This is our first blog since we’ve been back in Ireland and lots of exciting things have happened since then. We started exploring the possibility of setting up a coffee roasting business during our time in Colombia and were thrilled to finally launch Carrow Coffee Roasters and start selling our coffee bags at local markets and shops throughout Sligo last November. And the response has been very positive! We plan to bring you regular insights and stories about the coffees we’re roasting on this page, so stay tuned! This month we have two new coffees, a bright Colombian and a fruity Rwandan, both light roasted and recommended for filter.
We are delighted to have our first Colombian coffee for sale, a country where we lived for four years and travelled extensively. This coffee is a blend of micro-lots from several small farms located in the area of Bruselas and Pitalito in the Huila region, Southern Colombia. It displays wonderful grape-like acidity and juicy notes that remind us of greengages, with a sweet finish of ‘panela’ – the unrefined cane sugar produced throughout Colombia.
The bean varieties are called castillo and caturra, both typical of Colombia. The former was developed by the Colombian Coffee Federation’s scientific unit to resist coffee leaf rust (roya), a fungus that has decimated many plantations throughout Latin America by eating coffee leaves.
Huila isn’t one of Colombia’s traditional coffee-producing regions, but thanks to increased planting and improved farming techniques it is now Colombia’a largest beans producer. And it’s not all about volume, as several winners in the Colombia Cup of Excellence in recent years come from Huila.
The Rwandan is bursting with mandarin juiciness and more subtle floral notes with a distinctive taste of sweet tobacco on the finish. The mouthful is creamy and smooth.
The beans come from several small farmers in the Nyamasheke District in Western Province that borders Lake Kivu, an area we visited some years ago on the Congolese side of the lake. The coffee variety is bourbon, originally from the island of Réunion and today prevalent in Rwanda.
The country’s coffee industry was decimated during the 1994 genocide but since then the country has made a concerted effort to focus on higher-grade specialty coffee with considerable success, inspiring Burundi to replicate the model.
If you would like to read more on this we can recommend the following books: ‘God in a Cup’ by journalist M. Weissman and ‘The World Altas of Coffee’ by coffee expert J. Hoffmann.
As we are still building our online shop, please drop us an email if you would like to order some coffee (firstname.lastname@example.org).