unfortunately all we can tell you is that this coffee was purchased through the Ethiopia Commodities Exchange (ECX), which helps secure fair prices for farmers but makes it impossible to know the identity of any individual coffee. While Temple would have preferred to work directly with individual farmers, this Yirgacheffe from the ECX was just too good for them to pass up. What we can tell you for sure is that the bag in front of you is special. Ethiopia, regarded as the birthplace of coffee, is home to literally thousands of varieties of heirloom coffee that aren’t found anywhere else in the world. These varieties are almost entirely undocumented and, for the most part, the grow freely throughout the country’s rolling terrain. Since every plot of land harbors a unique mix of heirloom-variety coffee trees, no two farmers will ever produce identical lots of coffee. All of these distinct lots are then mixed together for sale at the ECX, which ensures that no two lots of coffee at the ECX are ever the same. In the end, this means that the bag in front of you has a genuinely one-of-a-kind combination of heirloom beans-- pretty cool if you ask us!
Temple Coffee Roasters
We never expected to compare a coffee to a mythological animal, but this selection from Temple Coffee, like the phoenix, has literally gained new life by rising from the ashes. In October of 2005, the Santa Ana volcano in western El Salvador erupted for the first time in over a century, sending a destructive flow of ash and debris down the slopes of the mountain. Located directly in its path was a coffee estate called Finca Santa Elena, operated by farmer Don Fernando Lima. The farm suffered the devastating loss of most of its coffee trees along with nearly its entire harvest from that year. Now, after more than five long years of being nursed back to life, Finca Santa Elena holds a unique advantage over other estates throughout El Salvador. The same volcanic ash that left the farm in ruins now provides perfect conditions for the young trees to produce coffees of unparalleled quality. As if the blessed soil weren’t enough, the coffee in your bag this month is also made up of a distinguished coffee variety known as Pacamara. This variety has earned a reputation as the “king bean” of Central America due to its bold floral aromas and flavors and enormous red beans. Growing Pacamara beans successfully is no small feat, but Don Fernando makes it look easy with this world-class offering, which was recently selected as one of the best coffees in El Salvador at the prestigious Cup of Excellence competition.
High gusts, rocky crags, low altitude – conventional wisdom says Serra Do Bone (literally “Saw Tooth” in Portuguese) isn't the place to grow coffee. It also says you shouldn't preserve half of your land as rain forest, and that a Brazilian brew is bound to taste like a musty pile of peanut shells. Luckily Carlos Sergio Sanglard, who grows some of Brazil's best on these wild lands, believes different. Carlos has proven that great coffee can grow on a crag, and that Brazilian beans can be just as nuanced as the finest Africans. This coffee is one of the dozens that Temple Coffee as converted to direct trade within the past year. Their team went to exhaustive lengths, including cupping over 100 samples, to bring you this Brazilian gem.
Ten years ago, what remained of the coffee industry in Rwanda produced crappy stuff, which was also difficult to export to the U.S. But over the last few years, small farmers and coops like the Musasa Cooperative (80 percent of whom are women!) have rejuvenated Rwandan coffee with high quality goods, like this crazy delicious washed Bourbon variety grown at 1160 meters in Rushashi and roasted by Sacramento’s Temple Coffee: It’s super clean, dropping notes of currant and cherry in a body so smooth it’s creamy. It finishes sweet, then lounges around in your mouth like it’s summer.