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Coffee That Connects: Cafe Campesino’s Georgia Organics Blend

Cafe Campesino's Nema Etheridge and Bill Harris visit Georgia Organics headquarters in Atlanta with farmers Antonio Ruiz (third from left) of the Chiapas, Mexico-based Maya Vinic and  Mario Lopez (second from right) of El Salvador's Las Marias 93 cooperative in September.   Mario and Antonio were visiting Cafe Campesino for the Southeast premiere of "Connected by Coffee," a documentary that details the histories and struggles of their respective coffee producing cooperatives.

Cafe Campesino’s Nema Etheridge and Bill Harris visit Georgia Organics headquarters in Atlanta with farmers Antonio Ruiz (third from left) of the Chiapas, Mexico-based Maya Vinic and Mario Lopez (second from right) of El Salvador’s Las Marias 93 cooperative in September. Mario and Antonio were visiting Cafe Campesino for the Southeast premiere of “Connected by Coffee,” a documentary that details the histories and struggles of their respective coffee producing cooperatives.

Call us biased, but Cafe Campesino’s Georgia Organics blend is a real hit at GO HQ, especially on cold, bleary-eyed mornings like the ones we’re gearing up for as winter rolls in. This coffee is a great way to wake up, and it’s also a great way to support our work—Cafe Campesino donates 10 percent of every pound purchased to us, but from now until the end of the year they’re upping that donation to 20 percent! (Did we mention how much the coffee lover in your life will dig this medium roast, fair trade blend? And that the holidays are coming up? Cool, just wanted to make sure.)

You can buy the Georgia Organics blend here, and read on as Cafe Campesino’s Sales & Marketing Manager Nema Etheridge fills us in on the wonders of coffee flavor profiles, as well as how our blend plays into Cafe Campesino’s mission to support small-scale organic farmers worldwide as well as in their own backyard.

Could you describe the Georgia Organics blend?
Yes! I’m drinking it right now. This an easy-to-drink coffee that has a medium body with a fresh, sweet taste and a fruity acidity. As it cools off, it becomes increasingly sweet and tangy. It’s a blend of Sumatra, roasted at a Viennese roast (which is on the darker side), Nicaragua Medium roast and Colombia Medium roast. These coffees are produced by farmer-owned cooperatives—Fondo Paez in Colombia, Cecocafen in Nicaragua and Permata Gayo in Sumatra, Indonesia. We have been sourcing from these guys for many years—in the case of Cecocafen, more than 12 years, Fondo Paez 10 years and Permata Gayo about 5 years, so we’ve seen their coffees change and improve over the years.

Why did you select each component for this blend?
I didn’t select these components—this was a long-standing blend before I started working with Cafe Campesino in 2008. But I suspect that the blend was chosen to offer both body and nice acidity and was developed for a certain flavor profile—something that’s a great “first cup” of the day, not too smokey, not too light, but just a great, well balanced cup of coffee.

Sometimes blend components will change to match a certain flavor profile, or due to a roaster’s access to a given coffee, and sometimes a blend will stay true to its original origin components. Sumatran coffees are well known for offering body and, once-upon-a-time, an earthy taste to a cup. Now Sumatrans have become a lot “cleaner,” meaning that some of the defects that existed in the green coffee (that created an earthy flavor) have increasingly been removed from Sumatrans. So as farmers have responded to the demand for cleaner, brighter, more acidic coffee, the flavor profile of Sumatran coffees—or at least the ones we source—has evolved from earthy to a brighter, more acidic coffee. It still retains that body, though, so it offers nice acidity and a bit of texture to the coffee.

Our Nicaraguans generally taste a bit nutty and the Colombian offers sweet acidity. The combination is really a delightful brew that (in my opinion) improves as it cools off a bit.

What’s your favorite way to prepare this coffee?
You know, it depends. I always like the strength and clarity of flavor that you get out of a pour over like a Hario or Chemex, for example, but I associate this coffee with Georgia Organics events like the annual conference or the fruit tree sale that y’all used to run before ALFI started managing it. So, I really like this coffee in a commercial pour-over setting- the way you would get a drip coffee at any coffee shop- brewed in a Bunn or Fetco machine. I think it’s delightfully satisfying and tasty. But.. there’s also a healthy dose of nostalgia mixed in with that, too…

How does this blend play into Café Campesino’s mission and values?
I think it brings our coffee world full circle. To be able to offer a coffee that comes from small-scale organic farmers working tirelessly in remote, rural coffeelands that supports small-scale organic farmers working tirelessly here at home, is a way for us connect the dots in this big, often disconnected international economy. When you think of being able to introduce coffee farmers in Guatemala to farmers in Georgia…the world becomes a lot smaller, and in some ways, much more meaningful. It’s a blend of solidarity. It remembers and honors the all too often forgotten small-scale farmer. That’s kind of what we’re all about- treating people with respect and dignity from crop-to-cup.

What’s the most interesting culinary use for coffee that you’ve heard of besides brewing it as a beverage? (We’ve seen coffee barbecue sauces and vinaigrettes on menus lately.)
Hmm.. well there was that whole diet pill thing that I think has since been debunked that used green coffee in its components. That was kind of crazy. There were also those test chips out earlier this summer by I think Lay’s that were supposed to be cappuccino chips. (Lots of fat sugar and coffee-type taste. Yes I tried them). But when it comes to real, roasted coffee… I’m not sure if I have a “most interesting” culinary use. We’ve collected a lot of recipes over time from savory meatballs, to coffee pecap pies, to Irish Coffee Pudding.. I don’t know if one is more interesting than any other. It seems kind of natural to me, to use coffee in everything. See if you find one you like the best. http://www.cafecampesino.com/Articles.asp?ID=187

Is four cups of coffee a day too much? Do we have a problem?
Nope. Try working at a roastery….that’s a adjacent to a coffee shop…

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