Arbor Day: My First Coffee Tree

coffee, coffee cherries, peru coffee

National Arbor Day was last Friday. As the nation gathered to celebrate trees, their impact on the world, and the way they help keep us in good shape physically and emotionally, I took a moment to recall my first coffee tree. Touching it after 7 years working in coffee changed my life in many subtle ways.

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Our Driver, Jorge

Getting to Finca Timbuyacu through the northern Peruvian Andes mountains was tortuous. We crept in a rickety bus over mountains forbidding in their wildness, with sheer drops of thousands of feet and spare inches for the tires. At times, parts of the road would melt off the side of the mountain. Once I almost fainted when I looked over the crevasse.

Newly bathing in my adopted language, Spanish, and jotting vocabulary on the palm of my hands as I struggled to eat yet another boiled chicken-and-potato dish, with my mind and my heart exploding with newness and strangeness, I collapsed in the quiet hotel in Chachapoyas, deep in the region of Amazonas, relieved to stop moving and to feel the cool tiles under my feet. In the morning, the mists lifted the town into fairyland.

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Finca Timbuyacu is a dream for owners Karim Rosario Araoz and her husband Alfonso Tejada, who also own Cafe Monteverde, a cooperative with around 300 farmers in the area. “Coffee is not easy,” says Tejada, who with Araoz owned a travel agency in Lima for years before returning to their home region. “When we came back here we started Monteverde with the idea of being a local broker. Once that business was up and running, we started working our own land, which was pretty much abandoned. Everyone told us the land wasn’t worth anything, but we have had success. My goal is to produce the best coffee in the country.” At Timbuyacu, Tejada and Araoz perform many tests on processes, including fermentation time, washing time, percentage of mucilage removed, and other measurables.

For me, when I cupped the green leaves of coffee trees in my hand and smelled the rich green sap running through the plants, Finca Timbuyacu was the site of my own crowning moment, a new chapter in the life of this roving coffee professional begun. I snapped a warm globular coffee cherry from its stem and popped it into my mouth, feeling the give of the dark red skin pop and the sweet mucilage cover my tastebuds. At the center of the tiny pudding-like desert was a double coffee cherry. It gave a little under my teeth. I spat it out upon the ground and watched it disappear in the undergrowth.

coffee, coffee cherries, peru coffee

Trees anchor us. Coffee trees make this huge global trade possible. This Arbor Day, let’s honor the coffee trees that produce our favorite coffees all over the world, Ethiopia to Peru.

Women In Coffee – Traudel Germann Mick

Deep through the tortuous roads of Villa Rica, Peru, over the Andes mountains from the metropolis of Lima, is a bonny coffee farm. With varieties like Pacamara, Red Catuai, and Gesha lining the dusty roads for kilometers before the final grind to the house, worker lodgings, and processing facilities, Finca Santa Josefa is almost, but not quite, as impressive as its owner, Traudel Germann Mick.

Traudel impresses you on first meeting. Her eyes wide with passion as she discusses her farm and her coffee with a tumbling mix of German, Spanish, and English, she dominates any room. Until recently her beloved husband, Juan Luis Vier, stood beside her as a quiet counterpoint to her enthusiasm. Together they began changing Peruvian coffee producing culture in a way none of us will forget.

Santa Josefa had long produced a lot of solid Villa Rican coffees, but nothing very exceptional. Four or five years ago Traudel caught the specialty coffee vision. Juan Luis, who was an engineer, took her vision and executed it on their farm, creating processes, methods and equipment that allowed them to begin experimenting with fermentation times and types, variety separation (for the first time), and other unique approaches to coffee production.

It was with great sorrow that we, around the coffee world, learned of the death of Traudel’s husband Juan Luis, after a long battle with cancer. This hardship has only firmed Traudel’s resolve to produce better and better Peruvian coffee, proving to the world Juan Luis’s legacy of quality. As a coffee professional who counts among my most treasured moments the days I spent with Traudel and Juan Luis on Finca Santa Josefa last year, I also vow to carry his legacy through the years.

We women of coffee are widely diverse, remarkable, and courageous. We work on the impossible Andean slopes picking cherries, we drive international companies, and we tell stories that change the landscape of the world. Traudel Germann Mick is just getting started, and so are we. United by passion and hard work and our love for this wonderful beverage that brings us together, we, the women and the men of coffee, pivot from the old to the new with joy in our hearts.

