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Cafe Manager required
Friday, June 28, 2013 - 03:37 PM - 9 months, 3 weeks ago   - 1. TMC Members' Coffee Blogs  - James and Anette's Square Mile Weblog
Square Mile Coffee Roasters are collaborating with The Ace Hotel in Shoreditch, to open a cafe there this Autumn. We’re looking for someone to manage the cafe, and to lead the team there. We’re looking for someone to start around the 9th of August, with the cafe opening a month later. Obviously we’re looking for someone with knowledge and interest in coffee. However, we intend to have a very heavy focus on service and are looking for someone passionate about great service. We don’t mean this as a throwaway line, we really mean great service. Unusually, wonderfully, freakishly good service. We’re looking for someone who relishes the challenge of meeting exceptional standards in coffee and the coffee experience, who strives to make great coffee approachable. Please send a short CV and covering letter to info@squaremilecoffee.com Due to the volume of applications we shall only be responding to those who progress to the interview stage.

La Bolsa, Guatemala
Monday, June 24, 2013 - 12:15 PM - 9 months, 3 weeks ago   - 1. TMC Members' Coffee Blogs  - James and Anette's Square Mile Weblog
After a long wait, we’re happy and proud to finally present to you this pleasing and satisfying coffee, sugar syrup sweet with notes of vanilla, fudge and pear. It has a soft, creamy, almost custard like mouthfeel, with a delicate red berry juiciness. One of Anette’s favourite coffee growing regions in the world is Huehuetenango, Guatemala. Just outside the small town of Santo Domingo about 7 kilometer from the Mexican border (you can actually see the tree-less line that is the border as you drive to the farm), Finca La Bolsa is a farm that we have known for year, and finally been able to visit and buy a big lot of coffee from. You can purchase this coffee via the webshop , and read more about Anette’s visit there in her previous post !

HONDURAS LAS FLORES PACAS
Thursday, June 20, 2013 - 10:09 AM - 10 months ago   - 1. TMC Members' Coffee Blogs  - James and Anette's Square Mile Weblog
HONDURAS LAS FLORES PACAS
With summer just on our doorstep we have for you a Pacas selection from the Las Flores farm, in the La Paz region of Honduras. This single varietal coffee is a great example of Pacas, and is full of notes of cherries and grapes, with some subtle peach in the finish. A lovely full mouthfeel that reminds us all of treacle and a crisp red apple freshness makes this a delicious coffee, hopefully to enjoy in the sunshine! You can get some here.

The Kenyas are here!
Tuesday, May 21, 2013 - 04:04 PM - 11 months ago   - 1. TMC Members' Coffee Blogs  - James and Anette's Square Mile Weblog
They are here, and are making their presence felt immediately with an exciting and delicious start to the Kenyan season! First up we have the Kiawamaruru Peaberry, which as it was last year is tasting amazing. Very crisp and refreshing the light and elegantly textured peaberry reminds us of orange sherbert with some floral overtones, a whole lot of caramel sweetness and a super juicy mouthfeel. Get yourself a bag here. Following up is the newcomer Ndimaini AA which has made quite the entrance. It has an amazing syrupy texture balanced out with a vibrant acidity. We found lots of blackcurrants, blackberries and cocoa notes leaving a lovely sweet aftertaste for some time. Grab some here.

