|In preparation for the forthcoming harvest, our PECA team in Peru has been hard at work conducting workshops and seminars with coffee growers from several producer groups in Cusco and Cajamarca. Early lots on the cupping tables from the North are showing a lot of promise, as volumes and quality should continue to rise into the peak harvest period of July and August. In the South, we are establishing new relationships with some producer groups, as well as exploring new corners of La Convención de Cusco, and further south in Puno.
The aim this harvest is to set up a total of three new QC labs across the country, including our central cupping lab in Lima, which is almost ready. With this new lab infrastructure, in addition to the cupping labs of our partner coops, we will be able to select the best lots of the season, and continue to demonstrate that Peru's potential is being realized.
|As our exports from Nicaragua come to an end, the rainy season has arrived in Nueva Segovia and Jinotega, which means that it's time to work with producers to improve their fertilization programs. We are happy to see very healthy coffee trees thus far, and with fertilizers applied on time and in the quantities required, we expect great results in quality and productivity for next harvest.
Last year was good for producers in terms of quality, and they are very motivated about what the future can bring. In the past couple of harvests, they have been implementing strategies and methods to increase their quality: calibrating pulpers, improving their wet mill infrastructure, increasing of fermentation times, and even measuring brix levels in cherry (and during fermentation) to find perfect cup consistency.
This November, we will be celebrating five years of working in Nicaragua, and we anticipate even better developments in 2018 and beyond!
|We currently have two containers from Mexico en-route to Australia and Europe, carrying coffees from our latest two projects in the state of Oaxaca.
The first coffee is called 'Monte Albán', a blend of lots from small growers in the vicinity of the city of Oaxaca, which were received and analyzed at the QC lab in Oaxaca. Monte Albán refers to the Zapotec ruins about 9km from Oaxaca; these ruins - which date back to 500BC, can been seen from anywhere in the valley, and are some of the oldest extant structures in Mesoamerica.
The second coffee, 'Flor de Corazón', is comprised of lots delivered by producers from the small town of San Mateo Yoloxochitlán in the Cañada region of northern Oaxaca, near the point where the states of Veracruz, Puebla and Oaxaca meet. Flor de Corazón means "Flower of the Heart", a species of flower which hangs in the shape of a pink heart. This colorful name aptly captures the character of a beautiful coffee hailing from a region of Oaxaca that we are excited to explore, as we develop new relationships with these small coffee producers.
|The container heading to Sydney from Beneficio San Vicente in Honduras is ready and should be shipped in early July. This container has 22 different lots from AA-grade lots to very high quality microlots from 20 different producers from Santa Barbara, all of which are exclusive to Caravela Australia. We have cupped some samples in our Australia office and have received positive feedback about these coffees, so they will surely be moving fast off our list. We are proud to see our relationship with these 20 producers grow, thanks to the effort and commitment from them and the BSV team.
|There has been plenty of rain in Guatemala the past few weeks; welcome news for coffee producers, as trees there are recovering from 5 months of hardly any precipitation. Owing to these plentiful rains, we've seen the best flowerings of the past six years, which indicate that Guatemala should have a high volume of coffee during the next harvest. Our PECA team is now tasked with ensuring that growers fertilize properly and on-time, so that quantity in 2018 is match by quality.
In the meantime, our for 2017 shipments are moving forward; by mid-July we should have all coffees en route to their final destinations in Australia, Europe and North America.
|July marks the start of the small fly crop in Galapagos, and we are not wasting a single minute. We consider it a great way to deepen our relationship with coffee producers and the local Coop, and to start improving some of their processes, as we keep one eye on the bigger Main harvest which should start by year's end. We are sending one of our PECA educators from Nicaragua to the islands to spend a full month working hand-in-hand with them. We are thrilled about this new origin, and hope to share the results of these efforts in the near future.
|This year we managed to export all our lots by mid-June, and by now most lots have already landed at their destination warehouses and are ready to be roasted. Even though volumes were lower this year compared to the previous harvest, we were pleased to see that parchment-to-green yields improved considerably versus last year, meaning that physical quality was much better compared to last year's harvest. Cup quality was also impressive, and we hope that all our customers who bought El Sals from us are eager to showcase them to their customers.
We have noticed that the majority of the small producers we work with in Chalatenango and Metapan have very old trees that haven't been replanted for quite a while, lowering tree productivity, increasing susceptible to rust, and adversely affecting quality and producer income. Therefore we are focusing the majority of our efforts in the field to educate growers on how best torenovate their trees without sacrificing a lot of volume.
|The harvest in the northern region of Ecuador is ongoing, and we are currently cupping new profiles from the provinces of Imbabura and Carchi. Based on what we have cupped so far, we are happy to report that this year the harvest should bring very interesting coffees.
Since February of this year, when we introduced our PECA program in Ecuador, more than 20 coffee growers in the north-west of Pichincha have been receiving training on how to improve their harvest and post-harvesting processes as well as assistance on the implementation of better practices to increase yields. Producers in the region are very excited to work with Caravela as they are seeing good economic results and some of them are even planting more trees in new land and renovating their old coffee trees to increase their production in the next years. We are excited about the future of specialty coffee in Ecuador!
|The rainy season that farmers have faced since March has delayed the maturation of cherries and increased drying times and risks to farmers.
In these very wet times, coffee growers are under pressure to dry their coffee as quickly as possible to get cash fast, forgetting the importance of a careful and slow drying process to preserve cup quality, improve shelf life and obtain higher prices. In an effort to help producers address this challenge, and taking advantage of the popularity of the number 1 song of the moment in the world, our marketing team in Colombia came up with a great idea to spread the word to producers about the importance of slowly drying coffee. Despacito, which translates 'slowly' in English, is the way that high quality specialty coffee should to be dried. Take a look at our video here and share it to help us spread the message!