02/07/2014

Text Post
Read More

Caravela Coffee is moving down the street.  We are leaving Carrboro and moving to Chapel Hill.

As of February 1, 2014, Caravela Coffee has a new address:

Caravela Coffee

601 W. Rosemary St.

Suite 215

Chapel Hill, NC 27516

Please update your records to reflect our new address.  Feel free to stop by and visit us if you are in the Research Triangle region of North Carolina.

Caravela Coffee

106C S. Greensboro St.

Carrboro, NC 27510

t: 919.636.5861

f: 919.338.8084

www.caravelacoffee.com

01/13/2014

Text Post
Read More
Big Eastern Coffee Cupping Big Eastern Coffee Cupping

Big Eastern Coffee Cupping

01/03/2014

Text Post
Read More

In 2013, Virmax started an initiative to develop a specialty coffee program in Nicaragua.  We started with 2 departments that are known for their quality of coffee: Jinotega and Nueva Segovia, located in the north of Nicaragua.  With much enthusiasm, we visited producers in the Dipilto-Jalapa mountain range, a region that has optimal conditions for specialty coffee.  With altitudes ranging  between 1,200 and 1,800 meters above sea level and varieties such as Caturra, Red Catuai, Maracaturra, Maragogype and Bourbon, the quality potential of this area is huge. Add to those growing conditions producers willing to learn and do what is necessary to improve the quality of their coffee, and you’ve got a gold mine.

During the 2013 harvest, we had the opportunity to cup lots delivered by producers from Dipilto, Mozonte, Cerro de la Explosión, Nubarrones and other communities in Nueva Segovia. We were able to find a wide variety of cup profiles, most of them rich in floral, citric acidity and, of course, excellent sweetness.  At the same time, we realized that there there was a lot more potential, but that to achieve full potential  it was necessary to improve harvesting practices as well as wet and dry milling processes.

image

For the 2014 harvest, we have been educating our producing partners about managing the harvest and on wet milling and dry milling best-practices.  We have hired and trained 10 “promotores” who constantly provide producers with on-the-ground advisory services, educating them on the best strategies and practices to produce high quality coffee.  The objective of the coffee quality promotores is to assure that all of the lots that these producers deliver to Virmax Nicaragua comply with our strict quality control criteria, that they are high scoring and that the producers are properly compensated for the quality of their product.  Part of the responsibility of the promotores is the supervision of the collection of the coffee cherry and to advise pickers, team leaders and owners of the farms the best practices for picking only the ripest cherries.  They also advise producers on how to improve the conditions of the wet mill to deliver the best product possible.

image

Normally in Nicaragua, the majority of the coffee produced is dried on patios of concrete and plastic, causing a deterioration of the quality which is seen in the physical appearance of the bean as well as tasted in the cup.  We have taken the initiative to renovate an abandoned mill in Ocotal, Nueva Segovia, where we are constructing 5,000 square meters of “Secaderos Nicas” (shaded-raised-bed-drying-structures).  We have renamed this dry mill as “Beneficio La Estrella”.  In this new facility we will offer drying services to the producers with whom we work to assure that the coffee is dried slowly, evenly and progressively, avoiding blazing fast drying by controlling sunlight exposure and high temperatures to protect the bean, which will ensure longevity of the peak flavor of the coffee.

image

“Beneficio La Estrella” is the only beneficio in Nicaragua that can offer shaded drying services with various degrees of shade cover in order to properly profile dry the coffee depending on the weather and the coffee’s moisture level. As of January 3, 2,000 square meters of Secaderos Nicas are already finished and we  estimate that the remaining 3,000 meters will be finished by the end of January, just in time for peak harvest period.

image

We are also moving our laboratory and buying station to Beneficio La Estrella where we are building a fully equipped, professional cupping lab.  We will be performing our quality control analysis on every lot delivered, like we do in all Virmax origin countries.  We expect the lab to be up and running by mid-January.  Our goal is  to begin exporting the first lots by March 2014 with our newly established company, Virmax Nicaragua S.A.

image

According to the promotores, most of the producers in Dipilto and the zone around the Cerro Mogoton will begin picking coffee on January 1.  Producers in Mozonte, Cerro de La Explosión and Nubarrones will begin picking coffee on January 15, 2014.  We expect to have samples beginning to be submitted for quality analysis by the third week in January.

