Caturra, Bourbon, Typica & Ethiopia Landrace Varieties
Dry and Underwater Fermentation, Washed, Raised Bed and Patio Drying
November 2021-March 2022
San Marcos, Guatemala, Wonsho, Ethiopia
About Organic Summer Solstice
Summer Solstice is a celebration of those long days of summer when the sun lingers and time slows. It’s a magical season here in the Driftless -- one spent floating down the river, tending overabundant gardens, and gathering around late night fires under the stars. And while we know we can’t capture that all in a blend, no one's going to stop us from trying.
As with all of our seasonal blends, Summer Solstice captures the fresh flavor profiles and delicate subtleties of this season’s standouts. Playful and radiant, this blend features two lots from two cooperatives that belong to the Sidama Farmers Union: Bokasso and Fero as well as a beautiful coffee from one of our favorite coffee cooperatives in Guatemala: San Miguel. With notes of ripe stone fruit and green melon, Summer Solstice is floral, fruity and surprisingly full-bodied.
San Miguel Cooperative
Nestled in the remote highlands of Western Guatemala lies the sleepy mountain town of San Miguel Ixtahuacán. The landscape here is beautiful with dizzying altitudes and breathtaking landscapes dotted with lush, verdant farms. To say that these are small-scale producers would be an understatement. The average farm size in this area is less than 2 acres. Farmers here have maintained traditional heirloom varieties like Bourbon and Caturra, which has kept the profile of these coffees extremely sweet and dynamic.
In 2011, the producers gathered together to form the ACMI Cooperative, an organization that has grown to 149 members this year. The members are indigenous Mayan, speaking their ancestral language known as “Mam”.
This is our second year buying from ACMI, but we have been working with their exporting partner Manos Campesinas for more than a decade. The main objective of Manos is to offer its cooperative members access to excellent buyers all over the world. Additionally, they provide technical assistance in the field to increase production as well as the quality of each harvest. Manos also provides technical support to help farmers diversify their crops, convert to organic production, improve the administration of the cooperatives, and promote women’s participation. They are an incredible organization and we are excited to have such a mission-aligned partner in them.
The Fero Cooperative belongs to a larger umbrella organization, the Sidama Farmers Cooperative, which houses 47 small farmer-led organizations dotted throughout Southern Ethiopia. We first started buying from Fero and the Union in 2006, making it one of our longest standing partnerships. The washing station is located near Fero, a town in the Wonsho district of Sidama.
Fero has 3,574 small-scale farmer members, making it one of the largest cooperatives in the entire country. In this area, farmers tend to have only a few acres of land dedicated to coffee production. Beyond coffee, they grow false banana, mango, avocado, banana, pineapple and guava. Many farms also grow Acacia, Bibra and Sesa trees, which provide shade for the coffee plants.
We've tasted coffee from many of these organizations, but over time have zeroed in on the Fero Cooperative. Their coffee shines due to their particular locale, which is situated high in the mountains above the Rift Valley at nearly 2,000 meters. This impressive elevation causes the coffee cherries to mature slowly, developing a physically dense bean, filled with nuanced and complex flavors.
Bokasso is also a member of the Sidama Coffee Farmers Cooperative. It is located in the Wonsho Woreda of the Sidama region and spans four different villages in the area. It was founded in 1976 and currently has a membership of 2,217 producers. We first visited Bokasso in 2013 on our first trip to Ethiopia. It is located very close to the Fero Cooperative, and a stones throw from the town of Yirgalem.
When we visited, we were really impressed with the level of engagement of farmers and staff at the cooperative. As with Fero, coffee producers in this area tend to have very small farms of only one to two acres in size. Coffee is extremely important to these producers as it tends to be their main source of income.
Both the Fero and Bokasso are washed process lots. Freshly picked coffee cherries are delivered to the washing station usually by foot or by donkey. Once the cherries are received, they are pulped to remove the outer fruit and then moved into fermentation tanks where they ferment under water for 24-48 hours. The fermentation process breaks down the coffee fruit on the seed, allowing for clean, articulate flavors to come through in the cup. Upon completion of fermentation, the coffee sits under water for another 12-15 hours before moving its way onto African beds for a 10-14 day drying period.
Coffees from the Bokasso Cooperative are among the highest altitudes in all of Sidama, pushing towards 2,200 Meters in elevation. The resulting cup profile is distinctly floral and articulate with soaring aromatics and notes of cherry blossom, apricot and orange.
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