Costa Rica, Cup of Excellence
Tuesday, May 14, 2013 - 03:19 PM - 11 months, 1 week ago   - 1. TMC Members' Coffee Blogs  - James and Anette's Square Mile Weblog
Costa Rica, Cup of Excellence
Day one Day one was calibration day, We started with a introduction to Cup of Excellence from Jon Thompson our head judge, which was quickly followed by a solutions calibration- there were 9 solutions on the table and we had to pick which was which from: Ordinary Acids Ordinary acids with sweetness Body Rough Mouthfeel Smooth Mouthfeel Astrigent Complex acids with sweetness Complex acid Sweetness This was fun, until I hit the bowl that was body- it was like drinking a bowl of spit- it looked like water but was thick and had ‘body’ it was all kinds of gross (I got most of them right except I got the acids mixed up) After this we cupped two tables, The first was 3 bowls, they were designed to fall within 3 main scoring categories – high 70’s- low 80s, mid 80’s and high 80’s -early 90‘s, this was so we could get a idea of what to expect of a coffee within a score range, I think this was incredibly helpful to get a idea of what to expect within those ranges. The final table was a table of 6 bowls for the final calibration cupping, it was apparent that we where going to find more than one type of processing on the tables in the next couple of days, which made for interesting discussions, during our post cupping discussions one of the national cuppers told us more about honey process - in Costa Rica they have what they refer to as the honey process which is basically just a variation on pulped natural (or semi washed) but with varying degrees of mucilage left on- The percentage of mucilage is set by calibrating the pulpers to allow the correct amount of mucilage to be removed. White = 25% mucilage Yellow = 50% Mucilage Red = 100% no ferment Black = 100% and is allowed to ferment a ‘touch’ Both Red and Black is dried on african beds at about 24-28º at lower altitude Gold = 100% no ferment, on african beds but at higher altitude at 17º so the drying time is longer. (disclaimer- over the next couple of days I noticed a little bit of disagreement about the honey process, some people think its rubbish, some think that it depends completely on the ripeness of the coffee and you could never set out to do a particular process without knowing the coffee first and some love it!) After calibration we went to Micros plantas, they are a tissue culture lab for ornamental plants that they sell mainly to the US and Holland market- they export 10 million plants a year. They are working with Exclusive coffees at reproducing rust resistant varietals using tissue culture – they do this by ‘cloning’ approved plants, they start by cutting a section of the leaf and placing in a firm media (which is the nutrition source) Leaf in firm media Once cells start growing they place it into a liquid media to encourage growth of the embryos, When they start growing they are placed it into a firm media where the embryos start to multiply and grow further before they sprout and are placed in the nursery. Cells in liquid media The whole process takes a 1year and after this is it can be planted straight into the farm as its root structure is much stronger than standard plants, the success rate of these is 95% as opposed to seeds which have a 20% fail rate. The pro’s to this process is consistency, low price, resistance and success rate, plants cultivated in this way can reproduce in the traditional but way it is recommended that they don’t as you don’t know where the pollen is coming from and thus weakening the genetics- Micro Plantas hope that in 3-4 years they will build a program called ‘relationship coffee’ which will be the micro lots with specific cultivars for specific buyers that will remain consistent across years. Micro Plantas also certify plants so if they die the will be replaced free of charge assuming that specific procedures have been followed once planted on the farm, they are also continuing to research rust resistance so that more work can be done for future cultivars. I think that this idea certainly has some pros and cons but is very interesting and it will be interesting to see where it goes. Next we took a quick trip to Exclusive coffees dry mill, Exclusive coffees started with 15 micro mills and now have up to 80, their dedicated team of cuppers cups up to 4500 Costa Rican samples a year- if any one knows Costa rica coffees its got to be theses guys, one of the cuppers there Wayner (who is also on the CoE jury) has done a really interesting study with 5105 samples about altitude vs Varietal, I think with a couple years more data this will be fascinating and I hope he can publish it some where for us all to read when he has reached a conclusion. Ladies hand sorting at Exclusive Milled coffee being weighed into bags ready for dispatch. Samples library Cupping table Day Two Day two is the first day of competition, there are only 31 coffees passed by the national jury so its a easy couple of days- round one is spread over 4 tables and 2 days – the first day throws up some surprises, especially are far as processing goes, I’ve come to expect only washed coffees to be on the tables but there are certainly a couple of honey process in there, as a jury we seem to be MOSTLY in agreement- of course there are a couple of outliners as you come to expect. The taste descriptors (my favorite part) where fairly subdued for this competition- I love hearing what people from all over the world come up with for these! In the afternoon we went to to Sonora estate, which is where Finca Cacao came from that we used in last years Red Brick and was also used by Jordi in the Spanish barista champ last year in Vienna. The farm is 100 years old although the family have not owned it for this long, they produce approx 700 bags a year and during peak season have 70-80 farmers who live in the houses provided, the coffee trees where pulled down and sugar was grown – hence why they have a sugar mill on site, They found some bourbon trees that managed to escape being ripped out and they cultivated some more plants from- they still have these original 100 year out