Meet John Hasson and his daughter Isabella. John is the owner and chef at Tyler Street Café in Port Townsend, WA. His 11 year old daughter Isabella is a barista prodigy. We were so impressed with Isabella’s latte art and overall technique that we wanted to showcase it here.
If you’re a Port Townsend resident, or plan on visiting for this year’s Rhododendron Festival during the last weekend of May, pay Tyler Street café a visit. You may find Isabella behind the counter practicing her skills, try some of John’s delicious cooking or sample some pastries made by his wife Anca.
Over the weekend, the last bags of Holiday Blend were purchased, and it’s perfect timing for us to tell you about two new single-origin coffees. We are very excited to roast, sell, brew, and serve Kenya Gitwe Karinga and Colombia Cauca Inza. Look for these two as the French press coffees of the day at the Caffe Vita near you.
Now, about that first coffee from Kenya. It has the ability to mesmerize and awe, with its shimmering acidity and complex bouquet of distinct aromatics. From our search, this lot from the Gitwe Farmers Cooperative Society’s Karinga washing station stood out above the rest. The clarity of flavors, depth, elegance, and remarkable sweetness are not to be missed! The Gitwe Cooperative was formed in 1985 after splitting from the Gatundu society, with membership currently standing at 1,868 farmers. This coffee comes from the Karinga wet mill, located on the eastern slopes of the Aberdare ranges. Perfectly ripe cherries are delivered to the wet mill the same day they are picked, and fresh river water is used to process and wash the coffee.
Pristine and perfumed, this coffee offers syrupy sweetness and sparkling acidity. Marasca cherry (mmm, sour), melon, and orange zest aromatics complement flavors of heirloom tomato and blackberry. Enjoy the elegant finish of honey and bergamot. Kenya Gitwe Karinga is available at our cafes and in the online store. The quantity is quite limited, so don’t delay.
The next, Colombia Cauca Inza, is from a region-specific lot in the Inza municipality of the Cauca department in southwest Colombia. It was selected with the assistance of Oralando Torchez, with strict attention to cup quality and cohesion. The average farm size is one-to-two hectares, and the character is very representative of the region, with great depth and lingering sweetness.
Savory and satisfying, with aromas of dark chocolate, dried plum, and geranium, there is an impressive balance of ripe cherry sweetness and meyer lemon acidity with a finish of brown butter, maple, and cardamom. The Colombia Cauca Inza beans have an intoxicating fragrance. We hope you enjoy sipping this as much as we do.
We’re excited to announce our 2011 Holiday Blend, featuring organic catuai and pacamara coffee.
This holiday season we’ve created a blend to celebrate the fruit of the harvest and the spirit of exploration. Our farm direct partners at Finca Nuevo Viñas in Guatemala are no strangers to these two concepts, with their continual pursuit for the highest quality cherry and their willingness to adopt new strategies to achieve this goal. Each year presents new opportunities for improvement and experimentation, and among the many excellent coffees produced this past growing season, we’ve chosen two distinct and superlative lots to pair for our holiday blend.
The first is a rarity for Central America, a naturally processed catuai. Ripe cherries are hand harvested and taken directly to raised beds to dry in the wind and the sun. This process is quite risky and very labor intensive, as the cherries must be monitored and raked continuously to ensure prompt and even drying. The result is a cup with a distinctly spiced-fruit character and an aroma not unlike the juice of a coffee cherry. To achieve balance and depth, we’ve paired the natural catuai with a washed pacamara, the highly prized large bean varietal. The pacamara is processed in the typical fashion, in which the ripe cherries are washed, pulped, fermented and then sun dried. Its classic dark chocolate and citrus profile adds structure and stability to the blend.
Each component is roasted separately to achieve the distinct expression of the varietal and processing method and blended immediately after cooling. The result is a layered, festive blend with notes of baked pear, dark chocolate, and cinnamon. Flavors of dried fruit and aged rum lend rustic complexity to the spiced plum and walnut finish.
