KENYA DIG IT

KENYA DIG IT

We have a new coffee available from Kenya now via The Secret Stash. 

 

Coffees from Kenya hold a special place in my heart. One of my first perspective changing moments in coffee happened at the 2013 Specialty Coffee Association Expo all thanks to a Kenya. Well, the person pulling the shot might have helped. As the hand reached over holding an already intoxicating fragrant cup of espresso, I immediately recognized the Barista. It was none other then Lem Buttler. If you do not know who he is, please take some time and look him up. He is a long time innovator, ambassador to specialty coffee, and all around badass barista champ rockstar. I smelled deep red fruit in the cup, like someone squishing cherries and plums right in front of me. The cup tasted like a lemon head candy though! Tart, but sweet at the same time with a syrupy heavy mouthfeel. I had never had a coffee this complex and could not grasp my head around all the flavors at the time. The coffee tasted special to me. This coffee from Kenya had left an impact that would follow me to this day.

 

We found a very special coffee from Kenya this year that I believe will make you feel the same way I did in 2013.

Kenya Kirinyaga Baragwi Gachami is sourced from family-owned farms organized around the Gachami Factory (wet mill) located in Kirinyaga County, Kenya. Located in the central part of Kenya on a growing region in the fertile foothills of Mount Kenya. Farmer plots are so small that size is gauged by the number of trees rather than the measurements of the land. Farmers who process their coffee at the Gachami Factory are members of the Baragwi Farming Cooperative Society, which was established in 1953 and currently has 16,892 members. Baragwi supports a women's group called the Mount Kenya Project, which was implemented to improve the quality of life through socio-economic projects aimed at reducing poverty and increasing business knowledge in rural communities.

 

We recomend using a pour over for this coffee, this recipe will be for a Hario V60:

20 grams coffee

310 grams water

Grind will need to be coarser than a normal V60 grind. Think Kalita particle size

- This coffee is categorized AA in size. Meaning it is the largest sized coffees. Because of the large particle size there will be more surface area when ground. This causes a grater range of different particle size throughout the grind. We found that coarsening the grind created a sweeter and cleaner cup.

Remember to pre rinse your filter and zero out that scale.

50 gram bloom

Wait 30 seconds

Pour to 150 grams

wait 30 seconds

Pour to 250 grams

Wait 10 seconds

Pour last 60 grams water around edges to saturate any dry grounds. End at 310 grams

 

WHAT DO WE TASTE?

 

A delicate cup, providing intense florals, clarity, and complexity.

Flavor notes included:

Grapefruit brulee

Candy orange slices

Apricot

Necterine

Caramel Apple

Lemon

and my personal favorite: Arnold Palmer

 

BUY A BAG HERE: http://www.goshencoffee.com/productlisting/kenya-baragwi-gachami-aa
 

More coffee info:

Grower: 1,200 Smallholder farmers organized around the Gachami Factory
Region: Kirinyaga County, Kenya
Altitude: 1,700- 1,800 meters
Process: Fully washed and dried in raised beds
Variety: SL28, SL34, and Ruiru 11
Soil: Volcanic loam
Certification: Conventional

 

Happy drinking,

 

Argus

 

Fruit forward Sumatra? Yeah right.

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Fruit forward Sumatra? Yeah right.

A couple months ago we found ourselves in need of some new coffees for our Secret Stash line. That being said, I would like to tell you what our purpose is with this line. The coffees we select for our Secret Stash are the coffees that are so good you would stash away for a special occasion, or selfishly enjoy by yourself. The coffees you brag to your friends about or bring into a coffee shop for the home town hero barista to try. Coffees not just focused on terrior, varietal, and processing, but something more; Strangeness. We want the coffee to be unique, weird, oddly likable, just like our personalities. I want coffees so unique you question if it is actually coffee you're drinking. If these goals are met what I can hope for is a cup of coffee so good it makes a memory.  I want to give you a memorable cup of coffee and our Secret Stash coffees are my way of doing so.

