Real People, Really Good Coffee March 2017

It’s been a delightful Spring here in northwest Arizona. It’s a great time to be out visiting customers and green coffee clients all over the southwest from Las Vegas to Tucson & over to LA & Orange counties.

Meanwhile, in the home office, we’re roasting fresh coffee daily for our “regulars,” and packing and shipping green coffee for our home/market roasters. It’s a busy routine, yet it’s a daily thrill to know that our coffees are being roasted and shared in so many places.

At the same time, the farmers are preparing for the upcoming harvest season. It’s still very early in the season, but within the next month the earliest coffee beans will ripen, and with that the first tastes of the 2017 crop. The Curibamba group of farmers is in the process of becoming a full fledged coffee cooperative, which allows for better shared resources, and especially important are the certifications that are feasible only at the group level due to the high costs.

It’s an exceptional Spring, and the weather has been near perfect, so it’s only fitting to share a few pictures from “the neighborhood.”

Saguaros

Mountains Glowing yellow this year

Hualapai Mountain View

Joshua Tree in flower

beavertail

 

 

 

Holiday Hours – Order Now!

Update: We’re closed for the holidays. Hugs to all!

See you next year!

It’s once again the holiday season & although it’s hard to believe, it’s really here.

We’ll be spending time with family & connecting with coffee friends, please get your orders in now! Soon, we’ll be shutting down our roaster, and pulling the stock from our online store. We wish to send our sincere best wishes for a joyful holiday season & our most heartfelt thanks to all who have made A Little Further South so successful in this past year.  Hugs to all…

Holiday Schedule

Last roasted or green coffee orders: by 11:00 am (EST) 9:00 am (MST)      Friday 12/09/16

All orders will ship on Friday December 9th.

 

Verdant Green Mountains in the Andes

 

 

Real People, Really Good Coffee July/August 2016

The last few months have been a flurry of activity. (So what else is new!) Besides wearing the green coffee importer hat, we’ve been steadily growing our retail, online, and wholesale roasted (and green) coffee business. I do have a couple of unfinished posts that I hope to publish soon.

The green coffee business has slowed over the summer, but we’re diligent in contacting new roasters to see if we can build a friendship, and some interest in the work (and coffee) that we’ve been doing. The direct trade coffee business is challenging in the real world, because although most would love to help the farmers, sometimes the bottom line seems to outweigh those “out of sight, out of mind” families that labor intensively to harvest, ferment, dry, and bag our daily cup.

The competition is ferocious. The large companies own farms, and contract for the cheapest possible price whenever they buy from local growers. In the ever changing commodity coffee market, this often places the value of the farmer on the bottom end.

Our direct trade model requires the farmer to put in a little more quality control, and attention, but allows earnings that are double or more for their efforts.

Paying more though, puts the smaller direct trade coffee importers at an immediate price disadvantage vs. the “big boys.”

Luckily, we do find many roasters that are interested in more than just price. While the idea of a truly sustainable coffee supply chain may never be completely realizable, we’ll never know what the possibilities are unless we make the attempt. We truly appreciate those who see the bigger picture, and support the small family farmers. The Curibamba Coffee Project is changing lives, and every cup makes a difference.

Meanwhile, the roasting part of the coffee business allows for a better profit potential. Here, the most important thing is quality. We recently purchased a Sonofresco Coffee Roaster for use at Farmer’s Markets & Shows. It’s a fun roaster, and produces excellent flavor in the cup. It works via hot air, and results in an amazingly consistent roast every time. Because we can roast live, it’s an attention getter. Most people are surprised to know that we actually went to the farm to buy our coffee. It’s a wonderful story, and we love to share what we learned along the way. Being warmly received makes it all worth while.

We recently had to contact Sonofresco regarding changes to accommodate roasting at high elevation. The response was very fast, and it’s always nice to know that there is someone behind the scenes. It was relatively easy, so we’re ready to roast fresh coffee sea level to Colorado Rockies!

Farmers Market – Candy Kitchen, New Mexico

Farmers Market, El Morro, New Mexico

Farmers Market, El Morro, New Mexico

Musicians at the Farmers Market, El Morro, New Mexico

Read more

Real People, Really Good Coffee June 2016 Update

June was a busy time in the Coffee World with Coffee Fest Dallas, and World of Coffee in Dublin, Ireland. Check out our link to upcoming coffee events here.

We’ve been spending our time promoting the last of the current crop, and if all goes well, we should have new crop by the end of September. Meanwhile, it’s been a hectic flurry of everything from emails & phone calls, to select mailings and personal visits. All is being done to keep A Little Further South Coffee fresh in the minds of coffee lovers and specialty coffee roasters all over the Southwest. Our first container has been moving, but there’s a lot of work that goes into getting a commitment to buy from new clients. Our coffee is a minuscule amount in the big world of coffee, but it’s also huge amount, when it’s up to one to sell it.