Emily McIntyre

 

47 Tips To Make Pour Over Coffee Like A Barista

Our partner, Handground, recently released an amazing article and quoted Kat Stauffer, Caravan’s Tasting Room Manager on brewing through the Able Kone. She says,

“The Able Kone tends to brew best with gentle agitation. After the bloom, pour gently through the center until about 300 ml of water has been reached. Gently break the crust then return to a slow and steady stream pouring down the middle.”

Read the article for yourself here! We’ll be getting new grinders from these good folks in the Tasting Room May(ish).

 

Caravan’s 2016 Road Map

We are going on a Road Trip!

And your Caravan Team has a Road Map for our 2016 road trip. This is going to be a great adventure. Like every good Road Map, we’ll show you where we are now, where we are going and the path that we will take.  

First of all, this road trip began in 1990, 25 years ago when we started the longest running espresso bar in Oregon. So, this is just another leg in our journey – one that is filled with confidence, excitement, and readiness. Our adventure in coffee has been rooted in community and seeking quality with respect to all concerned. Our brand and style has changed over the years, from Magic Carpets to Camels, and now the iconic Travel Trailer. All that to say; we are “Well Traveled”.

As we jump into this Road Trip of 2016, you can expect our Mission and Core Values to remain the same. What is changing is a refining of our brand and our business.

We will be releasing a unified theme that will be carried out in our blend names, packaging, web site, and all printed material. We also will be refining our coffee offerings to a smaller number of blends and origins that will allow us to do a better job on presenting the best to you. These transitions will happen over the course of 2016, with an anticipated full release in the winter of 2016.

As an example of this blend refinement, we had 4 different Dark or French Roast styles of coffee that were offered in 2015 and we now have one. Instead of eight different decaffeinated coffees offered, we now have three, of which are all certified organic, fair trade, and naturally processed.

We have also refined our origin sourcing of coffee to selections that are all certified through our strict social and environmental criteria, (see “Statement of Sourcing” at www.caravancoffee.com). We are committed to giving back in a bigger way, both locally and globally. This coming year, our giving commitments include a local chapter of Habitat for Humanity, a Water Sanitation Project in La Plata Colombia and a Socially Conscious Coffee project in Bahia Brazil.  

So let’s get rolling down the road for a fun-filled 2016! 

– Pete Miller, owner & proprietor

Customer Spotlight: McMinnville Fire Department

Recently I was given the opportunity to visit one of our newest customers, the McMinnville Fire Department. As I walk through their halls, I am in awe of the stories I see on the walls. Heroism unites each of the pictures: people going above and beyond the call of duty, putting their lives on the line in order to save others. I can only imagine the hurt of loss and the moments of relief that are bound to fill the air I’m breathing. I’m not sure I can ever say thank you enough to the brave women and men of this fire house for their incredible service to the community. Even more amazing to me: many of these heroes are here on a voluntary basis.  

coffee, coffee subscription, giving back, mcminnvilleNot only are these wonderful people saving those in need but they’re bettering the community through helping out in a multitude of ways, most notably at this time of the year with the Toy and Joy campaign. The McMinnville Fire Dept is a collection point for this campaign whose “mission for 100 years has been to promote the spirit of helping children and families of our community during the holiday season.” 

At Caravan Coffee we are blessed and thankful to be able to be serving these wonderful people our hand crafted coffee. The community of the McMinnville Fire Department is a beacon of hope in times of severe need, so let’s raise our cup of coffee to them and acknowledge that they are worthy of our thanks!

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year everyone!

Chris McMullan, Sales and Service Rep

 

Caravan Coffee: 2015 Recap

New Roaster

This year we said goodbye to our old roaster, Cisco, and welcomed our new roaster Franc. Franc is also a 25lb roaster but with some added features that give us more manual control over our roast profiles.

New Roaster (20 of 24)

New Salesman

In September welcomed our new salesman Chris McMullan to the Caravan Family. Chris has been doing a great job in his first 3 months and we are excited about his future here at Caravan!

Ethiopia Trip

In February our Master Roaster Paul Allen travelled to Ethiopia, the birthplace of coffee. During his trip he was able to visit the coffee mills where they process and pack the coffee. While he was there he came across two amazing coffees, Ethiopia Sidamo Peaberry and Ethiopia Abaya. This trip was a great opportunity to not only see where our coffee is grown but also see the changes happening in the lives of the people who grow it.face, girl, ethiopia, coffee

Barista Showdown

In June Caravan hosted the third annual Barista Showdown. We raised over $1000 dollars for the Newberg Area Habitat for humanity. We had baristas from all over oregon and a few from out of state compete and in the end the winner was Cole Werfelman from the South Store Cafe!