Back to the search for a new coffee. When we need a new coffee a will contact multiple importers and basically ask them to wow us with their best coffees. This is by far my favorite part of my job. We ended up getting 8 or 9 green samples. We looked over them all. My eyes darted to a bag labeled Sumatra. Maybe a mistake? I think this because any Sumatra coffee I have had has been. . . how can I put this nicely. . . in my opinion they have tasted rough and heavy. Sumatran coffees have been traditionally processed in an old style called wet-hulled started in Indonesia.

Lets learn about the wet-hulled process. The coffee cherries are hand picked and put through a depulper. The disregarded fruit will fall to one side and the seeds, or coffee, will fall into a fermentation tank, or what I call the big tile bathtub of my dreams. The coffee will soak for 24 hours. This removes the mucilage still attached to the coffee. Coffee will then be transported to a large stone patio to dry to until the coffee reaches a 25%-40% moisture content. The beans are then put through a machine that removes the parchment, a process called hulling. Coffee is then transported back to the stone patio to dry for 5 days. Coffee will be ready for export at a 12%-13% moisture content. Drying the coffee without parchment is what gives traditional Sumatran coffees their distinct flavors characteristics like earthy, herbaceous, woody flavors with a heavy body and lingering bitterness. Hugely popular, think Starbucks Sumatra, but I prefer a lighter bodied coffee with florals and fruit notes these days. That is until I tasted a honey processed coffee from Sumatra.

Introduction. Sumatra Lake Toba Samosir honey processed. I know long name right? Let's call this coffee Toba. Sumatra has terrain unlike any place on earth, dipping below sea level in some parts to skyrocketing into the sky in others. To the northern part of Sumatra is a lake named Lake Toba holding the record for being the worlds largest volcanic lake. A caldera formed over 75,000 years ago from a super volcano eruption. Making some of the most ideal soil for coffee growing conditions in the world. Toba is from 3 estates and was processed at a family owned mill called CV. Yudi Putra at 1350 meters above sea level. These farmers took a chance and processed the coffee in a honey style, extremely rare for Sumatra. The coffee is dupulped and falls into the big tile bathtub of my dreams, but with no water. The sticky sugary mucilage covered coffee is then transported to dry, allowing the sugars to ferment into the coffee. It is then hulled still damp and returned to dry, just like traditional Sumatran coffees. So we have a new process method infused with old ways in a totally unique terrior. Sounds interesting, but I just want to know if it tastes good. Ok.  

Real life actual flavor notes:

Strawberry jam

vanilla ice cream

banana

potpourri

chocolate

pineapple

mango

lemonade

basil

raspberry

pine needles

lime

plum

apricot

cranberry

grape

fig preserves

clementine

cantaloupe

So yeah, Toba is memorable. Grab a bag and lets make a memory.

Argus  

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EDUCATING THE EDUCATORS - HONDURAS 2017

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EDUCATING THE EDUCATORS - HONDURAS 2017

EDUCATING THE EDUCATORS- HONDURAS 2017

 

This is a 6 month story about a trip to Honduras and a special coffee from there.

 

I was never the competing type growing up. I did not care for being coached and the thought of depending on the “team” for the outcome made me sick. 

This changed when I started to work in coffee. Goshen started to compete in Americas Best Espressos and Brewers Cup and found ourselves placing in the top 3 almost every time. Not only was I roasting the coffee, but I started to be the one to compete and I started to enjoy the competition. What I get from competition is feedback and validation from peers. These two have become huge for me. 

 

Rewind to mid December 2016 on an extremely frozen night. Black ice spots littered the roads to Rise Coffee in St. Louis and the scene was perfect for a roasting competition held by Genuine Origin coffee importers. The premise of the competition was to have competitors purchase the same green coffee, roast the coffee to your style, send the coffees back, and finally have judges cup the coffees to score them. The winner got a fully paid trip to Honduras, second and third place got a spot on the trip and would just need to buy the plane ticket. I was intrigued for sure. I entered both Carl and I in the competition. I then immediately forgot about the competition. I was reminded about the competition when Carl asked me to taste his roast. This was the day before the coffee was due. Carl’s roast was great. I was frazzled. I quickly assessed Carl’s roast and tossed my roast in. I thought it was ok, but nothing special, plus had no time to do multiple roasts. Oh well, at least Carl would have a good shot at winning. Later I received an email saying that 31 coffee companies had entered the competitions and Carl had just slightly scored out of the top 8. I got a follow up email that said I was in the top 8 highest scoring coffees. These 8 coffees would go head to head in a bracket style slurp off at Rise Coffee here in St. Louis. I was happy just to be in the top 8. By the end of the night I received 3rd place. My spot for Honduras was secured.