We look back at the last few years of importing and  roasting, and how far we’ve come in not only practical experience, but true knowledge of coffee and the many facets that bring these wonderful beans to our table every day.

We’re anxious to get back to Peru, and taste this year’s finest Peruvian coffees. We thank you for all your support as we build long term relationships with growers in an economically fair, and sustainable manner. (As much as we possibly can, it certainly is a daunting task.)

From the Farms

As I write this, workshops are progressing for this years’ Curibamba Coffee Project. More samples will soon be on the way for cupping, and we expect to have the highest quality scores ever. It’s been an impressive run, with cupping scores of just a couple of years ago rarely finishing over 81-82.5, but now there are many lots in the 83-84 range, and some breaking over 85, which is very good indeed.

The last workshops focused on selective harvesting, washing, proper fermentation techniques, and peparation for drying the parchment coffee in solar drying tents.

Here are a few photos from the last workshops:

 

Separating the Coffee Cherry from the Parchment Coffee

Temperature is Carefully Monitored during Fermentation

 

Coffee on the Solar Drying Table

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And Now

We’re planning logistics & timing, and staying super busy.

Happy 4th of July! Stay tuned for more news as we receive it!

 

 

Real People, Really Good Coffee April/May 2016 Update

What a busy time in the coffee world. London kicked off April with Coffee Fest London (see here) & we also had the Specialty Coffee Associations’ big Event in Atlanta (see here.) We couldn’t make the London show this year, but exhibited at SCAA Atlanta.

SCAA was a wonderful experience, and we’ve already reserved our spot for the SCAA event 2017 in Seattle. It was delightful to reconnect with friends, and meet new ones.

 

From the Farms Read more

Real People, Really Good Coffee Update February 2016

It’s soon to be spring here in Arizona, and already talk is to the harvest of 2016.  and we are making new friends and contacts, each helping to grow our direct trade coffee business, and hopefully impact a few more lives in the coffee supply chain. This month, not a whole lot new to report, but behind the scenes many things are happening in the fields… Read more

Real People, Really Good Coffee Update December 2015

December is the month of short days in the northern hemisphere. As I write this today, however I’m in Peru where summer has recently started. Yet, in spite of the disconnect from my “normal” winter hibernation mode, it is still a time of reflection and remembrance as the year ends and a new one soon starts.

The year in review: From the farms

The Curibamba Coffee Project

This year we started to see good things at every level. The farmers seem to be more enthusiastic about the project than ever, and it’s no wonder with coffee prices being in the basement. Overall quality of the coffee has improved each year, and with a large effort to get solar drying tents and tables into the majority of the smallholder farms we’re expecting that quality will be better again with the 2016 harvest.

Meanwhile, we’re streamlining the purchase process, and besides buying the higher quality micro lots, we’ll be also buying coffees that are specialty grade (although below the quality of the best lots,) and paying a premium to be able to fully support the coffee growing community in the hills above San Ramon. Rather than picking and choosing only the “winners,” we’re taking a more holistic approach, and making sure that every farmer has an opportunity to receive a just price for their coffee. We will continue to test each and every lot in the lab, and work for the highest quality possible.

Curibamba was featured in Expo Milan this year, as well as the Mistura Foodie Fair in Lima. It’s currently being sold and enjoyed mainly in the southwest states of Colorado, California, Arizona, Nevada, & New Mexico, but also as far east as Ohio and Wisconsin.

We will continue to focus our support efforts on solar drying tents and tables, but we’re also working with agricultural engineers to see what might best serve the growers. It may be new coffee trees, or strategic washing stations, we’re awaiting input from the fields.

Every year brings more education on the specifics of harvesting, fermenting, and drying. Edegel will be funding not only the educational programs, but will continue funding for the agricultural engineers, organic fertilizers and assistance with promotional programs for the brand. Read more

Real People, Really Good Coffee Update November 2015

November has been a busy month once again, and many good things are happening.

Green coffee sales are on the rise with several new customers & roasted coffee continues to sell well.

The new look website is up and running with an easier to use shopping cart, and a fresh look. If you see anything that doesn’t look or respond right, please let us know.

Dago and Cesar Marin from Chacra D’dago

A Visit from the Farm – Chacra D’dago

We’re pleased to announce that Cesar Marin from Biodynamic Chacra D’dago will be visiting in February.

He’ll be presenting on biodynamic farming methods and speaking about what’s happening for harvest 2016. Locations and a schedule to follow. He will be making presentations in LA, Phoenix, Las Vegas, and Mohave County. Anyone interested in either hosting, or attending please drop me an email. Read more