The Face of Ethiopia Coffee

face, girl, ethiopia, coffee

You could ask me her name and my reply would be, “I don’t know”. It’s what she is saying, without words,  that captured my attention.

I visited a number of coffee mills in Ethiopia earlier this year. This one was in northern Ethiopia, the Abaya district. It was pleasant and sunny with the quiet hum of work being achieved. The Girma Dry Mill is in the village of Gwangwa where the coffee is laboriously checked for defects by women young and old.

There is a relaxed atmosphere as they all sit on the ground with piles of green coffee at their feet. We are talking up to 100 people here. They are agile and precise. Obviously the camera bring smiles all around. I am hoping it is because they are noticed and appreciated.

Today I look at the coffee in our warehouse here in Newberg, some 8500 miles away and see five bags of Ethiopia Abaya natural. I wonder if she touched some of the coffee seeds herself?​

–Paul Allen, Caravan Roastmaster

Christmas Blend, From Magis to Snowflakes

We have a long tradition here at Caravan Coffee of offering a seasonal blend that is introduced this time of year, “Christmas Blend”. This tradition includes both special packaging and the coffees that are blended together to create this popular coffee.

First of all the packaging of the Christmas Blend started out not even being called “Christmas Blend” but rather “Magi’s Blend”. Our Caravan Coffee branding started out with an Arabian Theme that included coffee names such as Bedouin Blend and Midnight Mirage with images of camels and the dessert. Along this same theme, we introduced our Christmas Blend with the ancient story of the Magi coming to see the King. Contrast this branding and name to our current Christmas Blend with snowflakes and a camping trailer!

Now, for the important piece: the coffee flavor profile which is developed with the season in mind. We concentrate on the sweetness of this Holiday – whether it is grandma’s pie, chocolate from your spouse, or fruit cake from Aunt Betsy. Also we consider the natural aromas of Christmas that includes cedar or pine, and spice. Our Roastmaster presents several different options for our team after many experiments to highlight aromas and flavors of Christmas. The result, “HO! HO! HO!, Merry Christmas to all, And to all a good night!”  

Coffee Spotlight: Ethiopia Sidamo Peaberry

This Ethiopia Sidamo Peaberry coffee comes from an Ethiopian-led community health project that has taught health education to one million people to date. Covering a broad base of topics, from maternal and child care to HIV-AIDS, nutrition, water purification, sanitation, micro-business, women’s health, and aid to people with disabilities, the non-profit we are partnering with has a proven track record in Ethiopia. This relational coffee is traceable, sustainable, and fits with Caravan’s core values.

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As if specialty coffee isn’t special enough in its own right, sometimes only one bean grows in a coffee cherry instead of two. This serendipitous anomaly, known as a peaberry, happens in only about 5-10% of coffees and results in a smaller, rounded, extra tasty singleton. Perhaps because one bean gets the flavor meant for two, peaberry coffees present a distinct taste difference from their larger, flatter fellows from the same lot. Case in point, our new Sidamo Peaberry, which showed up on the cupping table in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Cuppers raised their collective eyebrows as they sipped caramel and butter notes melded with spice, nuts, and chocolate. Patently wonderful.

A good peaberry coffee is exciting at any time, but especially so when the origin country is Ethiopia: definitely worth the extra labor and expense to separate the peaberries from the rest of the lot. We already had some great new crop coffees from this trip to Ethiopia–Kochere, and the raspberry syrup flavor from Abaya–and this peaberry was the icing on the cake. Caravan Coffee nabbed 20 bags!

The farmers in this region are proud of their land and their coffee. On plots of approximately 2 hectares on the average, they cultivate and manage their plants with expertise, and send their crop to the Kedir Ibrahm wet mill. Care and quality show in the fruits of their labor, and we’re thrilled to partner with them in offering you this Ethiopia Sidamo Peaberry.

Latitude: 6° 45’ N
Longitude: 38° 20’ E
Altitude: 1815 masl
Region: Sidamo
District: Dale
Varietal: Ethiopia Heirloom

Tasting Notes: A balanced coffee with almond, cashew and hints of juicy plum up front with a full-bodied chocolate and nutmeg finish.

Meet the Roaster: Franc!

We are delighted to welcome our beautiful new Series-2 San Franciscan 25-pound roaster, “Franc”, to our team. Franc replaced faithful “Cisco”, and takes his place next to “Frannie”. With next-level controls and brand-new manufacturing, Franc enables us to provide even better coffee to you.