Normally when we think of cold coffee we have two things in mind; that half-finished mug of coffee that was set down half an hour ago and forgotten about or, of course, iced coffee (often with ice-cream and milk). Well now there is an alternative to beat the summer heat that tastes amazing and doesn’t come with all that excess milk and sugar. Enter the cold brew.
As part of our recent coffee discovery trip to Sumatra, the Dimattina Coffee crew were very fortunate to be able to spend a few days at Wahana Estate - which is located in the village of Lae Mungkur, Sidikalang North Sumatra. The drive to the estate from Medan (the capital of North Sumatra) is about 180km, however Indonesian roads and traffic makes this a long 5 hour journey. Luckily Indonesian drivers are fearless, and their ability to pass on tight corners, would do most Formula 1 drivers proud. That, and the fact that road rage doesn’t exist in Sumatra, made our journey memorable. The estate is located at an altitude of 1,300-1,500 metres and covers about 500 hectares. About 250 hectares of the estate is used for coffee plantations, 30 hectares for a coffee nursery, and around 10 hectares for the coffee processing facilities.
Talking coffee with Mauricio Velasquez is a bit like talking politics with Che Guevara; his passion for the organisation he represents is radical and unparalleled. Mauricio is, in many ways, a revolutionary of the coffee trade. A Colombian national, he has seen his fair share of instability and inequity. No doubt this has been one of the driving forces in his bid for change in the coffee world. After securing a university scholarship, Mauricio opted to major in international trade, nurturing a dream to revolutionise the way wealth was distributed within Colombia. A huge proponent for 'real direct trade', Mauricio explains to me the current issues surrounding the internal trade of coffee in Colombia. It is quite a convoluted system rife with corruption. The end result sees the same coffee pass through six or seven different buyers before it leaves the country, each of whom demand a slice of the pie. What is left for the poor, uneducated farmers is barely enough to get by. The reality is that they must take what they can get. Enter ASPROUNION.
The final day of the Burundi Cup of Excellence 2013 was a long one to say the least. We started the day with a short briefing and a reminder of how important today was for Burundi. It was obvious how eager everyone was to taste the coffees but still a sense of unease about the potential for potato defect.
Burundi travel diary #5
Today’s tasting was both inspirational and heartbreaking. Inspirational because I discovered my favourite coffee of the competition and several that came close; but heartbreaking because we had to eliminate ten more coffees (out of thirty in total) due to the potato defect. Hopefully when the farmers see these statistics they will be more motivated to fix the problem.
Burundi travel diary #3
Today is the opening of the Burundi Cup of Excellence competition. We met for a casual breakfast before heading over to the venue down the road. It is a relatively new building compared to what I have seen so far in Burundi, two storeys with tinted blue glass windows. Upstairs we can hear the hustle and bustle of dozens of staff frantically preparing the cupping room while downstairs we are met by numerous delegates from Burundi, East Africa and Japan. After going through the formalities of meeting the right people and shaking hands we were led into a meeting room adjacent to the cupping room. Paul gave us a thorough run through the CoE procedures and Susie officially welcomed us. It is such a great learning experience to see how meticulously everything is done here, from finding the perfect roasting profile to getting the water poured in just the right way at just the right time.
Anyone unfamiliar with the annual Cup of Excellence competition could be forgiven for thinking of it as a simple process. You taste coffee and say which one is the best right? Well…yes…but the level of intricacy, hard work and dedication that goes into its conception is astronomical! Cup of Excellence is something that has quite literally changed the shape of the coffee industry worldwide. Those three little words have challenged the way coffee is perceived both as a beverage and a commodity and has come out on top.
Smudge Publishing are launching their new book Coffee Encounters – Adventures to Origin, at this year’s Melbourne International Coffee Expo. The book is a beautiful chronicle of Australian Coffee Companies experiences sourcing coffee throughout the world.