Around this time of year many roasters begin to worry if they will have enough Central American and Mexican coffee to make it till next season, or if their Sumatra is starting to taste like a musty jute sack or if their Ethiopia will start to lose its lemony luster. While those concerns are understandable, there are so many other great coffees arriving from other parts of the world between now and the end of the year, that a resourceful and opportunistic roaster should have no supply or quality concerns. If you are a follower of the Alice Water’s “finest and freshest seasonal ingredients” school of roasting, Fall means fresh Peru, Brazil, and Colombia from South America; Papua New Guinea and East Timor from just outside the eastern periphery of Indonesia; and, of course, the arrival of the Indonesian panoply itself in the form of Bali, Flores, Java and Sulawesi.
Peru: The Taste of Fall
As we wrap up September here at Royal, we are nearly a month into the new Peruvian Organic arrivals. The deliveries get better by the week and recent pre-shipment samples are even more promising. Our usual cadre of outstanding Fair Trade Organic coffees from the Northern cooperatives are arriving in force at this time. If you want to reach for the top shelf, in mid October we have our first arrival of the Cenfrocafe 85+ GrainPro lots, exceptional quality and great value. Think tangy chocolate, caramel, and pumpkin, they even taste like Fall.
Colombia: Transit Strike…Now Arriving
Late September is usually a dry period for Colombians, but due to the transit strike there over the summer, shipments were pushed back 6-8 weeks and we are just now flush with the fly crop arrivals and the main crop Narino deliveries. Look for arrivals of select lots of Cauca, Narino, and Huila in the next 4 weeks, and available right now, the Narino and Cauca Excelso and the Tolima FT Organics are outstanding – bright, citric, orange chocolate and straightforward “coffee” flavor. If your Centrals are fading, look no further than Colombia for help.
Papua New Guinea & East Timor: Huge Texture
Now and into October mark the arrival of the most versatile of coffees – Papua New Guinea and East Timor. Both coffees offer massive body for a washed coffee, but they are lusciously herbal in the form of the PNG Kimel Estate coffees, and bold and tangy with East Timorese. We also have some new PNG Organic/FT Organic coffees that cup like fruit and custard pudding, clean thick and sweet. All of these coffees are excellent for all of your dark roast blends, rendering a deep buttery chocolatey cup with no trace of carbon.
First Deliveries of the Season
Bali, Flores, Java and Sulawesi. The wet-hulled Bali Blue Moon Organic, Java Organic Taman Dadar, Flores Organi Ngura, and Sulawesi Sapan Maninga all arrive in the next 2 weeks and offer fresh, clean, spicy, peaty reinforcements for your aging Sumatrans. The washed Sulawesi Toarco Jaya arrived 2 weeks ago, a massive beast of a clean washed Indonesian, like a shot of sweet and spicy syrup. This is followed in late October with the arrival the washed Java Estate Jampit, the perfectly thick and sweet, floral and cocoa coffee that belongs in every espresso blend if I had my way. Lastly, our one and only shipment of Bali Organic Natural Kintamani will arrive in early November. This is a wackily fruity coffee that has become a little more refined every year, ranging from tart strawberry to chocolate black cherry, a coffee with a small but devoted following. Contact us for more information on this offering and put your name on some now.
Hopefully this summary of our fall reinforcements has both whet your appetite and put your mind at rest regarding supply of good coffee to finish up the year. If you are a roaster who steadfastly sticks to your blends of Central American and Mexican coffee year around, and never look beyond Sumatra for heavy body coffee, or African coffees for high citric and herbal notes, please consider the Autumn arrivals summarized above as fresh seasonal alternatives. Go ahead and spice up your life a little.
Editor’s note: Face it, even with John’s recommendations for the rest of the year, at some point all of us have to roast past crop coffees. Take a look at our Director of Roasting, Jen Apodaca’s approach in her article, Past Crop Coffees Part 1: Roasting.