This unique blend is now available for sale in our online store. Happy holidays!
Un Regalo de Dios (“A Gift from God”) is the celebrated farm of Luis Alberto Balladarez Moncada and is located in the Mozonte region east of Ocotal, Nicaragua. This region has the potential to produce some remarkable coffees, but remains mostly undeveloped due to a lack of good infrastructure. In the two years that Luis Alberto has owned this farm, he has made many innovative improvements to the processing techniques which have contributed greatly to the quality and sweetness of his coffee.
Cherries are picked at peak ripeness and then allowed to rest for a few hours prior to being mechanically sorted by density rather than the traditional flotation — conserving large amounts of water and reducing waste. After pulping, a dry fermentation is utilized to speed up the process, as the spring water on his property is so cold it could delay the fermentation for days. Finally, he allows the slightest bit of mucilage to remain on the parchment prior to drying with the belief it increases sweetness.
This particular lot, Plantio el Aserradero, is grown at 1675 meters and is comprised of caturra and catuai. Round and balanced, with aromas of vanilla, apricot, and tangerine, this coffee features ripe stone fruit acidity, almond butter body, and a cocoa and sugar cane finish. Find these coffee beans in our cafes and online.
Caffe Vita’s most recent trip to Guatemala led to the discovery of this beautiful and rugged farm. Located at the upper limits of coffee cultivation (1700-2000 masl), the terrain provides a challenge for the farmers who work it. The steep hillsides are planted with a predominance of the Pacamara variety (hence the name), along with some Caturra and Catuai. Isote hugs the trails to provide protection against erosion and towering pine and avocado trees supply shade. The farm is owned by Eduardo Castro and managed by Jose ‘el Chepe’.
The cherries are handpicked at peak ripeness and then loaded into a truck for the short drive down to the wet mill at Finca Nuevo Viñas where they are unloaded, sorted by density and de-pulped. After a fermentation period of approximately 24 hours the parchment is washed and then allowed to dry on patios.
The cup is complex and lively with aromas of honeysuckle, melon, and ginger. Flavors of marshmallow, dark chocolate, and dried cherry are buoyed by a lemon juice acidity and sustained in the sweet, persistent finish.
Available online and at our retail locations.
We are pleased to have, for a limited time, an exceptional coffee from the Eastern Highlands of Papua New Guinea, Kainantu district. A majority of this coffee was grown on the Agoga Plantation, with additional cherries contributed by small holders from the Onaka Grower’s Association. Ripe cherries from bourbon, mundo novo, and arusha trees are harvested and sent to the wet processing facilities on the same day. They are washed, pulped, and fully submerged in spring water for a 36-hour fermentation, after which they are washed again, and then laid to dry on raised beds.
This meticulous processing results in a clean, sophisticated cup with sparkling citrus acidity, and layers of savory fruit flavors: plum, cherry tomato, and blackcurrant. The aroma has a soft floral quality, reminiscent of chamomile; the mouthfeel is vibrant yet anchored by the syrupy caramel body, and the finish lingers of candied orange zest.
flavor profile: moderately bright with dark chocolate, sun-dried cherry and citrus undertones with subtle hints of cinnamon in the finish
hint: A friendly accord between the US and this coffee’s country of origin has been delayed since a political figure suspected of orchestrating a US soldier’s death was elected president a few years ago.
This Indonesian civet, called a luwak, has a curious diet that includes eating ripe coffee cherries. Once these cherries go through its digestive system, they are harvested and washed, and then the beans are roasted.
This rare coffee is the most expensive coffee in the world.
Vita sourced some of this coffee as part of our Farm Direct coffee program and held a cupping last night for wholesale customers and other friends.
Michael Hebberoy went on The Bob Rivers Show while the crew did an on-air tasting. Click here to listen.
photos of the event taken by traca savadogo