Monthly Archives: August 2013

Seasonal Spotlight : Guatemala Valmar

| August 23, 2013


This past harvest we travelled to the tropical highlands of Alta Verapaz to visit the farms of Luis Valdez, Finca Santa Isabel and San Lorenzo.  During our visit we were thoroughly impressed with the technique the family has developed to produce exceptionally sweet and complex coffees.  My host during our visit was Luis ‘Wicho’ Valdez III, who oversees much of the day to day operations on the farm. With an education in agriculture engineering, Wicho takes a methodical and precise approach towards coaxing the most from his family’s land.   DSC00369

Due to the extremely high humidity and cold nighttime temperatures, the farm maintains good ventilation and sunlight through the implementation of a unique pruning cycle. As a result, the coffee shrubs remain healthy and productive for many years.  During harvest, ripe cherries are selectively hand-picked in the morning and delivered to the wet mill in the afternoon.  The mill is constructed on a hill, which allows gravity to assist in moving the coffee through the process. DSC00421

A series of siphons draw off any ‘floaters’ , which can include under/over-ripe cherries and debris, such as twigs and leaves.  The de-pulping machinery then removes the skin and flesh of the cherries.  This pulp is composted with the assistance of red worms and then used as organic fertilizer for the farm. DSC00426


The coffee, which at this point is still covered in sticky mucilage, is then deposited into pristine fermentation tanks.  Overnight, naturally present microbes interact with the sugars on the coffee and a set of complex acids are created.  After the mucilage is broken down, the coffee is washed in channels, and then placed in another tank, submerged in water, for another night.  This secondary, wet-fermentation is not common in Central America, and no doubt contributes to the complexity of acids and sugars present in the Valmar. DSC00444DSC00431

All caturra (a cultivar of Arabica) is tracked and sun-dried on the patios, which takes a little over a week.  Each of these caturra lots is sample roasted and scored by the experts at Anacafe, with the highest scoring lots receiving special designation. While the coffee (still in parchment) rests at the farm, the moisture content is monitored closely.  We pulled a handful of the highest scoring lots back to our cupping lab in Seattle, where we discovered that three days in early March had yielded some remarkable coffees.  With the assistance of our exporter in Guatemala we had this coffee shipped directly to our warehouse here in Seattle.  DSC00474

It has been absolutely delicious.   DSC00463

Valmar is available now at all Caffe Vita locations and online.


The 7th annual Malibu Invitational!

| August 8, 2013

Photo: Cat Gregory

The 7th annual Malibu Invitational was held this past weekend August 2-4, 2013, benefitting the Young and Brave Foundation. The Malibu Invitational is a grassroots Shortboard Pro, Legend’s and Masters Invitational surf contest born to blend generations of surfers to enrich and save lives. It was an honor for Caffe Vita to be selected as this years coffee sponsor and we were on hand to provide surfers, friends, family and fans with French press of our Caffe Luna as well as our ice cold toddy brew. Caffe Vita’s brand ambassador and local Malibu surfing legend Steven Lippman had a strong showing in this years event, winning every heat on his way to the finals where he placed 3rd in an extremely talented Legends Division.

Caffe Vita would like to thank all of the events organizers, sponsors and supporters and a huge thank you to the City of Malibu, Val Surf, Freedom Artists and Famous Surf Accessories.

Sumatra Earthquake Relief Fund Update

| August 2, 2013

Thank you to all our customers and friends for the overwhelming amount of support and donations made to the Sumatra Earthquake Relief Fund. In the month of July, we have received several thousand dollars in donations from all 11 of our cafes and online customers.  We will continue to collect cash donations through the end of August and will do a donation match.  Please also consider buying a 12oz bag of the Sumatra Gayo River whole bean coffee, a portion of each sale will be donated.  100% of donations go directly into the Sumatra Earthquake Relief Fund!  We sent the first money transfer to the Farmers in Sumatra we have been working with since 1997 and they were overjoyed with the support from all of you:

“Dear Caffe Vita,

Got informed today from Ina and Pak Irham, thank you so much for your donation, transfer was received.  Accordingly, PT.IKA (Irham) will submit directly to our farmers in the damaged quake’s area.

This will be helpful for the farmer’s casualties and for their mental and life recovery.

Terimakasih banyak…Have good days.

Best Regards,


If you would like to make a donation, please visit our donation page!