Coming up in May, Irving Farm’s newest addition: a 1,500 square feet cafe in a historic brownstone on the Upper West Side.
Stay tuned for more updates!
Coming up in May, Irving Farm’s newest addition: a 1,500 square feet cafe in a historic brownstone on the Upper West Side.
Stay tuned for more updates!
Introducing Angel Antonio:
We’ve got an exciting lineup of new coffees that we’ve started releasing just this month! If you think the first coffee we introduced from Capucas was good, then you’d better stay tuned for more details on what other coffees the town is producing!
Earlier this year, a competition was held to select the best microlots from producers in the Capucas coffee producers cooperative. Our very own Director of Coffee, Dan Streetman, was there for the action. And, even better, he was lucky enough to bring us back all five of the winning coffees. All of them. These Capucas microlots will be roasted and offered exclusively by Irving Farm Coffee.
Right now, we’re offering the fifth place winning coffee from the competition, which was produced by Angel Antonio Serrano Deras on his farm, Finca Los Angeles. This year he submitted only 365 pounds of coffee from his 2.5-manzana (4.33-acre) farm. Angel picks this coffee by hand, and is especially careful to select only the ripe cherries. He then processes the coffee in a micro-mill on his farm, using a hand-crank de-pulper to remove the fruit from the bean, and ferments the coffee beans in water for 12-24 hours before washing them with clean water. The coffee is then taken to a “solar-dryer,” which looks like a plastic greenhouse with raised beds inside for drying.
If you’d like to taste the deliciousness for yourself, you can find this coffee at IrvingFarm.com and at our two cafes in lower Manhattan: 71 Irving Place and 56 Seventh Avenue. In early November, we’ll also be opening the doors of our barista training lab for a public tasting and discussion of the five winning coffees from this year’s Capucas microlot competition.
In the coming months, we’ll continue the countdown and offer the other winning microlots. So, stay tuned.
And, as always, let us know what you think of the coffee!
It’s been a busy fall for us at Irving Farm so far. We’ve already participated in a couple of big harvest festivals with our friends from the Stone Barns Center for Food & Agriculture and the Union Square Partnership. After four years participating in the Stone Barns Harvest Fest and more than a decade at the Harvest in the Square, the events just keep getting better! We’re looking forward to next year’s events already!
If you missed us at the Stone Barns Harvest Fest at the beginning of the month, you might not have heard the news: aside from serving up some delicious El Salvador Everest, we also gave a sneak peek of our new holiday gift boxes. Take a look at the goods for yourselves in the slideshow above, and look out for the November 01 release date at irvingfarm.com.
We’ve also got an exciting lineup of new coffees that we’ve started releasing just this month! If you think the first coffee we introduced from Capucas was good, then you’d better stay tuned for more details on what else the town has to offer! These are choice coffees from the individuals producers in the cooperative who won top spots in the annual Capucas microlots competition. The first of five winning coffees is now available at irvingfarm.com and at our cafes in Manhattan. Try it, and let us know what you think!
We just got some goodies in the mail from our friends over @KnowHopeMission, and we want to share! Here’s the deal:
The winner will be chosen at random from the pool of all entries. Enter as many times as you like! (Even if you don’t win a bag, you win free shipping!)
Contest ends at 11:59pm on Thursday 09/15/2011.
This past weekend our roaster, Clyde Miller, and I attended the SCAA’s Roaster Guild Retreat. It is an annual gathering of roasters from all of the country to come together and collaborate, and share tips and techniques about the roasting craft. They also had a team roasting challenge, and various educational seminars.
Dan judging the latte art throwdown
The highlights of the weekend for me (Dan Streetman) were, a group forum about “direct trade” and a presentation by a farmer from El Salvador, Emilio Lopez from Finca El Manzano. In the direct trade discussion we had some very comprehensive hashing of what direct trade means, and how it affects different groups throughout the supply chain. It was especially interesting to hear from Chino, an exporter from Costa Rica who put some much needed perspective into the conversation. The conclusion of the group seemed to be that quality coffee is a bargain/undervalued and we need to find ways to increase the value equation for consumers. When you couple this discussion with Emilio’s presentation about the economics of producing high quality coffee, it was fascinating to see the relationships. He did a great job of illustrating the increased costs and risks of producing high quality coffee, especially when talking about experimental processing techniques. It was also especially nice to see Peter Rodriguez from Benificio Santa Rosa in Honduras, who I met on my trip to Capucas in March.