bourbons growing on the estate (although not producing coffee) You can read more about Sonora Estate can be read in Anettes blog Nursery at Sonora Estate Diego Guardia showing us a baby Geisha. Coffee waiting to be milled at Sonora Estate Drying patios at Sonora Estate- coffee is pumped to the patios by the blue pipe at the far end. Old unused sugar mill at Sonora Estate On day 3 after cupping we went to Cafe de Altura, which is a mill situated in San Ramon, Cafe Altura is HUGE, they predominately do more commodity quality coffee but in the last couple of years have started trying to improve their systems so they are able to do more Micro lots. They produce 60,000 bags a year and work with 800 producers, they are one of the largest mills in the country. Although the mill has been there for 100 years a couple of years ago it went bankrupt, this is when Don Luis rallied some producers together and they went to the bank got a mortage and brought the mill so they would have somewhere to keep processing their coffee, there are 534 share holders of the mill and they managed to pay off the whole mortage in 8 crops- the terms of being a share holder is that you have to deliver 1800 fanega’s (a fanega is approx. 55 liters of cherry) During peak season Cafe de Altura can produce 3000 bags a day, coming from any of their 38 receiving stations that are spread out around the area, 35% of their production comes from the Tarrazu region. Cafe de Altura is also where the Cup of Excellence coffees have been stored during competiton and after competition they will be dry milled (if needed) and packed ready to go out to the highest bidders at auction. Francisco explaining how the cherry gets delivered. one of a couple of huge depulpers. Depulper for Microlots. Destoner. Mechanical driers Density sorters Bagging machine. Coffee dried and in parchment ready to be milled. Cup of Excellence coffees under lock and key waiting to be milled (if needed) and then they will be vacuum packed and sent out to the winning bidders in the auction. Cup of Excellence coffee with security tags to ensure the coffee is the correct one. Top ten coffees being cupped. Without these people the competition would not run! WINNER! The auction will happen on 19th of June, I can’t wait to see were the coffees go!

El Salvador Cup of Excellence 2013
Wednesday, May 08, 2013 - 03:30 PM - 11 months, 2 weeks ago   - 1. TMC Members' Coffee Blogs  - James and Anette's Square Mile Weblog
El Salvador Cup of Excellence 2013
I just returned to London after having the pleasure of judging at the El Salvador Cup of Excellence in San Salvador. Across a week of cupping, the international jury chose 25 coffees of the 51 presented with, to go forward to this year’s auction. It was great to see old and new friends, producers we’ve worked with in the past as well as produvers we will be working with this year for the first time. Congratulations to all the winners!

A great weekend!
Tuesday, April 30, 2013 - 01:28 PM - 11 months, 3 weeks ago   - 1. TMC Members' Coffee Blogs  - James and Anette's Square Mile Weblog
This past weekend was the London Coffee Festival, during which there were a number of competitions held in which members of the team were competing. Friday – UK Brewers Cup This is a relatively new competition and one of our favourites. John, Marty and Sang Ho all competed and all did a great job. Marty and John placed placed 6th and 4th respectively and we were delighted when they announced Sang Ho as the winner. Sang Ho competed using our Cup of Excellence coffee from Rwanda – the Vunga . Not only a talented roaster here at Square Mile, but also a very talented man when it comes to making coffee. He went on to prove this by placing 2nd in the UK Latte Art championship later the same day. Amazing! Sang Ho will compete in Melbourne in the World Brewers Cup in May. We’re excited! A stunned Sang Ho announced as winner (Photo courtesy of Kate Beard ) Saturday – UK Aeropress Championship This is a semi-official competition, run at the Coffee Hit booth during the show. Gary , who works in our production department, did a great job. Despite only having made his first aeropress a few weeks ago (and only working in coffee a few months now) – Gary placed third! Congratulations go to Isa Verschraegen of Talkhouse Coffee on winning, and to Christian Baker from Association for placing second. It turns out all of the top three had chosen the same coffee to brew – our La Buitrera . Thank you! Gary with his trophy, alongside a happy Jess Sunday – UK Barista Championship John Gordon was once again competing, having won the title in 2010 and 2011. The finals this year were of an astonishingly high standard, and we were all absolutely delighted when they announced John as the winner! John will travel to Melbourne to represent the UK again in May, and we think he’ll do (as he always does) amazing things. John, Jess and Sang Ho all worked incredibly hard on the routine and turning John’s vision for competition into a reality. What he presented was fresh, interesting, engaging and of course very, very tasty! John competed with a component coffee from Red Brick – La Serrania – which is a peachy delight of a coffee! The one constant behind all three events, and these successes, is Jess. She roasted all the coffees for everyone, and does an amazing job week in and week out at the roaster. She’ll be travelling with John and Sang Ho to Melbourne too, and all at Square Mile are incredibly proud of these combined achievements. This weekend was a great effort, full of camaraderie and support. Plus (in between the nerve wracking bits) it was tonnes of fun! Three time UKBC Champion John Gordon! (Photo courtesy of Kate Beard ) UK Competition Coffee Pack We decided it would be fun to release a little boxset of the three coffees: the Vunga, La Buitrera and a limited run of John’s competition La Serrania roast. They come with a little information about each coffee and the competitions, and we’ve made them a little more accessible at £30 for all three. We hope you enjoy! It will be available for about a week from today so be quick! UK Competition Coffees – £30 (3 x 350g)

Sertão, this year’s version!
