Catracha Pre-Ships are Here: A Cupping Report

Here in Emeryville, we are starting out on another exciting season of coffee arrivals. Aside from promising pre-shipments and early arrivals from Ethiopia, our friends in Honduras are sending us some very special coffees.

As part of our ongoing relationship with the Santa Elena department in Honduras, Catracha Coffee hosted two cuppings in April. The first was the complete roster of pre-shipment coffees from this year’s harvest, and the second was a more focused sampling that pitted different processing methods against each other in a blind cupping. Kindly hosted by CoRo (Berkeley Co-Roasting), the well-attended first cupping not only introduced new people to Catracha Coffee, but also allowed those already involved with the project to taste coffees in their pre-shipment state.

The coffees were cupped blindly, so participants didn’t know the names of the producers, and thus were not influenced. All of the notes are cataloged, which gives us the ability to compare sub-regions of Santa Elena, farms, and processing methods after the fact. In coming years we may notice a trend for certain coffees to perform particularly well, and can promote the sort of stewardship that certain producers are employing. The notes on pre-shipment samples below reflect those of our traders, as well as those of the 15-20 attendees at the first cupping.

The second cupping (here at Royal Coffee in Emeryville) was specifically related to the Catracha Quality Project, and was part of an entire season’s worth of data logging. Different fermentation times, different yeast substrates, and different drying schemes were put on the table alongside one another so that differences in quality could be noted by the coffee professionals in attendance. This information will be returned to farmers so that they can further enhance their quality for next year’s harvest. Though the coffees from the Catracha Quality Project are not available, the result of this trial will be used to enhance quality in next year’s crop!

In regards to this year’s crop, there are some notable differences in flavor profile, as seen in the summaries below. These lots and many others are available for purchase – talk to a trader to get the lowdown on lots we haven’t listed here. This is our first year making Catracha coffees available from the pre-shipment stage, and this is a great opportunity to build relationships with these producers, as some other buyers have done with other full lots.