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Blueberry, Cream, Rhubarb
Farm/Washing Station: Dur Feres Blend
Variety: Setami, Mikicho, 74/158, 74/110
Elevation: 5,900 ft
Relational trade via Catalyst Trade
This blend is an effort to pay homage to the first coffees that made us stop, turn our heads, and realize how varied and delicious coffee can truly be. The profile we are aiming for is fruit forward, rich, and clean. Coffees like this are what initiated many of us into the world of specialty coffee. There is no better coffee to use for this blend than our importer, Catalyst's, Dur Feres blend. Usually roasters are working to carefully pre or post blend coffees to accomplish specific profiles. Very rarely do you have an importer intentionally crafting their own green coffee blend. The Dur Feres blend from smallholder farms in the Sidama Region of Ethiopia is exactly what we are looking for with this blend and inventory logistics permitting, what we will source as the mainstay for Homage. To learn not only about Dur Feres but also to scratch the surface of what goes into more sustainable purchasing practices read the note from Catalyst below:
(A note from our importer: Catalyst)
OUR COFFEE SOURCING ETHOS
What is responsible coffee buying? It’s a highly personal definition, and every buyer and company needs to make their own decisions. For Catalyst Trade, responsible coffee buying has a lot of elements. One of these elements is expanding our purchases beyond simply cherry-picking top lots that might win awards for our roasters.
It’s easy enough to take a trip to origin, cup through a bunch of high-scoring lots, and choose a few to bring home. Kind of like going to a candy store and choosing which caramel you want: the salty burnt-sugar kind that sticks to your gums and sings of long dark nights, or the lush milky kind that goes down like butter. In Ethiopia, there are plenty of sparkly 88+ lots to choose from; in fact, we kind of specialize in helping cultivate those top lots with our producing partners and in curating and sharing them. Both we and our partners invest enormous labor and cost into producing these top quality lots. That’s why these coffees win awards right and left.
But once the twenty-five bags of uber-special coffee have been sold, producers are often left with a hundred of bags—often hundreds of bags—of coffee they still have to find a market for. Profitability is often better for those top lots, but they don’t even begin to cover the cost of production for washing stations and farms. For that, producers look to their quality production in the 84-87 point range. Once the candy buyers have left, they still need to find buyers to ensure they can feed their families and keep the ball rolling with their operations.
Flip the coin and look at a coffee roaster. Yes, the sparkly lovely unicorns are FUN but for many roasters, they don’t form the backbone of a healthy sourcing program. We are privileged to work with coffee roasters of all kinds. Many of our roasters have customers who want to grab coffee and sip it while finishing a report, or to share with their Great Aunt Catherine instead of her Yuban. These roasters need a consistent and reliably delicious blend component that is equal parts accessible and mind-expanding. They want coffee that’s drinkable and—when purchased from the retail shelf—economical. Everybody’s thrilled to try some fancy candy once in a while, and some roaster have built their businesses on serving up rainbows in fancy packages. For others, the high quality, value-driven coffees fly off the shelves with their drinkability and value.
In response to both our producers and roasters, we have developed a unique multi-faceted buying program, and we are flying that flag proudly. We specialize in bringing you coffees that will make your customers—or judges at the next coffee competition—sip and take notice. AND we source a near-endless supply of stable, value-driven coffees to give both you and the coffee producers peace of mind and the ability to plan for the future. By taking this action, together we are able to support the full economy of coffee production. We celebrate the colorful and flamboyant top lots—while paying higher premiums for the tasty and steady plots that would otherwise go randomly to the ECX.
Our flagship community lot, Dur Feres, is a coffee we developed by popular demand and with a heck-ton of nostalgia in mind. Founder and Sourcing Director Michael McIntyre came of age as a coffee person in the early aughts when one of the greatest coffees in the world was Mohamed Ogsady’s famed Harar Horse brand (with its iconic cloth label showing a horse silhouetted against the MAO name). Coffee folks everywhere slip into nostalgia when we mention Harar Horse coffee: its thick blueberry puree and chocolate notes took the world by storm in a time when coffees weren’t as distinguished by origin characteristics as we now expect.
With the death of Mohamed Ogsady and the institution of the Ethiopian Commodities Exchange (ECX), the MAO Horse coffee sadly became a thing of the past. However, in 2016 when Michael set out to create a carefully composed in-country blend of selected lots Grades 1, 2, and 3, he knew exactly what he was going for: homage to the great coffee and producers that changed so many lives and defined so many palates, including his own. Our Dur Feres, or “Wild Horse” translated from Amharic, was born.
We source Dur Feres and its sister washed coffee, Tsebel, from the families and communities where we source our highest quality microlots. Dur Feres has the same level of traceability and maintains a steady flavor profile which we ourselves curate using coffees from various regions of Ethiopia as they come ripe. This allows us to keep a fresh crop supply always rotating and gives our roasters the assurance that they can build their sourcing programs around having a constant supply of this coffee at the same price and with the same flavor profile they’ve come to expect.