Wednesday, April 17, 2013 - 03:22 PM - 1 year ago   - 1. TMC Members' Coffee Blogs  - James and Anette's Square Mile Weblog
Sertão, this year’s version!
New year, new Sertão! This lot of Sertão is brought to us by the Pereira family who are no strangers to producing stellar coffee, having taken 3 top spots in the 2005 cup of excellence. This is the largest estate they run and has over 519 acres designated just for coffee production. We think this has a much more ‘classic Brazil’ taste than the Tijuco but is equally tasty in its own way. From this new Sertão you can expect an intense brown sugar sweetness, followed by a lovely malt with toasted hazelnuts and a hint of vanilla in the finish. Get yours in the webshop here.

Honduras, March 2013
Monday, April 15, 2013 - 11:25 AM - 1 year ago   - 1. TMC Members' Coffee Blogs  - James and Anette's Square Mile Weblog
Honduras, March 2013
I was really looking forward to cupping a wide selection of Honduran coffees again, after the COE last year I’ve been very impressed by the range of flavours this country produces. They still struggle with some processing and shipping problems, but this year I’m hopeful that the lots we buy will arrive quickly and in great condition. Flying into San Pedro Sula, the first proper rain of the trip started coming down. Thankfully most of the first day would be spent cupping at IHCAFE’s lab, where Rony and Oswaldo had prepared three big tables to taste. It was great to find a lot of coffees that I really enjoyed, so I’m really excited about our Honduras offering this year! The first farm to visit was to Finca Las Flores, one of the coffees I’d just cupped, enjoyed and noted down chocolate raisins for. Owners Jorge and Maria Lanza arrived with a sandwiches and soft drinks before we bundled in the car and headed to the farm, situated about a 30 minute drive up the side of the El Cielito mountain outside of Peña Blanca. As we climbed there was not only rain. We drove straight into a thick fog, making visibility a bit less than desired for narrow mountain tracks. Rain and fog at this time of year is unusual, and I can imagine it causes a lot of problems for people trying to dry their parchment carefully. I was wondering how to keep myself dry too, but thankfully I was able to borrow one of the raincoats that the family provides for all the pickers to wear when needed. Maria explained that most of the producers here don’t live on the farms, but may have a farm manager on site to look after the picking and milling. The farm manager onsite at Las Flores is Gerardo, and he lives there with his wife and two small boys. The family has been growing coffee for 23 years, but Las Flores has only been in their care for 3. They bought it to have a farm to experiment with varietals, and although there were a few coffee trees there before, most of the plants I saw were 3 years old or younger. Jorge and Gerardo Lempira Gerardo walked us through the raised drying beds that they just built inside 10×3 meter long greenhouses. Not just for producing cleaner coffee, the raised beds are also intended for helping them dry slower, fast drying times being one of the problems we often see in Honduras. Hopefully the investment of $750 per greenhouse will be worth it. From the look of the parchment I saw they are off to a good start, but time and space will always be weighed up against cost. While walking around the fields and looking at coffee trees, we were served some home grown and brewed coffee with sweet bread, slowly warming us up a bit from the cold weather. I’m not sure what we were drinking, the trees with cherry were mostly Caturra and Catuai but they also have a few Lempira trees with their characteristic looking leaves. About 2 manzanas of Pacamara had just been planted too. This year was their first harvest and picking was still happening, but the crew had the day off due to the bad weather. I could see how the rain had caused problems for the quality too, many of the cherries had swollen up causing the skin to burst. Drying beds Foggy coffee fields I also had the chance to go to Marcala spending a day at the Marcala coffee festival, bumping into more international coffee buyers and cuppers during their “Best of Marcala’ competition. But the main purpose of this trip was to visit farms and mills that we might want to work with, and just outside of town is Beneficio El Espino, where a group of 4 families share equipment and drying space for their coffees. This year, they’ve invested a lot in the building of new polytunnels for drying, on top of getting hit fairly hard by roja. But the coffees they produced were good, several of my favourite lots at the cuppings came from here. The mill is at 1300 masl while their farms are up between 1500-1700 masl. Especially one lot (the one in the yellow bags in this picture) came up as