Brew School

Mexico

Learn all about Groundwork's new Mexico

Background: La Lagunilla is a collection of growers from the Ixhuatlan de Juarez region in Oaxaca, composed of 84 landholders/farmers. This co-op has weathered many storms and is very focused on quality, a fact reflected by one of the co-op’s farmers taking home 3rd place in Mexico’s first-ever CoE (Cup of Excellence) in 2012.

These last several years have been hard for certified organic coffees in Mexico. Rough weather and conditions that foster the spread of coffee leaf rust have plagued farmers of late. Maintaining organic certification during these times is becoming an increasingly difficult decision.

This last lot of coffee from La Lagunilla was one of the best that we had tasted coming out of Mexico this year. We have worked with La Lagunilla on and off in the past, and we are very happy to bring this coffee back in a continuing effort to help out and show our support. The cup is simple and classic with a balanced acidity and flavors of milk chocolate, toasted almonds, cane sugar, and a subtle hint of green apple — everything one could want from a truly good coffee from Mexico.

In the Cup: Structured with notes of milk chocolate, toasted almond, and cane sugar

Details:
Co-Op: La Lagunilla Cooperative
Region: Oaxaca
Varietal: Typica, Mundo Novo, Caturra, Bourbon
Processing: Fully Washed
Harvest: January - March
Altitude: 1000-1500m
Certification: USDA Organic

Shop our certified organic Mexico - La Lagunilla single origin coffee.

 

Colombia - AMUCC

Colombia AMUCC certified organic free trade coffee

In Colombia, the absence of men in communities due to the upheaval over the last 25 years created a vacuum. Women found themselves as the de facto heads of their households — with all of the accompanying responsibilities, but none of the rights. Enter AMUCC, a Fair Trade certified association of women in Cauca empowering female coffee producers as they step up to fill that vacuum and bring about positive social change.

Simply put, we fell in love with their coffee and the people behind it. We realized that AMUCC is just the sort of community that Groundwork is looking to partner with. At the group’s request, we are crea ng an interest-free revolving credit line to help the certified organic farmers meet short-term cash flow needs. Moreover, to encourage the produc on of truly great coffee and the growth of the number of cer fied farms, we are introducing a Quality Award of $1 per pound to a farmer who produces a truly exceptional micro-lot. The first recipient of the Quality Award is Maria Cristina Potosi — mother, grandmother, 35-year veteran coffee farmer, and self-described “enterprising woman.”

In the Cup: Tangerine, red currant, milk chocolate, green apple, and clover honey

Shop our Colombia - AMUCC Single Origin Coffee.

Costa Rica - Las Lajas - Honey Process

Groundwork Coffee Co.'s new Costa Rica Honey Process coffee trio.

In Costa Rica, organic coffee is almost nonexistent, and that is why this coffee is so significant; being honey processed and of limited quantity is what makes it so special.

Third-generation coffee farmers Dona Francisca and Don Oscar Chacon decided to be different. Their passion for coffee and strongly held belief in the preservation of the environment made inevitable their decision to get their micro-mill and farm, both named Las Lajas, certified as organic. Las Lajas is known for being among the first to produce high-quality honey and natural processed coffees in Central America.

Last year, we carried a yellow honey processed coffee from Las Lajas micro mill. We knew that we wanted to offer this very special coffee again, but we were having difficulty deciding which of these remarkable processes to carry. It was a tough decision, so we gave up — and this boxed set is the result.

This year, we’re offering all three honey processes from Las Lajas and letting our customers see for themselves what the honey process is all about.

Each of these coffees is distinctive, and the flavors range from floral and crisp to deep and fruit forward. We hope you enjoy finding the words to describe them as much as we did.

Yellow Honey: 100% mucilage left on, coffee turned hourly on the bed

Red Honey: 100% mucilage left on, coffee several times a day on the bed (less frequently than Yellow Honey)

Black Honey: 100% mucilage left on, coffee turned only once per day

Details:
Farm: Las Lajas
Micro Mill: Las Lajas
Region: Sabanilla de Alajuela

Altitude: 1450m

Variety: Caturra, Catuai
Processing: Yellow Honey, Red Honey, Black Honey

Shop our Limited Reserve Costa Rica - Las Lajas - Honey Process Single Origin Coffee.

