George Howell

On bar: two coffees from George Howell by Steve Willingham

Two new coffees are on bar this morning! First, we got to dial in a new espresso from George Howell Coffee. It's pulling beautifully. Black, we're tasting notes of tart grape and honey, but in milk, it's caramelly sweet and perfectly balanced.

A little about this coffee from the roaster:

The region of Acatenango is on the other side of the beautiful ancient city of Antigua’s two volcanoes (of three!). In 1963 Acatenango received two feet of ash, making the soil rich in phosphorus. Not long ago much of its coffee was transported to Antigua and sold as such. It is now recognized as a special terroir in its own right. 

La Soledad receives warm moist air from the Pacific and often clouds over in the afternoon, while the morning is bright with strong shadows. The farm is 222 acres, half being natural forest, which the Perez family intends to maintain. The coffee trees are fairly heavily shaded with soil-enriching leguminous trees. 

Henio Pérez's family has owned La Soledad, named after his grandmother, Soledad del Carmen, since 1895. Henio's son, Raul, works with his father to continuously improve their product. Raul now sample roasts on the farm and cups all the lots. They are also experimenting with several exotic varieties of coffee that we should be tasting in the near future.

On Chemex, we're brewing an Ethiopia Kochere that also comes from George Howell. This coffee is grown by smallholder farms in Yirgacheffe that sell to a mill called Reko for processing. They're washed and dried on raised racks for consistency. In the cup, we're getting outstanding notes of peaches and lemongrass.

We'll only have these coffees for a few days, so come by and grab a drink while they're on bar!

On Chemex: Colombia El Cairo by Steve Willingham

This morning we're breaking into a new coffee roasted by George Howell Coffee from a farm called El Cairo. We're tasting notes of vanilla and spices with a little passion fruit on the finish, and it is delicious.

This coffee is grown by Lucas Melo Pinchao in Nariño, Colombia. Pinchao has owned El Cairo for twenty years, and has benefited from having a farm with an elevation as high as 7,500 meters above sea level in some places. In specialty coffee, we usually see a correlation: the higher the elevation, the sweeter the coffee. This coffee is no exception.

El Cairo is also a good example of specialty coffee transcending the usual labels of organic and fair trade. Pinchao doesn't have either certification, but he does grow all his coffee using strict organic practices and is paid very well for his work due to the demand for coffee of this quality.

Now for the really fun fact. This coffee was harvested in July 2015. Normally, we wouldn't want a coffee that old because it would start to lose its acidity and start to taste lackluster. However, George Howell does things a little differently:

We treat these coffees specially, from export to storage before roasting to guarantee farm-fresh expressions of terroir – the first thing lost when green (raw) coffee ages. We vacuum seal green coffee and then freeze until ready for roasting. This stops the aging process in its tracks, allowing great vintages to outlast their seasonality in all their glory – great for the farmer and for the consumer!

Come try out this coffee on the Chemex bar today or tomorrow.