Emilio Lopez, Producer from Finca El Manzano
Clyde had this to share:
Well I did not know what to expect. My first thoughts going into this was that I was gonna be surrounded by a bunch of coffee geeks. But instead of your typical revenge of the nerds stereo type, there was such a diverse group of people that had attended the retreat to share there knowledge and to acquire more about specialty coffee.
I myself went into this wanting to find out more about the wheels that make the coffee industry move,and I did. By attending the Manzano project it revealed to us the extent of a coffee life cycle, from crops to cup. The project instructed us on the differences between full natural, pulp natural,full washed and machine(semi) washed beans. Half of the project experience was getting to cup the different processing methods and sharing thoughts on it with others. To me this seminar was laid out well and worth the time to attend.
Natural, Pulped Natural, Mechanically Washed, and Fully Washed Coffee
Intro to cupping and cupping for defects where also well set up classes and very informative. Instructed on the proper time between roasting and cupping, the uniformity and proper setup needed for cupping. Also provided the steps needed to acquire and log information from cupping’s. Defect cupping was, well….Baggy,unripe,fermented and notes of mold. In fact the notes of mold lingered on my lips for the remainder of the day, but was a fine tool to help me determine future aroma and flavor in future cupping’s.
The last class I attended was identifying roast defects and was the class I was waiting to take through the whole retreat. The lecture part of the course was well informative and fast paced. The next section of the course was hands on roasting to create the effect of scorching,tipping,facing,chipping,as well as underdeveloped and baking of a roast. The effects of this course have made me realize that I need to look at my roasts more frequently to make sure that I do not produce those defects and change the roast profile if I do encounter them.
Dan in the Brown shirt, and Clyde in the hat… simulating a defective roast
My overall impression on the retreat is that it was well organized and well worth the time and effort it took to get there.Thank you very much to those who worked so hard to make the 11th Roasters Guild Retreat a success.
We at Irving Farm are excited to announce the arrival of one of our most anticipated coffees this year, Kenya Gathambi. In fact myself and Clyde our roaster were so excited that we had to roast some on Friday when the coffee arrived, and then took coffee out of the cooling tray to brew.
This coffee is especially exciting for me, because it is the beginning of a new project for us. Traditionally in Kenya all the coffees are sold through an auction, however our partners are working directly with the mill there, and have secured us first bid on the coffee in coming years. This coffee is processed in the traditional method of Kenya, where they depulp the coffee, removing the fruit, soak the coffee in water to remove the mucilage, soak the coffee in another clean bath, and then move it to raised drying beds for drying.
I don’t want to spoil the surprise with what the coffee tastes like but expect it to roll into our stores this week. We have a limited amount of this special coffee and expect it go quickly.
You may have had a chance to try our newest coffee, Capucas from Honduras. If you have, I hope that you’ve already discovered how delicious this coffee can be. When I first tasted this coffee I was blown away by the sweetness and the tropical fruit flavors. As we got to know it better with our initial production roasts we noticed honey-like body with flavors of cashew, dried pineapple and mango.
However, this is only half of the reason why I love this coffee. In March I was lucky enough to visit the community in Capucas that grows this beautiful coffee. The town of Capucas has about 100 families that grow coffee, and formed the Cooperativa Cafetelara Capucas Limitada or COCAFCAL for short.
Omar Rodriguez (left) is the President of the cooperative, and he and his family played host to us for the extent of our trip. They showed us, Chris Davidson (right) and myself (center), tremendous hospitality throughout our stay. Chris works with Atlas Coffee Importers, who have been working with the community in Capucas since 2007. The purpose of our trip was to judge their annual micro-lot competition. The judging took place by cupping (tasting) 30 coffees a day each day of our 5 day trip. We scored the coffees based on their sweetness, uniformity, balance, aftertaste, acidity, and unique character.
We then assigned the coffee’s points based on those attributes, and they received scores out of 100. We decided to purchase all 5 of the top lots, but more on that when they arrive in August. In the mean-time let’s focus on the Capucas coffee you can enjoy right now. It represents a blended lot from many of the producers in the community, where they harvest their coffee fruit and have it processed at their centralized mill. There the coffee is depulped, soaked in tanks for 12-24 hours, washed, and then sun dried on concrete patios. The farms here are immaculate, almost garden like. The perfect amount of shade cover, neatly spaced and planted rows, and regimented pruning that had just been completed post-harvest.