a favourite for me, so I hope to be getting that in in May! Francisco Antonio Castillo, Mario and Carlos Mejia Nursery El Espino mill Next to visit was the COMSA cooperative, short for Cafe Organico Marcala S.A. de CV, Some of you will remember this coffee from one of our previous Red Brick recipes. They were founded in 2001 by a few growers who wanted to add value to their crops, and has since grown to mill for over 300 members. Wanting to continuously to improve they just built massive secadoras solares to a cost of of $3500 per unit, one unit holding around 460 parchment. They also had the first demucilager I’d seen on the trip. Comsa mill Comsa Patio Demucilager Giant drying beds, secadoras solares Giant warehouse Raking in the secadoras solares at COMSA The very last farm visit on my Central American roundtrip was Joel Oliva’s farm El Chiflador, named after a nearby waterfall. They grow Icatu, Sarchimor, Lempira , Catuai and Bourbon, and is an organic farm. They prepare all their own compost on the farm, using pulp, parchment, manure and ash, and parts of the farm look well kept and healthy. But here too they’ve had a complicated year due to the rust, and walking around the farm you can really see the adverse effect this disease has had on may farms. From one plot to the next the trees will be full of leaves and ripe cherry, then naked and barren where roja swept through. Some varietals have stood up better than the others, and Joel is planning to replant more of the resistant varietals. Joel Oliva Rust / No Rust Rusty leaf Compost heap

Nicaragua, March 2013
Friday, April 12, 2013 - 05:53 PM - 1 year ago   - 1. TMC Members' Coffee Blogs  - James and Anette's Square Mile Weblog
Nicaragua, March 2013
It’s the dry season in Nicaragua, and as we drove from the airport the smell of burning grass filled the warm air. Once into coffee mill country, I was a bit troubled to be passing some large exporters where bags and stacks of parchment was sat outside in the sun, surely baking nicely in the hot rays. Seemingly a widespread practice, it was a new sight for me, as was the way most people here dry the parchment: on tarps laid directly on the ground. You never seize to be surprised by new knowledge in this business. I was picked up by Erwin Mierisch, a friend and producer we’ve worked with before but not yet had a chance to visit. He and his family own several farms and run the mill Don Esteban, milling for themselves as well as a few other growers in the area. The mill is about 13 km outside of Matagalpa, the farms are in Matagalpa and Jinotega, and recently they also bought a couple of farms in Honduras. Questioned on the drying practices, I was relieved and interested to hear that they are working on building 3-tiered drying beds, as well as doing more experiments on how to combat the typically huge humidity changes in the area. Generally the goal is to dry slower and in stages, to stress the coffee less and preventing it from aging quickly in storage. Don Esteban dry mill Bags piled high at Don Esteban Eleane Mierisch, mill manager Erwin and crew setting up a cupping Across my visit I spent a lot of time cupping day lots from the various farms on offer, trying to identify the lots we want to buy this year. I was pleased to find several tasty coffees that will fit with our profile, so I hope to have a container ready to ship by the end of the month. I also wanted a chance to visit some of the farms we’ve had on offer before, and hope to have on offer again, such as Escondida, San Jose and Mama Mina. On site at Finca Escondida in Lipululo, Jinotega, sits the Escondida wetmill that pulps both for that farm and next door San Jose, as well as 3 other neighbouring farms. Escondida used to be a cattle farm, but now has various plots with varietals such as Ethiosar (also referred to as Ricardo), Java and Red Caturra, Bourbon and Caturra Estrella. The farm spans altitudes of only 975-1230 masl, but is very well shaded and well managed by Boanerje Martinez Montenegro. Pulper at Escondida mill Tablon Cielo At Escondida they also have a varietal garden, with trees such as Don Will (a Guatemalan variety that their grandpa brought with him when he moved to Nicaragua), Geisha, Laurina, Hibrido de Timor, Caturra Estrella, Red and Yellow Pacamara, Biachar Agobio, Ethiopia Maracuya, Africano and Bourbon Africano and Java. Don Will variety Ethiosar (Ricardo) variety Further up the road from Escondida you find Finca San Jose, running from 1250 to 1400 masl. Here you’ll mostly find Caturra, Caruai and a bit of Java. There were also a few Yellow Pacamara trees, which from the taste of the cherry wasn’t as sweet as for example the Caturra, but will be interesting to cup nonetheless. We ran into a picking crew sorting the less ripes of the day’s picking, loading finished bags onto a tractor ready to