Guatemala

Huckleberry Coffee Roasters by Caleb Savage

We’re so excited to share with you coffee from a new-to-Clarity roaster based out of Denver, Colorado, Huckleberry Roasters! Co-founders Mark Mann and Koan Goedman were able to tell us a little more about the Huckleberry story and the city they love, Denver!

From sourcing, roasting and serving coffee to the organizations Huckleberry supports, founders Mark and Koan work “to stand for something and to leave a mark on the city we live in, on the guests we serve and on the folks we send coffee to.” Thanks to a common love for The Shins and a “good amount of beers” in 2011, Huckleberry was formed.

Photo courtesy of Huckleberry Roasters

Photo courtesy of Huckleberry Roasters

Denver and Dairy Block

“Have you heard Denver likes beer?” From breweries like TRVE Brewing, Ratio Brewing, and Black Shirt Brewing, to Huckleberry’s sister cafe, Port Side, to restaurants like Avanti, Vital Root, and City, O City, Denver is full of Huckleberry approved eating, drinking, and sightseeing. Just like at Clarity, your friendly neighborhood barista can point you to all sorts of local options.

As part of a new development in Downtown Denver called Dairy Block, Huckleberry is working to open the second location as the anchor tenant in the Maven Hotel. Much like their flagship location, you’ll get the same “friendly baristas, approachable and tasty coffee, and a welcoming and warm environment," but “the larger space allows us to expand the food and drink menu quite a bit.” Plus, the Dairy Block location will be open quite a bit later than most Denver coffee shops for any late night coffee needs.

Photo courtesy of Huckleberry Roasters

Photo courtesy of Huckleberry Roasters

Collaboration

“Our coffee(s) from Guatemala are our passion project. Not only are they delicious, but they are the result of our most hands-on, direct and intensive partner relationship we have with growers and producers of APROCAFE near Lake Atitlan. Broadly speaking, Huckleberry believes that rising tides lift all ships. And, more specifically, we believe that building bridges with friends and partners within and outside of the coffee industry only makes that rising tide more powerful and impactful. It’s also just fun, right? Collaborating on coffee beers is fun! Doing weird events with non-coffee people is fun!”

We’re really digging the Ethiopia Adado and Burundi Ninga Colline from our friends at Huckleberry.  We’ll have them on bar and their retail bags on the shelves until you buy the last cup. For now, check out this video that our new friends put together:

Cheers!

Heart Roasters by Caleb Savage

If you’ve stopped by the shop more than once or twice, there’s a pretty solid chance you’ve had coffee from our friends at Heart Coffee Roasters. Not only does their packaging blend into the clean and crisp vibes on the retail shelves, their coffee is exactly what Steve and the team looks for in deciding what coffees to feature at Clarity. I got to hear from Ryan Cross, Director of Wholesale for Heart Coffee Roasters, to learn about the Heart story and what makes their coffee so outstanding.

Alex Pond roasting samples (Photo courtesy of Heart Roasters)

Alex Pond roasting samples (Photo courtesy of Heart Roasters)

Heart opened its doors on October 20, 2009 with the purpose to “create an exceptional coffee experience through uncompromising quality.” For founders Wille and Rebekah Yli-Luoma, roasting coffee is about highlighting the natural qualities of the coffee: “Our goal is to offer coffees from various regions around the world that showcase distinct flavors that are found in the coffees from each specific region.”

Roasting with Care

It seems like nearly every coffee I get to drink from Heart not only honors the origin of the coffee in flavor, but does so with a clarity in taste and note that’s difficult to find with other roasters. This comes from a devotion to origin and natural fruit flavors the coffee has throughout the roasting process.

Our focus is uncompromising quality.

“Coffee is a seasonal product, the seed of a fruit, and should be treated with care-from start to finish. The belief is that as a roasting company, there is always something to be learned & room for improvement. We strive to push ourselves to be able to offer our customers the very best coffee we can. The foundation of Heart is a love of coffee, with a passion to innovate and produce the most delicious cup.” This level of care leads to the ideal Heart coffee, a coffee with “fruitiness and delicate sweet notes, along with a rich body, and pronounced acidity.”

