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Tuesday, March 04, 2014

El Xallum and other Epiphanies

Christian at El Xallum

On the Ground: barismo's Jaime VanSchyndel reports from Guatemala for the 2014 crop. We are excited to share developments of our Direct Trade partners. Stay tuned for more info as we build up to the arrival of this years various lots.

This year in Guatemala, we pursued several new farms to work with where we could possibly be a good match.  Our vision of a good match is having enough buying power to effectively get the farms attention, as well as the farm either being an excellent coffee or having the potential to produce improving quality in the future.  Of four new farms we found, one is on lake Amatitlan and was named El Xallum.  I ran across the son of the owner, Christian, in a cupping lab and he seemed eager to get my attention and have me cup their coffee.  It turns out this 120 year old farm with heirloom bourbon trees had been hit by a hurricane, the eruption of Pacaya, and a mysterious pollination problem (we think the removal of local bee hives is related) in the last few years.  The current yield on this farm was way down having just completed major pruning, they were looking to plant an entirely new section with an eye toward the future.  The Bourbon he did have, cupped clean and had potential, but it was the visit and story he told that sold me.  Once on the farm (a narrow sliver down the mountain they describe as a pencil), he gave a quick tour.  As we struck up a conversation about yellow bourbon being better than red, he got very excited and took me down to an isolated coffee tree.  On the tree stood one lone Yellow cherry I plucked and tasted the fruit.  I proclaimed it sweet and he agreed.  He pulled up his phone and showed me a picture of a brix meter reading.  He then told me how they took the meter and walked the farm sampling cherry looking for the sweetest fruit until they found this tree.  it measured a 22 when others had been 16-18.  They decided to pick all the fruit on this tree to create a nursery for the new plot.  This, I will tell you is not a common practice.  The selection of seed is often for yield and disease resistance, so I was impressed.  This was the point where I advised that the new plot be named 'Epiphany' given the brilliance of the notion or 'Amarillo Dulce' for the more literal minded.
- Jaime | follow on twitter @jaime_vans and this blog for continued updates on this years harvest.

Evaluating for Quality: barismo's Roastery Manager, Tim Borrego revisits the reasons behind barismo's commitment to our specific brand of Direct Trade. This is the time of year where the seasonality of what we offer is felt the most.

Each year we see beloved coffees come and go, and this time of year when it is especially apparent. We have excellent stories of progress on beloved farms like El Bosque and fresh news about new relationships like El Xallum as reported in this post. At the same time we are working our way through the end of last years crop coffees. The coffee harvest season in Central America is roughly December to March so we spend a good amount of time travelling, touching base and gathering good intel on what is happening there at this time of year. It is bitter sweet to see Buena Esperanza, and the Finca Salaca lots disappear from the line up, but it is a good reminder to all of us about the seasonality of coffees. Our wholesale partners know this an are able to relay the message to their customers, but it can be difficult to smooth things over completely when someone hears that El Bosque will soon be gone (for a short while). These coffees have a finite life time and should be enjoyed in season, in the meantime we eagerly anticipate the fresh crop arrivals. Hopefully our travel reports are able to spark some hope to hold you over until then!
- Tim | check the blog for updates and contact directly at

Stay Fresh Updates: Upcoming events, classes and education, new coffees, and much more... Sign up to receive updates.

Saturday, March 8, 2014 from 9:30am-2pm
barismo at the Somerville Winter Farmers Market
Grab a freshly roasted retail bag of barismo coffee from the well stocked selection, as well as a fresh, made-to-order pourover or a delicious cup of cold brew iced coffee. Catch us early cause it gets busy fast! We are there every week through the entire market. More info about the market from their facebook page or on twitter @SomWinterMarket

Sunday, March 16, 2014 from 5pm-7pm
Espresso 101 class hosted at barsimo
"A barista will explain grinding, tamping, and more, then watch as you pull shot after shot. Like an espresso coach, he’ll give you pointers on everything from your mouse tails to your brew’s hue. Small classes are taught monthly on Sunday nights" - from a recent Boston Globe article featuring barismo's Espresso 101 class. Sign up Here!