take it down to the wetmill. From this farm you have a great panoramic view of Lake Apanác, a reservoir created by the dam on the Río Tuma to the north of Jinotega. Lake view Sorting the daily harvest In Laguna Verde, Jinotega, you’ll find neighbouring farms Los Altos and Mama Mina (also called La Minita). Los Altos came under the Mierisch’s ownership only 4 years ago, taken over from a cousin who wanted to move into politics rather than coffee growing. The area has a lot of cloud cover so there is very little need for shade trees, and the altitude of 1274 to 1400 masl keeps the temperature nice and cool for the Catuai, Caturra, Maragogype, Pacamara and Mundo Nuovo trees. At Los Altos they also built dorms for the pickers, since the location is a bit more remote than most the other farms. Los Altos Los Altos Agnes. Always time for a cuddle. Further along the road from Los Altos you’ll find Mama Mina, which was named after grandma Mina McEwan. This is where the wetmill for that farm and Los Altos currently sit, but they will soon be moving it to Los Altos and improving the equipment as they do. If you fancy getting an impression on what it’s like to travel around in the back of the truck between these farms, I shot a bumpy video of the drive from the nursery at Los Altos, through the fields past the dorms, ending at the start of Mama Mina. (And believe me, this is one of the best roads I’ve been on!) Grandma Mina McEwan Mama Mina Mama Mina approach Mama Mina mill I also went to Ocotal to visit the Las Segovias mill, which processes a lot of the Nicaraguan Cup of Excellence winning farms from the Nueva Segovia region. It is headed up by Luis Alberto Balladarez, who also has his own farms’ coffee processed here. When we cupped some of the coffees on offer, his farms were consistent stand outs, so I hope to get some of those lots in this year. Cupping with Luis Alberto Las Segovias With Claudia Lovo the sales and marketing manager we drove to Mozonte to see Luis’ farms Un Regalo de Dios and La Esperanza and the wetmill where they are pulped. As we walked around the fields with farm manager Filadelfo Lopez, picking was still going on and I was interested to learn that these guys sometimes purposefully pick to various levels of ripeness according to the preferences of their customers, depending on whether they want more acidity, body or sweetness. What I could see left on the trees was a lot of burgundy, full of both sweetness and body. Starting picking at 6am, there are two collections/deliveries to the mill at 11am and 4pm. Using loud whistles as the signal to gather, pickers started appearing with their sacks for the 11am collection, and I got some footage of how they track yield and calculate wages. They are paid by buckets called latas and normally fill about 7-8 latas of 28kg a day. While the government standard is 33 cordobas per basket, here they will earn 33 cordobas against picking only ripe. Filadelfo Measuring cherries The wetmill was built 4 years ago and is one of the cleanest mills I’ve seen in a while. Someone was nearly permanently hosing down the tile and scrubbing everything clean, and even if the cherry is transported in bags, the back of the collecting truck was thoroughly cleaned between each delivery too. The cherries we’d seen being collected was to be processed as honey and once thoroughly cleaned they fired up the Penagos pulper. Un Regalo de Dios mill Draining in cajillas Claudia and cajillas full of parchment Most of the 200 pickers hired during harvest are male. While I’m not sure if this is a Regalo thing or if this is a typical Nicaraguan deal, that is the first time I’ve come across a gender based hiring of pickers in Central America. Perhaps it has to do with the fact that they all get accommodation together in a big house. Of the 40 regular staff you’ll find more women, among others these ladies who come in at 2 am every morning to start preparation of the 600 fresh tortillas they serve along beans and corn just for the pickers’ lunches! (and they get breakfast and dinner too!) I also got to visit Santa Gema, another Mozonte farm belonging to a young producer called Mario Jose Vilchez Urbina. His nursery and mill is at Santa Gema, so we started there with having a lovely lunch and a chat about his farms. He already has three years of placing in the COE behind him, and also runs fincas Santissima and Escondida. He’s had Santissima since 1995, acquired Santa Gema in 1999 and took over Escondida in 2007. We had a chance to cup his coffees together at Las Segovias later on, and this is definitely the sort of producer we’d love to work with, quality focused and looking to continuously improve. Mario Vilchez Santa Gema mill Santa Gema (spot the flowers, he also produces Calla lilies!) Cupping with Mario

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