(Photo courtesy of Heart Roasters)

(Photo courtesy of Heart Roasters)

Packaging for Transparency

“At heart, our approach is simple,” reads the back of every retail bag. “The coffee cherry is a fruit. Coffee is seasonal. We consider these facts when we source and roast the coffee. Our focus is uncompromising quality. Enjoy.” This insight to how Heart chooses and roasts its coffee isn’t the only thing Heart is willing to discuss. From the specifics of the individual plants and processing of the cherries, to the milling process, the costs involved at all levels and how quickly the green (unroasted) coffee can make it to Heart to be roasted; Heart is dedicated to telling the full story.

We are in it for the long run and want to be sure our farmers are being paid a fair price

“We understand that it costs a lot of money to produce the quality we are asking the farmers to provide us. It is expensive to produce the quality we are asking the farmers to provide us. This is why open communication with our farmers is important. We are in it for the long run and want to be sure our farmers are being paid a fair price, and feel good about their relationship with heart.”

Aurelio Villatoro cupping El Amate and his other coffees with some of the Heart crew (Photo courtesy of Heart Roasters)

Aurelio Villatoro cupping El Amate and his other coffees with some of the Heart crew (Photo courtesy of Heart Roasters)

We love our friends at Heart and are excited to see the opening of their third location in Portland soon. Right now you can find their Guatemala El Amate on both the espresso bar and the Chemex bar, so come have a cup with us!

On Bar: Guatemala Finca San José Ocaña by Steve Willingham

I met Chris Garrison, the owner of Old World Coffee Lab, a couple of weeks ago when he was in town for the latte art competition at Evoke in Edmond. He was nice enough to share some of his coffees and hang out with us at Clarity for a bit, and we were really impressed with his coffee. In particular, we fell in love with a coffee from a family-owned estate called Finca San José Ocaña in Guatemala. The farm has been in the Sanchez family for 110 years! They grow bourbon and catuai trees, process it in their own mill, and ship out some of the best Guatemalan coffee I've had, ever.

Based in Reno, Nevada, Old World Coffee has been around for about five years, but they just started roasting last year. Here's a little from them about their roasting philosophy:

Photo courtesy of Old World Coffee Lab

Photo courtesy of Old World Coffee Lab

We pay homage to the origins of coffee by developing the unique flavor profiles, dialing in and allowing for each strain of coffee bean to be its truest self.

“Treating coffee with respect is the main ingredient to much of what we do.”

We’re thinking outside the box, shifting our mindset to a bottom-up approach, and it starts with the coffee. We’re hooked on the feeling to pursue a never-settle-for-good-enough mentality.

This experience will challenge what each of us has come to accept coffee to be, it should inform us of the of great amount of work -- from the producer, farmer, exporter, importer, roaster, and finally to the barista -- that went into bringing us this coffee.

Come try this Guatemala. We're brewing in on the Chemex bar and on espresso! In the mean time, I'll leave you with this short little video about Old World.

Cheers!

On espresso: Guatemala El Diamante by Steve Willingham

A few weeks ago, we featured an espresso from Tweed called Guatemala El Diamante. This week, we are excited to have that same coffee from Patricia Perez, but roasted by Heart this time.

Here's a little about this coffee from the roaster:

Finca El Diamante is located in a remote valley close to the tiny town Agua Dulce, in the Huehuetenango region of Guatemala. Heart first visited El Diamante on a buying trip back in 2013. Heart returned in early 2016 and was able to secure some of the tastiest lots of this coffee.

After El Diamante is harvested the pulp is removed and the beans are fermented for almost 40 hours. After fermentation the coffee is washed and then soaked again for another 12 hours. Despite the long fermentation times we found this coffee to be delightfully clean with notes of mellow golden raspberry and rainier cherry.

El Diamante uses both raised beds as well as patios to dry their coffee. The lots of coffee Heart purchased are all dried on raised beds, milled, then sorted by bean size. This contributes to how beautifully clean this coffee is.

When you taste El Diamante you realize the specialness of this coffee. The care and attention to detail Patricia (Patty to her friends) has put into their product becomes immediately apparent. We are deeply honored to be able to work with Patty and to showcase her coffee. 
Patricia Perez, photo courtesy of Heart Roasters

Patricia Perez, photo courtesy of Heart Roasters

We're tasting bits of chocolate and honey, and a nice cherry-like acidity in this coffee from Heart, which is really different from the Tweed version. Come try it out while it's on bar!