Thank you to everyone who signed up for our monthly Surprise subscription box! We hope that you like the Surprise in your boxes and we can't wait for you to start brewing the coffees that our roasters have curated.
As shared in your welcome letter, we will be updating this blog monthly with the details of the coffees inside your box.
For the month of December, we have two coffees: Hartmann Estate from Panama, as well as Pa-O from Myanmar. If you have been following us for a while, you might have tried other coffees from these farms.
Hartmann Estate, Panama
Helmed by Ratibor Hartmann, a third-generation coffee producer, the Hartmann Estate is a family business. It consists of 2 farms – Santa Clara Finca Hartmann and Ojo de Agua, located between 1,300 and 2,000 metres above sea level with nearly 100 hectares of forest reserves bordering on the Parque Nacional de La Amistad.
The farm was founded in 1950 by Ratibor Hartmann Sr., who is now retired. Today, the estate is now helmed by Ratibor Hartmann Jr., as well as his four siblings, with each sibling is in charge of a specific operation on the farm. For the Hartmann family, every harvest is an opportunity to explore, refine and push the boundaries of coffee processing.
The Hartmann Estate promotes sustainability at the farm, with shade-grown coffee and a focus on preserving wildlife and the lush rainforest. Rather than clearing the land and exploiting it for commercial production, they aim to preserve the unique micro-climate and fertile soil. These, combined with their focus on advanced techniques and processing methods, produces the highest quality coffees.
We have visited Hartmann Estate on multiple occasions and seen how the processing has developed over the years, and this is one of our favourites. The Winey process is where very ripe cherries - that are left to ripen slightly more than usual - are picked and sorted, with the fruity ‘pulp’ left intact and left to dry on African raised beds. The end result is a very fruit-forward cup, with a full body and notes not unlike wine.
The Pa-O tribe is one of the ethnic tribes of the Shan State in Myanmar. Legend has it that the people of Pa-O are descendants of a dragon and an alchemist named Zawgyi. Traditionally isolated from the outside world, they have their own language and traditions, like many other tribes in Myanmar.
In recent years, Behind The Leaf Coffee was started to educate the Pa-O tribe on growing and processing specialty coffee. All these helped to improve the tribe's standard of living, allowing them to earn a fair wage. During the harvest season, coffee cherries are picked and processed on the same day to ensure freshness. Their drive for quality has seen their coffee receiving a cup score between 85-87 points in recent competitions.
In honey-processed coffees, coffee cherries are first depulped and left to dry with some mucilage on. This mucilage is a sticky layer that coats the coffee seed, typically yellow in color, hence the term "honey". The amount of mucilage determines how much fermentation occurs, in turn giving the cup more sweetness and body, along with fruit-forward flavors. With varying amounts of mucilage and drying times, the coffee may be termed differently, ranging from white honey, to yellow, gold, red, and black honey.
The darker the honey, the more work is required to prevent over-fermentation or mold. Therefore, a black-honey coffee is the most labor-intensive and in certain cases, the more expensive types of honey-process. In this case, the Pa-O Black Honey was processed meticulously, resulting in a clean cup without over-ferment notes.
Now that you have read about your coffees, it's time to start brewing!
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