Our friends at Fratello Coffee Roasters are always searching for incredible coffees and earlier this year Russ Prefontaine went on a coffee sourcing trip to countries including Colombia, Costa Rica, Nicaragua and Panama. We always enjoy reading about these coffee buying trips on Fratello's blog because Russ is fanatic about not just finding great coffee, but the whole direct trade experience. Fratello develops lasting relationships with farmers and Cooperatives and they can directly see the programs and farming practices these farms have in place to insure the coffee quality and also provide healthcare, education and other services to the farm employees.
We are fortunate to be the exclusive supplier of Fratello's Direct Trade coffees in pod format. This year, we have selected 3 new coffees which are being roasted as I type and will arrive in a few weeks after being made into pods and shipped to us in the USA. The coffees we have selected are:
This coffee is from the Limoncillo Estate which is run by the Meirsch family. Fratello has sourced some amazing coffees from this family's 4 estates over the past several years. Their estates include Don Esteban, Finca Limoncillo, Mama Mina and Loa Placeres. One of our most popular coffee pods of all time was the Nicaraguan Limoncillo Pacamara Peaberry, so we were very excited when Fratello chose the fully washed Red Pacamara as one of the lots they would be sourcing. Fratello's cupping notes say you should expect a dark maple syrup aroma with spiced tobacco flavors. Mouthfeel is thick and complex with a mild lime rind acidity.
Last year Fratello partnered with the Rio Jorco Micro-Mill to deliver an excellent Costa Rican coffee that we sold out of a few months ago. This year, they met with Exclusive Coffees and decided on two excellent coffees to source. The one we have selected for our pods is from the farm San Pablo & La Cabana Micro-Mill. It is located in a micro region of Leon Cortes of the Tarrazu Valley. The coffee producer, Javier Meza, grows his 100% Caturra coffee at 1550 meters (5100 feet). Only 3 people work at this mill and produce 250 sacks of coffee a year (38,000-42,000 lbs / year). The lot Fratello purchased is fully washed and sundried on raised African beds. Javier takes great care in slow drying his coffee in hopes of achieving an above average consistency of moisture content and density of green beans. Fratello's cupping notes say this fully washed, 100% Caturra has honeyed melon and brown sugar aromas, milk chocolate flavors that are notably clean-with a soft creamy body.
Fratello has sourced some of the most incredible Ethiopian coffees we have ever tasted over the past several years. Their Ethiopian Idido Misty Valley and their Ethiopian Special Prep were both wildly popular coffee pods so we were excited when Fratello found a new Ethipian coffee to source this year. Sidamo coffee is grown in the Guji region of the Sidamo province of Ethiopia, where coffee was first discovered over a thousand years ago. Girma Edema, the owner of the Guji Mill excels at using only the ripest cherries, which are spread to sun dry, still in its red fruit. Their top coffee, nicknamed “Ardi” is the winner of multiple awards including 1st place in the 2010 East African Fine Coffee Associations “Taste of the Harvest” Competition. Fratello's cupping notes say to expect chocolate peach aromas that compliment a creamy mouth feel with a winey-cranberry acidity. Sweet milk chocolate-apricot flavors are followed by a mild strawberry finish. Lingering flavors and uniquely balanced. This Ethiopian is not as "wild" as the past two offerings which had intense blueberry/strawberry notes, but has a more clean and balanced cup profile.
In addition to these terrific new coffees, we are also bringing Fratello's first 12 Gram Extra Bold pod to market. Over the past year, sales of our 12 gram pods from roasters like Reunion Island, Baronet and our own recently launched Coffee Artisan Extra Bold pods have grown substantially. The new Bunn My Cafe MC along with the original Bunn My Cafe and Grindmaster OPOD can all handle a 12 gram pod which allows you to brew a bolder 8 oz. cup of coffee or to increase your brew size compared to traditional 9 to 10 gram pods. Our best selling pod month after month continues to be Fratello's French Saigon Dark. We thought this pod would be perfectly suited to a 12 gram Exta Bold size. We hope you agree!