Walking through the community farms, and meeting each of the producers you get a sense that they all take great pride in producing quality coffee, and working together. Friendly and passionate people are always rewarding to work with, especially when they produce such a great product. This is the other half of why I love Capucas!
After spending a few days at the World Barista Championship, I spent a week touring Colombia, and trying to identify some coffee producers for Irving Farm to work with.
Our first stop was Monserrate, in Huila. This mountain-top town is home to over 80 families who produce coffee on their modest hillside land. The producers here only recently started growing coffee, and chose to do so because they tired of the violence that growing coca brought to their town in the 90’s.
Here in Monserrate each of the producers picks and processes their coffee separately, and then they sell to the exporter. This means that we can keep each farmer’s coffee separate and identify the highest quality lots from which to buy. It also helps give the farmers feedback on what techniques are contributing to the quality of their coffee. These farmers all have their own small mill to process the coffee. Usually this consists of a depulper and fermentation tank (pictured below) and then they dry the coffee on raised beds (pictured below) or in the street (shown above).
Depulper use to remove the coffee fruit from the seed inside, coffee then falls into the fermentation tank below.
here, a producer shows us how he turns the coffee to allow for even drying on the raised beds. This method of processing coffee is fairly standard across Colombia, although it varies greatly in scale based on the size of the producer. I visited the whole range in our 7 day trip, from farmers who produce just a few bags of coffee to those who produce many containers (1 container is 275, 132lb bags). I also visited farms in Huila, Cauca, and Antiouquia representing Colombia in 3 major growing regions.
Overall it was a very exciting, and educational trip and I am looking forward to putting a few unique Colombian coffeesin the Irving Farm line-up later this year, and in the years to come.
Director of Coffee, Irving Farm Coffee
We’re super excited to be featured in this month’s @CraftCoffeeCo sampler. We also wish everything we’re a part of looked this nice.
Trying out Craft Coffee — coffee tasting boxes mailed to you once a month filled with 3 different yummy hand selected premium artisan roasters from around the country with sustainability focused coffee! I love it.
This month’s box of beans was from roasters in California, Michigan, and New York and is doing it’s job of waking me up!
Summer starts tomorrow (officially), and we’re already wondering where all the time went. Everybody’s walking around New York City with ice cream and iced coffee, and the weather doesn’t seem to be getting any cooler. We’re just trying to keep working on cool projects.
One of these projects we’ve been quietly working on this spring is in collaboration with our friends at Blue Marble Ice Cream Company. Wiggles spent the first two weeks of this month working with their non-profit, Blue Marble Dreams, on their first project, Inzozi Nziza, in Butare, Rwanda.
Inzozi Nziza is an ice cream shop operated by a local women’s cooperative. Wiggles traveled there to help them set-up and train them to operate a roaster donated by Irving Farm so they can roast for themselves some of the great coffees produced in the region. He also trained some of the women in by-the-cup brewing with Beehouse drippers. Now, in addition to their own ice cream, Inzozi Nziza is offering locally produced coffee that is roasted and brewed on-site.
Now we’d be set, if only Wiggles had learned as much about making ice cream as he was able to share about preparing coffee.
For now, check out the excerpt below, taken from the Blue Marble Dreams blog. Click through to read more about Inzozi Nziza and Wiggle’s trip.
The goal of this coffee project is to close the circle of the Rwandan coffee production. “A lot of the women working in the shop are already connected to the local coffee production. They have family members or friends who pick the coffee cherries or work at the local washing stations, yet none of the quality coffee is prepared here,” Wiggles has observed. We therefore are aiming to improve the quality of the coffee served in Butare. “In Rwanda and most coffee producing countries, the best quality coffee is usually reserved for export. Even in big cities like Kigali, the coffee they serve is not of a high quality.” By buying fresh local coffee and roasting it on site, we hope to amend this problem.
During the rest of his time here, Wiggles has focused on training the women at the shop. They have learned everything from the history of coffee, to the science behind roasting, to how to brew a simple cup. Irving Farm generously donated a high quality roaster that we have been roasting around 10oz a batch on. To brew the coffee we are using a single cup pour over system. This allows us to keep the coffee fresh and only grind beans directly before brewing it. The women are really excited to be starting this new coffee project, and soon we hope to offer a range of drinks and products around it.
We wish Inzozi Nziza happy roasting and happy brewing! We’ll be staying tuned for more good news from Rwanda—we hope you will be, too!