For any of our customers that will be passing through Nicaragua during the 2014 crop, we encourage you to plan on visiting Beneficio La Estrella from February 1 onwards.  By this time, we should have many lots to cup and the beneficio will be fully operational for you to see the new and unique way that we are processing Nicaraguan coffee.

Happy New Year!


Saludos, Virmax Nicaragua.

Caravela Coffee

106C S. Greensboro St.

Carrboro, NC 27510

t: 919.636.5861

f: 919.338.8084

www.caravelacoffee.com

12/27/2013

Text Post
Read More

Hola Amigas y Amigos!

image

We’re back to tell you about some of our latest news… This time we have given the producers a little break and are focusing on another key link in the quality chain which is our fellow local cupper friends.

Earlier in December, we decided to have a small, yet significant, event that focused on sharing insights and ideas with staff working in quality labs from the different companies we have been developing relationships with  these past few years. Why? We truly believe these folks are the catalyst to improving and achieving higher coffee quality levels, as they manage first-hand information regarding overall coffee quality and they have a lot of interaction with the growers.

image

So we sent invitations to our friends from companies in Honduras and El Salvador to gather for a few days in December here in El Salvador, before the crop hits us with tons of samples. We had 6 visitors from 4 companies in Honduras (Beneficio Santa Rosa, Cocafelol, Cocafcal & Café Ventura) plus 2 more from El Salvador (Beneficiadora San Miguel Ingenio and Virmax Mesoamerica).  

image

The event, named VMA Cuppers Retreat 2013, was mostly designed to share experiences and exchange information in an informal setting, mixing hard work and fun times. Some of the topics covered were: cupping protocols, best practices for quality labs, calibration for lab equipment, drying and storage techniques, traceability, sample roasting techniques and cupping exercises.  

image

The Cuppers Retreat was led by Fernando Gómez from Virmax Colombia, with the support from our local staff, plus a guest presentation from the Head Cupper at the Salvadoran Coffee Council, Oscar Machuca. We also scheduled a brief visit to a local mill in Ataco and a farm from one of our partners in Apaneca, in order to share some differences and similarities in the production chain that generated ideas and discussions among the attendees.

image

Overall, we believe we were able to generate interesting discussions that will lead to a better approach and understanding on how local cuppers could have a bigger impact in the quality chain. Some follow up from this event is being discussed at the moment with the staff from each partner organization in order to address specific needs and/or expand specific interests.

image

Needless to say, the event was great, feedback was really positive, so we will definitely try to make it a regular event and hopefully will make it bigger and better next time! Every day we learn, we experience new things, we try different ways, some things change… Virmax Mesoamerica will keep pursuing a core value: Sharing Knowledge.  

image

We want to take this opportunity to thank Virmax Colombia who kindly lent us Fernando to fill the event with his experience and passion. We would also like to thank the Salvadoran Coffee Council and Oscar for his professional presentation and to every company that trusted us and were willing to invest their staff time. Finally to every attendee that gladly accepted the invitation to be part of it, you are all exceptionally amazing people and we are honored to be working with you.

We hope you have Happy Holidays and a wonderful 2014,

With love your friends from,

Virmax Mesoamerica S.A. de C.V.

Caravela Coffee

106C S. Greensboro St.

Carrboro, NC 27510

t: 919.636.5861

f: 919.338.8084

www.caravelacoffee.com

Enjoy this in full screen

Blog Posts by Tag

Suscribe to our RSS Feed