We have such a wide variety of coffees that it can be easy to miss some of the best options to use. We’ve heard your pleas for sanity amidst the roastery noise: “There are so many coffees! Where do I begin? “

Well folks, here are 3 conventional coffees that we think you should try at least once if you haven’t already. We’ve been purchasing coffees from these producers for years now, because we believe in the value, the quality, and the people behind it all.

HONDURAS

Beneficio Santa Rosa- SHG/EP

Varietal– Caturra, Bourbon, Catuai.

Processing– Fully Washed and Sundried on patios.

Altitude– 1100- 1600 masl.

Producer– Various smallholder producers around Copan, dry milled and exported by Beneficio Santa Rosa.

Region– Copan, Honduras.

Harvest period– December- March.

Overall, one can divide Honduras into six well-defined growing regions that produce great coffees and excellent quality and Copan is right up there (Don’t get me wrong, this is a conventional lot, but it is a great one for the price).

Beneficio Santa Rosa is an exporter and dry mill, located in Santa Rosa de Copán. The team services organised producer groups, cooperatives, producer associations and large as well as small independent producers in the region. The mill receives coffee in parchment form, either wet or (partially) dried. Its main job is to prepare the coffee to export standards. Santa Rosa makes sure the coffee meets the international standards in terms of moisture content, grade, and cup quality. These guys and girls are the unsung heroes of our industry. Sure, flavour and quality are indeed developed at the wet mill/ drying area (and of course, through cultivation on the farm) but flavour and quality are ensured at the dry mill.

At Beneficio Santa Rosa, trucks arrive daily with the coffee from its various suppliers. The lot receives a traceability tag so it can be followed and identified all along the processing chain. The quality team at the mill evaluates a sample of the lot and determines the price in correspondence with the quality. Beneficio Santa Rosa produces certified coffees, conventional qualities (SHG, HG) and specialty grade micro- lots.  Beneficio Santa Rosa has various certifications to guarantee its commitment to the environment and the community.

Check out the cup profiles here.

COSTA RICA

BROMELIA FANCY (COOP PALMARES) SHB/EP

Varietal– Caturra, Catuai (Shade Grown)

Processing– Fully Washed and Sundried

Altitude– 1200- 1350 masl.

Producer– Palmares Cooperative with 1350 members (Benefits include Healthcare & Financial support)

Region– Palmares, Western Central Valley, Costa Rica

Harvest period– November- February

The Cooperative of Coffee Growers and Multiple Services of Palmares, COOPEPALMARES, was founded on January 21, 1962 by 80 small coffee growers in the canton. COOPEPALMARES is a cooperative company dedicated to the cultivation, production, processing, commercialization and international marketing of coffee. Its offices are located in the canton of Palmares, the best coffee region in the Western Central Valley. The coffee farms of the associates have the optimal weather conditions for the production of high-quality coffee, highlighting its location at an altitude above sea level that ranges between 1,000 and 1,200 meters, of fertile land and adequate rainfall at certain times of the year.

To date, COOPEPALMARES has more than 1,450 associates, direct coffee producers, product of the family tradition of the pioneers of the Cooperative, who have inherited their lands to the new generations, becoming one of the country’s agricultural cooperatives with greater number of associates.

The coffee plantations here in Palmares are some of the oldest in Costa Rica but are also fast disappearing due to pressure of population increase and industrial development. Some Bourbon varietal is still cultivated in the Central Valley but is becoming scarce as time progresses.

Check out the cup profiles here.

GUATEMALA

FINCA EL MORITO SHB/EP

Varietal– Catuai, Pache San Ramon, Bourbon, Mundo Novo

Processing– Fully washed and sundried

Altitude– 1400- 2350 masl.

Producer– Jose Roberto Monterosso

Region– Jalapa, Mataquescuintla (Nuevo Oriente)

Harvest period– January- April

Arguably one of Guatemala’s finest coffee farms led by Mr. Roberto Monterroso. Coffee is a passion for Mr Monterroso and he constantly refines his processes and readily experiments with new processing and cultivation methods as well as new cultivars and varietals. Having placed several times among the top-3 at Guatemala’s Cup of Excellence competition speaks for itself.

The farm is located on the small village of Morales, municipality of Mataquescuintla, department of Jalapa, a positioning that seems to be a cross of over of the Nuevo Oriente (the new east) and the Fraijanes plateau.

In this coffee, characteristics of these two regions seem to come together in the cup.

The balanced profile of a Nuevo Oriente coffee with the more acidic nature of a Fraijanes plateau coffee. Check here to understand Guatemalan Coffee Regionality.

The farm has 672 hectares, with coffee making up 98.0 hectares, pasture land 50.6 hectares and a forest of 523.4 hectares.

El Morito farm has its own nursery, with the purpose of having the quality control of the plant that is going to be used for the sowing of new areas and for the re-sowing of the old cropping areas. Its own nursery helps with these good agricultural practices.

El Morito farm works with many varieties, giving priority to the ones that are better adapted to the climatic conditions of the region. The varieties that they grow on the farm are Pache, San Ramon, Catuaí, Bourbon, Maragogipe, Pacamara, Maracatu and Geisha.

(Side Secret- Besides this blended varietal lot, we have some Pacamara in limited amounts! so if you’re interested, stop reading this post and contact us now, before it’s too late)

The harvest is one of the most important steps in the process of coffee production, because this step affects all the success of the future production in the harvest area. On El Morito farm, in the new areas that will be cropped, we do not eliminate the native trees. The plantations are rather cropped under the trees, and the same ones are used as permanent shadow.

Shade grown coffees mature at a slower rate and ensure less use of the sugars produced through photosynthesis and instead get stored in the bean. This in a way sort of simulates a higher altitude.

Check out these crazy social projects that Mr Monterosso and his team are spearheading-:

  • Building support to the schools in Mataquescuintla Municipality.
  • Medical Services to the workers.
  • Monetary support with medicines to people who need it in Morales Town.
  • The building of Instituto Telesecundaria Aldea Morales
  • Donations of toys to children.
  • Supporting Bomberos Voluntarios in Mataquescuintla, Jalapa.

Check out the cup profiles here.

You may have noticed some grading terms in the coffee titles above. Here’s an explainer on those.

SHG

Strictly High Grown, a quality and altitude specification from Mexico, Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua, and Panama, meaning that the coffee was grown above 1,200 meters above sea level (MASL) and denotes a denser, higher-quality bean than the HG (High Grown) classification.

SHB

Strictly Hard Bean, a quality and altitude specification from Costa Rica and Guatemala, usually meaning that the coffee has been grown above 1,200 meters above sea level (MASL), usually a denser and higher-quality bean than HB (Hard Bean) classification.

EP

Abbreviation for “European Prep,” which indicates the coffee has undergone rigorous sorting – usually by hand, though increasingly via optical sorters.

This term is mainly used in Latin America and is quite wide-ranging in that the precise meaning varies, not only from country to country but also between shippers. It is not always clear for example how many defects are meant, nor is the type of allowable defective beans always specified. Depending on interpretation there may also be a difference in screen size with EP technically over screen 15 and American prep (AP) over screen 14.

Please contact Me ( Mike) here in Cape Town or Nico in Johannesburg if you’d like to know how to use these great coffees in your offering.

mike@sevenoakstrading.co.za

nico@sevenoakstrading.co.za

We will also be very happy to roast samples of these coffees for you, but also don’t forget that you can buy smaller amounts too, in case you’d like to see how these coffees react in your production roaster.

Enjoy the brews. Until next time.