- September 2018
- Written by : Michael Sheridan
Director of Sustainability and Shared Value / Green Coffee Buyer
There is just something about fall.
While every change of season carries with it the weight of anticipation, we await the arrival of fall with a special sense of excitement. The cool air braces us, shaking us out of the languid days of summer and mounting an all-out assault on the senses. Leaves flare out in a stunning visual display, turning a subtle spectrum of hazy shades of green into a dazzling kaleidoscope of colors — yellow, orange, red and purple — rendered in crisp resolution.
Every year at this time, our quality control team sets about the task of creating a seasonal blend that creates that kind of sharp resolution in the cup and evokes the flavors of fall.
The 2018 edition of our Otoño blend hits the mark with notes of honeycrisp apple, ginger and toffee. Its complexity of flavor reflects the diversity of its ingredients, drawn from three different origins and more than a half-dozen varieties: it is comprised of three of our fresh-crop single-origin offerings: Itzamná Guatemala, La Perla de Oaxaca Organic Mexico and Kungu Maitu Kenya.
The Guatemala component that anchors the blend comes from the award-winning La Maravilla farm in Huehuetenango, where we have been working with Mauricio Rosales and his family for more than 15 years. His contribution to Otoño this year harnesses the flavor of Bourbon and its offspring, Caturra.
More traditional Latin American varieties arrive via Mexico, where smallholder farmers from the Café San José Zaragoza cooperative in Santa Cruz Itundujia in Oaxaca have delivered a mix of Bourbon, Mundo Novo and Typica. Café San José Zaragoza is part of the CEPCO cooperative federation with which we started working 16 years ago.
The third and final component of the blend comes from Mary Manyeki in Kenya, one of the most exciting new Intelligentsia Direct Trade partners. The SL-28 and SL-34 varieties that anchor her farm break ranks with the blend’s Latin American ingredients, delivering the bright acidity, persistent sweetness and elegant structure that help to bring the flavors of this fall classic into focus.