Seed to Cup Part 1 Recap by Caleb Savage

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For this month’s class, we kicked off a new series of classes called Seed to Cup! In this series, we’ll explore how we get from coffea arabica to your morning pour over or Blood Orange Latte. Today we covered the ins and outs of the coffee plant, examined some common varieties of coffee, and debated the merits of Washed vs. Sun-Dried Coffee.

Coffee is a Fruit

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Coffee is a flowering fruit tree, typically grown between the Tropics of Cancer and Capricorn, near the equator. The roasted bean that we grind and drink is the seed found inside the fruit of this tree. The trees take years to mature enough to produce fruit and even then only produce a couple of pounds.

This cherry-like fruit has been cultivated in areas of Africa, Asia, and Central and South America for hundreds of years, first found in Ethiopia well before the 10th Century and then carried around the world throughout the 1700s and beyond. Learn more about coffee farming here.

Coffee is Diverse

Not only have coffee trees been cultivated in places all over the world, but as they’ve been moved and cared for, they’ve also been bred to become more resilient and yield more fruit!

From Heirloom varieties like the Geisha of Panama to the French Mission Bourbon, coffee trees, cherries, and seeds, take on all sorts of different sizes, shapes, and colors.

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Thanks to great diversity of coffee varieties and the growth of specialty coffee, research is being done over at World Coffee Research to provide producers with valuable information about what varieties might work best in new environments or places which have historically only grown one or two varieties.

Coffee is a Business

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For our tasting, we compared KLLR Coffee’s Washed and Sun-Dried Ethiopia to discuss how the process of removing the fruit of the coffee cherry from the seed can drastically impact flavor of the coffee and the profitability of the producer. While washed-processed coffees can be more consistent and can be better protected against natural disasters that could ruin a crop, they also require large amounts of water that can be too costly for some co-ops or producers to use. Sun-Dried coffees are memorable and give producers are more economical way to process their coffees. However, the process is entirely dependent on unknown variables like the weather and time to be successful.

We host these classes each month as a way to share information and coffee with anyone who’s interested. Sign up at the bottom of the page here to subscribe to our newsletter, or reach out to us in the Contact Form with a question or idea for a class!


On Bar: Ethiopia Hunda Oli by Steve Willingham

We've got an exciting new coffee from Heart Roasters on bar today! Ethiopia Hunda Oli

Photo courtesy of  Heart Roasters

Photo courtesy of Heart Roasters

Hunda Oli is a farming cooperative located in a town called Agaro in Oromia, Ethiopia. Oromia takes up the middle part of the country and includes the capital, the city of Addis Ababa. It's also responsible for more than half the production of coffee in Ethiopia. Like a lot of Ethiopia, farmers usually have small amounts of land, an average of just over one hectare (like two and a half acres.)

This means in most cases, the Ethiopian coffees we feature are grown by multiple farmers, and this coffee is no different. Hunda Oli is a co-op made up of 161 members growing heirloom plants on small lots.

The farmers bring their coffee to the wet mill where it's pulped, sorted, and sorted again. After fermentation, the coffee is agitated to remove the remaining mucilage, washed, and dried on raised beds.

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This is a really sweet and balanced coffee. We're getting tons of orange on the espresso bar, but it tastes more like berries and rosewater on Chemex. Come try it out both ways!

Cirque Coffee Roasters by Caleb Savage

Our friends at Cirque Coffee Roasters have been serving coffee to their neighbors and friends in Tulsa, Oklahoma since August 2016. Founded by John Pierce and Garrett O’Dell out of dreaming about the perfect shop and “nerding out on coffee at home,” Cirque developed out of the idea of making those ideas a reality. We spoke with Austin Fogt, Co-Owner and Wholesale Director to find out more about the people and values of Cirque!

Photo courtesy of Cirque Coffee

Photo courtesy of Cirque Coffee

Quality and Kindness

"Our mission is to source, roast, and serve truly life changing coffee. For those of us in the industry, we all remember that cup that changed the way we thought about coffee. We want to provide that experience for people in an environment that treats people with kindness and dignity without exception." The mission of Cirque is visibly present in their shop. Every time I've found myself in Tulsa, I've received outstanding hospitality and exceptional coffee from the team. Beyond that, expect to try things you've never experienced.

We like to describe Cirque as a coffee nerd's dream. Every brew method imaginable, a custom built Slayer, experimental signature drinks. These are all core pieces of what we do. Also, we're pretty dang weird, and we like weird people."

Cirque's dedication was evident even in their build-out when founders "John and Garrett literally carried and poured three tons of concrete for [the] bar themselves. In one day."

T-town and Limited Run Coffees

Austin says outside of Cirque, you can expect to find the team at American Solera, Don Francisco’s Tacos or Valkyrie.  If you’re looking for something to do, they also recommend checking out Climb Tulsa!

Photo courtesy of Cirque Coffee

Photo courtesy of Cirque Coffee

Cirque recently started roasting and serving “Limited Run Coffees” as an ode to the early days of the shop when they “served coffees from George Howell’s limited roast list to a few super enthusiastic customers. We want to give people experiences with the best coffees in the world, and this is one element of our effort to do that."

We’re really excited to serve Cirque’s Ethiopia Kercha Inshe on bar! Check it out before it’s gone!

On Espresso: Ethiopia Guji Highland from KLLR Coffee by Steve Willingham

Right now, we’re pulling an espresso that’s pretty unique for us: KLLR Coffee’s Sun-dried Ethiopia, a natural processed blend of heirloom varieties from a farm in Guji.

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Most of the coffees we feature are processed using the washed, or wet, process. In the washed process, the cherry’s skin and flesh are stripped off using a mechanical depulper, but a sticky layer of fruit called mucilage remains. This remaining fruit is first loosened by soaking in a fermentation tank, then rinsed off. The coffee is then dried so that it can be stored until it’s time to roast. These coffees are known for their crispness and balance which is what we love.

In natural, or sun-dried, coffees, the cherries are spread out on a patio or drying table first, intact. Over several days, they dry up just like any other fruit would in the sun. Then the fruit is removed mechanically, and the new green coffee is stored. Sun-dried coffees are known to have intense fruity flavors which makes it a unique, delicious single origin espresso for us.

Fresh coffee on the left, sun-dried coffee on the right. (Photo courtesy of  Coffee Shrub )

Fresh coffee on the left, sun-dried coffee on the right. (Photo courtesy of Coffee Shrub)

Here’s a bit about this coffee from KLLR: “Guji Highland is a farm located in the southern Guji zone of Shakiso, Ethiopia. When we look for a sun-dried Ethiopia, this is the first place we look. This farm is roughly 250 hectares around 2000 meters above sea level in what amounts to a natural forest of heirloom trees. Someday they plan to build a wet mill, but for now, they're using only the dry process.”

When it comes a to a coffee like this, you can expect an astounding fragrance and some big fruit in the cup. We’re tasting mango, strawberry, and herbs. This coffee is being served in espressos and americanos today and tomorrow, but you can get it in any espresso drink by request. Come try it out!