 

Rewind to mid February 2017 at 3:30am to a small house in disarray with myself still needing to finish packing. I had 20 minutes till I was picked up by Tony of Genuine Origin. How many Goshen shirts are too many? Is twenty 12oz bags of coffee too much for the locals? Most likely. “Honk Honk” driver is here. I am quickly put to ease with stories from Tony on the way to the airport. He tells me about touring through Nicaragua, Guatemala, and Honduras with his old band. His new role with Genuine Origin. His new role as a father. He then proceeded to take out a large plastic bag full of everything you would ever need for a 3 month safari. Heavy duty insect spray, vitamins, sunscreen, wet wipes, and various pills for any type of tummy shames. He was precise, always on time and made sure we kept on schedule. It was quite obvious he was the “Dad” of the trip and there was no better person to fill that role. 

 

Origin trips are monumental on their own, but a good crew can make that origin trip a memory for life. We had that for this trip. A bunch of legends: Tony Auger, Tymika Lawrence, and Calos Umanzor from Genuine Origin, Tim Maestas from Augies Coffee, Michael Butler from Comet Coffee, Scott Carey of Sump Coffee, and Bret Colman of Zen Cafe Coffee Roasters. All of these people are part of a movement progressing coffee and I felt honored to be a part of each conversation I had with them. Every coffee professional I have met has amazing stories, insight, and wisdom. Coffee people are the shit.

 

I could go on and on about how important and pivotal it is to travel to origin and see coffee produced first hand, but I will save some time and say if you know, you know. I want to focus on what a got from this trip. This was my second origin trip and much different than my first, not an any negative way. Genuine Origin’s main goal was to provide us with insight to the work they are doing at farm level. What they are doing is inspiring. Honduras grows a ton of coffee. 5% of that coffee is specialty coffee, so sad to see because there are some truly remarkable coffees coming from there right now. Genuine Origin’s job is to get that number way up. To do that you need to educate the farmers growing the coffee. You need to convince them to try new farming methods and techniques, to drop their past on generation after generation farming cultures. You need to have them cup their coffees and cup specialty coffees and teach them what good coffee tastes like. This hit home. This is our job at Goshen as well. So how does Genuine Origin complete such a task? Simple answer: hard work. Complex answer: They have “model farms” that farmers visit to see every process from seedling to final cup, done properly. I witnessed coffee seedlings placed in two different sized grow sacks to show that plant yield can double in the same amount of grow time in a larger grow sack. We traveled up a long bumpy dirt road to see where the coffee goes to get planted. Coffees about 9 months old stand about mid thigh height in perfectly straight lines spaced 18 inches apart from one another. The rows go for what looks like forever. A beautiful painting brought to life. The coffee plants do not have cherries yet, just the most green of green leaves I have ever seen. We travel up an even more bumpy and dirtier road to see an even bigger hillside full of coffee ripe with fruit. These plants are much taller now. Almost head heigh, some have deep red fruit, some have green unripe fruit, and some have stunning white flowers smelling of jasmine on them. This was an exemplary farm and every aspect is thoroughly thought about. Farmers are taken here to show them what their farm could become. A goal. How hard work and smart farming can produce great coffee that can be sold for a higher price. For those farmers deep in the mountains without transportation, Genuine Origin travels to them. They have a pimped out mobile cupping truck they bring directly to the farmer. They will taste their coffee and other specialty coffees with the farmer. They will then offer suggestions on how to produce better coffee and work with them to do so. So Damn. They educate the educators. 

