Quarterly Coffee Update: January–March 2023

  • Illustration of a map highlighting the countries we source coffee.

The coffee harvest is complete in the Southern Hemisphere. Local conditions have delayed some of our final shipments out of Colombia and Peru, but many of these coffees have arrived and are tasting great on our menu. Coffees from Bolivia, Ecuador, Rwanda, and DRC are just around the corner. Mpemba is here and tasting phenomenal. In the Northern Hemisphere, Ugandan coffees are hitting the water while producers in Ethiopia and Kenya are wrapping up their harvests. We’ll be approving those coffees next month in anticipation of exports February-April. The early harvest is underway in Mexico and Central America. Higher quality coffees will harvest in February, and we’ll be vetting samples then in anticipation of a menu shift in May.

El Salvador: Harvesting

The harvest is still underway in El Salvador and coffees should be ready to taste within the next month. Coffee buyer Alex will be traveling there to meet with our producer partners in mid-February.

Ethiopia: Harvesting

Photo of the Idido washing station in Ethiopia with a banner out that reads, "Idido primary cooperative washed coffee processing site waste water filter vetivar project made with support from Counter Culture Coffee."

Ethiopia is finishing up their harvest season and we're in the midst of contracting these coffees. We had a chance to visit partners Idido, Haru, and Jabanto in Yirgacheffe in early December and the harvest was just getting into full swing. Compared to last year, quality is expected to be better due to the beneficial weather. Producers and exporters are dealing with extremely high costs which are impacting everyone in the value chain, though high cherry prices are an upside for farmers in the near term.

We should start seeing washed and sundried single-origin coffees in our roastery late spring. You should see them on our menu in late Q2/early Q3.

Guatemala: Harvesting

Alex will be traveling to visit CODECH who produces Concepcion Huista in mid-February. The coffee will be on our menu in June.

Honduras: Harvesting

Early shipments from Honduras will begin in February and run through May. Coffee from our partners are expected to be released in Q2.

Kenya: Harvesting

Producers are starting to deliver coffees to their mill of choice and we are working with marketing agents to coordinate sampling. We'll be cupping these coffees in the next month, making our purchasing decisions, and then negotiating volumes and prices with producers before working with marketing agents to facilitate export.

Kushikamana blend along with three or four single-farmer lots are expected to be released in Q2.

Mexico: Harvesting

Producers have started harvesting in Chiapas and Oaxaca, Mexico. The quality of coffee will be better in February and our export partners will start purchasing our lots then. We are expecting a Q2 release.

Nicaragua: Harvesting

Ripe coffee cherries growing on a coffee plant.

In Northern Nicaragua, peak harvest at the highest elevation farms is just beginning. Early shipments will begin in February and run through May with releases beginning in late Q2.

Uganda: Exporting/Afloat

Our first coffees are heading to Djibouti for export. Expected release for our Ugandan coffees in Q2.

Costa Rica: Harvesting

This will be our first time purchasing coffee from Costa Rica in quite some time. We're purchasing a small blender lot as a bit of an experiment to see how a new supplier executes this harvest. These will likely be used in our year-round products.

Yemen: Harvesting

We should see fresh crop samples in March. Mokha Story is also beginning construction on a water well that Counter Culture Coffee helped fund with a Seeds grant.

Panama: Harvesting

Harvest is underway at Finca Nuguo. We should expect to see our lot arrive in early Q3.

Bolivia: Exporting/Afloat

For the first time in nearly a decade Counter Culture will be buying more than one container of coffee from our partners at CENAPROC! CENAPROC's coffee Nueva Llusta should be available in late March or early April.

Burundi: Arrived + Roasting

Washed and natural lots from the Kazoza N'Ikawa cooperative have landed and are tasting phenomenal. East and West coast roasteries will release Mpemba and Mpemba Natural Sundried in Q1.

Southern Colombia: Arrived + Roasting

Most of these coffees have arrived but we have a few stragglers currently exporting. Recent landslides in Cauca shut down the Pan-American highway, disrupting the flow of goods between the south and the center of the country. While not currently affecting the flow of our coffee, it's the result of a year of unrelenting rain that has caused complications in the coffee sector overall. We will be cycling through different single-origin lots from Nariño throughout Q1 and Q2.

Democratic Republic of the Congo: Exporting/Afloat

Preparations for the upcoming harvest are underway. Both washed and natural lots from the Muungano cooperative will land in early February and we hope to begin selling Buchiro coffees in March and April depending on arrival quality.

Ecuador: Exporting/Afloat

These coffees will arrive by the end of January and will be hitting our menu soon after. The first arrival from Ecuador, Fundochamba, is currently going into Field Trip. Eladio Chamba will hit the West Coast menu by the end of Q1 with Abel Salinas and Charapanos slotted for East Coast release.

Papua New Guinea: Arrived + Roasting

We have a visit planned for this summer to shore up this relationship and work towards improved drying practices. Baroida is on the menu and Boka will be the next single-origin coffee from Papua New Guinea in late Q1/early Q2. West coast is releasing Baroida in early February.

Peru: Arrived + Roasting

All lots from Origin Coffee Lab have arrived. Cenfrocafe has experienced shipping delays due to the political unrest in the country, but shipments are beginning to move again. This means Valle del Santuario will not be released until Q2 depending on quality on arrival. Overall, quality was great this year, though high local prices and competition for coffee created challenges for cooperatives and private exporters.

Most of our single-origin lots have already arrived with La Viuda being sold on the West coast and East coast. Q1 and Q2 will see some single-farmer releases, including a single-farmer natural sundried coffee. 

We'll see our partners highlighted throughout the winter as we roll through Valle Inca, Incahuasi, and a rare gesha from Lucio Luque.

Rwanda: Exporting/Afloat

Export season is ending and many farms and washing stations are beginning preparation for the next harvest which begin in February or March in the lower to mid elevation zones. Our container from Rwanda saw some severe delays and is not scheduled to arrive until late February, one to two months later than we expected. Historically these coffees hold up well so we intend to sell Remera, Buliza, and Intango depending on arrival quality.

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