 

Gunpowder Organic Green Tea

Background: Look closely at this tea and you will see small, round pellets resembling grains of black powder. Also called “pearl tea” or “bead tea,” Gunpowder tea has a light sheen that indicates freshness. This unique tea is achieved by withering the leaves, then steaming and tightly rolling them, before drying them over high heat to impart a distinctive smoky flavor.

Production of this tea dates back to the Tang Dynasty, but it wasn’t introduced to Taiwan until the 19th century. From there, it spread to the rest of the world — including Morocco, where it is still imported today to produce Moroccan Mint tea.

Several different Green tea varietals are used to produce Gunpowder, including Ti Kwan Yin and Jasmine Green. But the original and most common is called Pingshui Gunpowder and is characterized by larger pearls, a more vibrant color, and a particularly aromatic infusion.

Tasting Notes: This organic Chinese Green tea is sweet and silky with subtle notes of roasted chestnut and wildflower honey, an overall smoky flavor, and a minty aftertaste.

Perfect Brew: Brew at 170-185°F for 2-3 minutes to achieve the perfect balance of earthy and sweet. You can reduce the steeping time to bring out its grassy notes, or increase it for a more floral and peppery brew.

Shop our Gunpowder Green certified organic tea. | Try something different!

Guatemala - San Antonio Huista

Guatemala - San Antonio Huista Organic Coffee Brew School

San Antonio Huista is a municipality in the Guatemalan department of Huehuetenango, an area known for its lively acidity and tropical, fruit-laced coffee. This cooperative was founded in 1960, but the civil wars that plagued Guatemala from 1961-96 took their toll on production. Restructuring commenced in 1998 and the cooperative slowly began to produce more coffee. By 2008, they started the organic certification process in order to obtain better market prices.

In addition to growing coffee, the cooperative also has an apiary and harvests honey — the coffee farm being a symbiotic environment in which the honey bees can thrive. Today, the cooperative consists of 54 members. Everyone processes the coffee in their houses with hand-powered depulpers. The coffee is then fermented (some of them have concrete fermentation tanks, others have buckets), washed, and dried — always at home. Coffee is then delivered to their San Antonio warehouse, at which point they consolidate lots into 100-pound bags of pergamino that are then delivered to the warehouse in Huehuetenango in a repurposed school bus, which they call the "coffee bus."

This coffee was brought to our attention by our friends at TG Labs in Guatemala. Josue Morales and Dan Griffin, of TG Labs, have been stopping by our roasting facility for several years now, and we have been trying to figure out a way to work more closely with them. One day, Dan stopped by with a sample of this coffee, and it was just the thing we were looking for. The cup was clean and well-structured with a tropical fruit sweetness and a juicy, tangerine-like acidity, rounded out by a brown sugar and date-like finish.

TG Labs, based in Guatemala City, is a research-and-development center seeking to establish relationships with farmers within all regions of Guatemala and work with them to refine their farming practices, add value to their work, and help to produce better coffee. Josue and his team have done a great job to help transform this coffee into a beautiful product and bring it to market. They have been working with this cooperative in San Antonio since 2011, and we have heard from Josue that there are still further plans to increase traceability and improve quality on the farm level. We are grateful for the work that TG Labs is doing in this area, and we are very lucky to be working with such passionate coffee professionals across our supply chain. As for now, we are excited and proud to bring this coffee to you. We hope you enjoy it!

In the Cup: Tangerine, dates, brown sugar, tropical sweetness, good structure

Details:
Farm/Cooperative: Cooperativa de Desarrollo Integral San Antonio Huista, R.L
Region: San Antonio Huista, Huehuetenango
Altitude: 900-1650 meters
Harvest. November-March
Variety: Caturra, Typica, Pache, Bourbon, Anacafe14, Castilla
Processing: Fully Washed and Patio Dried in small lots on the farm level, Consolidated, sorted and graded at the Cooperative
Certification: USDA Organic
Year Started: 1960
Members: 54

Shop our Guatemala - San Antonio Huista Single Origin Coffee.