The trip was not a buying trip. That was also a big difference. We tasted coffees, but not with the intention of purchasing. I liked this. Everyone on our trip was there for good coffee, we all wanted the best coffee, no question. With this factor off the table I found it easier to focus on the message Genuine Origin was presenting us. But that was me and with that being said, most people want to buy coffee on an origin trip. People want the story, they want the amazing coffee with the first hand story. Hell, who wouldn’t? So, as a perk of being a part of this trip Genuine Origin offered everyone on the trip the first samples of this years harvest. A kind of, if you like it you better take it before we make them available for everyone kind of thing. It would be a few months before samples would arrive. That’s okay, I would be riding a life high for a while when the trip ended anyways.

 

Rewind to beginning May 2017 and I received an email letting me know Genuine Origin had selected 13 coffees from Honduras for this years harvest. They would be receiving 9 of them first. I quickly made arrangements with Tony to cup the first 9 the following week.

 

Rewind to May 19 2017 to a cupping lab located off of Cherokee Street in St. Louis with Tony Auger. The room smells of mixed berry pastries with only ground coffee in sight. Good sign. Hot water is added to the endless army of coffee filled glasses. The table was a remarkable representation of how coffees from the same country can have drastically different flavor profiles. I swear Tony had put an Ethiopia, Congo, and Colombia on the table, but no. Just all fantastic tasting coffees from Honduras. We saw a clear stand out on the table. A coffee from the Marimba Reserve produced by Alfredo Nolazco. I thought it tasted like a blue raspberry gummy candy. And if you did not know, I freaking love candy. Out of excitement and fear that some other coffee roaster could experience this magical coffee we secured the entire lot. To be exact, 975 pounds of this coffee is on our way via boat right now.

 

Fast forward to mid June 2017 and we should be enjoying this coffee together.

 

Special thank you to Genuine Origin for your tireless effort to bring better coffee to the market.

 

Argus Keppel

Co-owner

Goshen Coffee Co.

Pickers with a days worth of coffee cherries.

Pickers with a days worth of coffee cherries.

In the thick of La Lesquinada

In the thick of La Lesquinada

Sunset

Sunset

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INTENTION

INTENTION


What drives you?

Less than 5 years ago I was laughed out of a coffee shop for not knowing how to cup coffee, turned expensive coffees into charcoal on a regular basis, and thought espresso was a type of coffee bean. I was put in charge of a roasting operation doing 50,000 pounds a year with no training in business and very little roasting experience. I worked 12 hour days roasting, packaging, and delivering coffee with no clue at any point on what to do next. All I knew is I had to do better every day. I've had relationships suffer from my obsessive quest and have come to the point of madness more times than I would care to admit. I've watched former friends/co-workers quit to leave for other coffee companies or more money in "suitable" jobs. I have watched power houses in the coffee industry simply vanish and become born again real-estate agents driving minivans. The coffee industry asks more than most are willing to give. Then why do myself and so many others subject themselves to this inhumane treatment? I believe it is because we have found intention.
The coffee industry attracts the obsessives, the creatives, the misfits. Troubled, misunderstood, highly intelligent. Like the lost boys of coffee who found their own version of Never Never Land. These are people I surround myself with now and I have learned you are absolutely everything you surround yourself with.
Six month before I started working for Goshen Coffee I spent 33 days in jail when my past caught up with me. I lived a life I was not proud of and my life was driven by fear. I needed coffee to find me. Fast forward to the present: Goshen Coffee has had a top 3 placing in Brewer's Cup, multiple Best Espressos, and numerous roasting competitions. We have managed to double our roasting in 4 years while keeping a staff of 3 people. I have traveled to high mountains of Peru to visit farmers struggling to survive. I now co-own a coffee company. I wake up every morning with intention now. All of this possible because of coffee.
I turned 30 this year and with that have been doing a lot of reflecting on life. Long ponderings over late nights, coffee in hand. I don't beat myself up over the "what ifs" or "I should haves" anymore. I've worked really hard to get where I am and found a fire and passion in me much greater than I could have imagined. This magical elixir opened my eyes to a whole new world. Coffee gave me intention.

-ARGUS