Joel Bigelow and Leah Shinkle have spent the last several months training to compete in the Western Qualifier for the 2016 US Barista Championships. After a wonderful week of competition in Kansas City, they have both moved on to the Nationals! We would like to take this opportunity to congratulate both for jobs well done. Both Leah… Continue Reading
Part 2: El Salvador
After a quick cupping at Servex with our friends at La Providencia and Finca Guatelon on my last day in Guatemala, I jumped on a bus to El Salvador. Upon my arrival I was warmly received by Lucia and Roberto of Las Mercedes and a generous pour of Blue Label!
After a brief visit with Lucia and Roberto, Sergio and Isabel Ticas of Finca Los Planes, another long-time PT’s partner, picked me up to take me to their farm in Chalatenango, located in northern El Salvador very close to Honduras. As we entered the region, it became clear they too were suffering from an overly-dry season which is effecting the yield for this year’s harvest. Los Planes sits on the mountain Cordillera Alotepeque Metapán overlooking Ocotepeque, Honduras. The area is extremely tranquil; rarely have I felt as serene as I did during my two day stay at the farm. Sergio is driven by quality and it shows in the harvest. Like El Socorro, the day’s picking marked the start of the peak season. The cherries were beautiful and plentiful. Prior to this day, the farm averaged about 28 buckets of cherries per day. This day, 98 buckets were delivered to the mill, a sign the cherries are at prime ripeness and sweetness.
Upon our return to San Salvador, I headed to Las Mercedes with Lucia and her son, Andres. Las Mercedes is located in the Usulután in the Southern part of El Salvador, closer to Nicaragua.
Las Mercedes was founded in 1886, making it one of the oldest farms in El Salvador still run by 6th generation of the founding family. A Cup of Excellence winner in 2006, Las Mercedes not only produces great coffees, but has become a positive force for social change within their community. In 2008, they established a clinic on the farm that serves twelve surrounding communities with free medicine and medical support. PT’s Coffee is proud to have supported this clinic over the years. Since 2008, they have averaged about 1500 patients per year and continue to expand the care they provide.
As with most of Central America, 2017 will be a down year for many farms in El Salvador. In addition to the natural cycle of an up year followed by a down year, Lucia has worked tirelessly to refurbish her best growing areas. While they are looking at a down year of about 40%, Lucia has prepared for the next up cycle by planting thousands of new young shrub and removing very old trees that were no longer producing or were vulnerable to disease.
Lucia has replanted huge swaths of prime growing areas with new varietals and dedicated more space to species that thrive here, like the Kenya varietal SL-28. Currently she is not producing enough SL-28 to separate it out as a unique lot, but in about three years SL-28 will be a distinct offering from Las Mercedes.
Onward to Finca Loma La Gloria! The first order of business with producer Anny Pimentel was to present the results of our fundraising efforts to their recipients. For the last couple seasons we have used proceeds from the sale of Anny’s coffee to support an eco-stove program for her employees. This year we changed things up a bit.
Rembert Sosa is the principal at the public school Centro Escolar San Jeronimo in El Boqueron, very close to Finca Loma La Gloria. Sr. Sosa has spent the last five years trying to get a baking program going for his high school students; both to teach students a skill and to use the fresh bread as a fundraiser for the school. Unfortunately, public schools in El Salvador are tragically underfunded and he has not been able to find the money needed for an oven. Through our fundraising efforts with Anny’s coffee, we raised enough money to buy a commercial stove for the project and two large eco-stoves for the school. In addition, we bought three more eco-stoves for Anny’s employees! Rembert has finally started the baking program and it is quickly becoming the most popular program in school.
This is our third season working directly with Anny and I can say with all honesty this is the best thus far. Improving at the farm level is not easy. With so many moving parts and employees to manage, much can go wrong. Experimenting and adding protocols might improve the quality of the coffee, but are often too difficult and risky for farms to undertake. Finca Loma La Gloria is the exception.
With Francisco’s help, the farm is breaking ground and moving in directions of which bigger farms should take note. Major adjustments in regard to how they dry, rest, blend, and harvest coffees has improved the coffee clarity, sweetness, and complexity. We are excited to roast our exclusive Pacamara from Finca Loma La Gloria later this year.
This year we entered the Compak Golden Bean Roasters competition with a great line up of coffees. This event has been running successfully for nearly a decade in Australia and has been one of the key elements in the growth of the Australian coffee industry by way of rewarding the coffee roasters, the vital person in… Continue Reading
This story begins with one very tiny KIA Sportage, five coffee professionals, a cooler full of cold brewed Pacamara Natural, and a trunk packed with specialty coffee from our Colombian Direct Trade partners. Last weekend members of the PT’s crew hit the road heading east with one goal in mind – to share our love… Continue Reading
For the second year in a row, PT’s at College Hill has been named one of America’s Best Coffee Shops by The Daily Meal. While there are many “Best Of” lists to be had, we are especially proud to place highly here. Curated by some of the best and brightest in our industry, they have… Continue Reading
PT’s Coffee Roasting Co. is 21 years old this year and along the road there have been many changes. With an eye towards the future and an appreciation for the past, we are making changes to our lineup of Signature Blends. While continuing to strengthen old and make new Direct Trade partnerships, we have been redeveloping… Continue Reading
PT’s Coffee Roasting Co. will be closed Wednesday, January 1st in observance of the holiday but we will return on Thursday, ready to take on 2014! In celebration of the New Year, we are offering FREE SHIPPING to all retail customers* who order from our website during the month of January! No promo code required.… Continue Reading
PT’s Coffee Roasting Co. has teamed up with Espro and Williams-Sonoma for an exclusive Artisan Coffee Tasting! This Saturday, November 9th, from noon to 4pm, our baristas will be available in-store, brewing our coffee with the Espro Press at select Williams-Sonoma locations for this special event. We will be featuring our Kenya Ndaroini and El… Continue Reading
Thrillist has named us one of the Top 11 Roasters in the Nation. We are so pleased and honored to be included alongside such great company, especially when the list is curated by such respected individuals within our industry: Bill Walsh (Pure Coffee Blog), Jordan Michelman (Sprudge.com), Brian Jones (Dear Coffee I Love You), Kelly… Continue Reading
The leaves are quickening, the breeze has turned cold, and the days are getting shorter. For us here at PT’s Coffee Roasting Co., that means it’s time to gear up for the holidays. Some of our most anticipated Direct Trade lots will soon be on their way, including coffees from Finca Kilimanjaro, Finca Las Mercedes,… Continue Reading