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Chris Colbran of Baroida in the Eastern Highlands of Papua New Guinea.Theme

Kudos to the Colbrans

This week, we’ll taste and celebrate the first roasts of this year’s Baroida and Tairora from the Eastern Highlands region of Papua New Guinea.

Style of Tasting

Brew Two

As we only have two coffees and they come from the same place, I suggest brewing them both through paper and putting the emphasis on the farm and the freshness of these two lots, as opposed to the cupping ritual.

Notes on the Coffees

Papua New Guinea is a long way from Durham, NC, and, until we started buying coffee from the Colbran family four years ago, Counter Culture hadn’t had a relationship there last more than a year or two. We persisted in trying to find a foothold there because the geography, climate, and varieties are all excellent, and we knew the coffees could be excellent, too.

With that history in mind, we feel extra appreciation for the relationship that we have built with Chris Colbran and his family since 2010—which was the first year they ventured into marketing their coffee directly to buyers instead of selling it to an exporter to blend. The coffee we purchase from their farm, Baroida, and the surrounding Tairora tribe are consistently great and only getting better as the family continues to refine their work.

Though they come from similar geography and varieties, Baroida has typically been more savory and fuller in body than Tairora, which seems true again this year. It’s early yet, though, and this is our first tasting, so please do share your feedback and questions now and as we continue to taste this coffee in the months to come.

Rollout Dates and Availability

Baroida and Tairora roll out on Monday and, between this first container and the late-harvest lots that will arrive in a month or so, we have a good volume of both. Thank goodness for that, too, because we count on these coffees to get us through the dark days of winter and into the springtime, when we begin to anticipate the return of coffees from the northern hemisphere.

Each week throughout August, via a Sustainable Summer Facebook group, we'll offer suggestions for little things we can all do to challenge climate change and conserve resources.Part of what we love most about summer is the time we get to relax outdoors, slow down from life's hectic pace, and reflect on the months gone by. This August we invite you to put that relaxed, reflective mood to good use by making small, positive changes to your everyday habits, and living a little greener before the leaves turn brown.

Each week throughout August, via a Sustainable Summer Facebook group, we'll offer suggestions for little things we can all do to challenge climate change and preserve our natural resources. By tackling habits in the areas of Home, Work, Leisure, Transportation, and Food, we'll see firsthand how big an impact even small actions can make.

Participants will have the chance to enter raffles for great prizes (including coffee, tea, and chocolate) as a reward for green deeds done well; together, we'll end the month by celebrating sustainability with organic snacks, lively conversation, and a panel discussion about climate change and the future. (Of course, there will also be plenty of coffee.)

Join us, as well as our friends at Rishi Tea, Taza Chocolate, King Arthur Flour, and TS Designs, as we send this summer out with a sustainable bang! Take the pledge at on Facebook or e-mail us for more information.

Good works, good cheer, and great coffee. Our 2012 Holiday Blend!
Each year at holiday time, we create a special, limited-edition coffee dedicated to celebration and good cheer, made especially for holiday mornings and special occasions. We then donate a dollar per pound sold to a special charitable project in the place the coffee was grown, completing the cycle of good works, good cheer, and great coffee. This year, we're using coffees crafted especially for us in Southern Ethiopia and dedicating proceeds to educational projects there.
The blend for 2012 honors Ethiopia's coffee history and diversity of flavors, as well as the third year of our relationship with the Yirgacheffe Coffee Farmer Cooperative Union (YCFCU) in Yirgacheffe, Ethiopia, by featuring coffee from multiple member communities from within this large co-op.
Donations from our 2012 Holiday Blend will fund a two-day workshop for agronomists, technicians, washing station managers, and growers from YCFCU – and other cooperatives in the region – on organic compost and good agricultural practices, as well as supporting a pilot worm compost project in one of the member communities that can be replicated in others.
Kim Elena
In recent years, we've increased our focus on coffee seasonality to the point that we roast each year's harvest of a coffee for about 6 months after it arrives, then eagerly await it next year. With the return of Finca Nueva Armenia a few weeks ago, coffees have begun to arrive from the northern hemisphere, and the next few weeks and months will bring an incredible influx.
Coffee Buyer & Quality Manager Tim Hill posted an update about upcoming coffees along with relevant photos on flickr, sharing his unique insight into coffees as varied as a Finca El Puente Yellow Catuai Microlot from Honduras to a Thiriku Peaberry lot from Kenya. These northern hemisphere arrivals reflect the amazing breadth of coffees (sometimes from a single farm) made possible by the long-term relationships our coffee department works to strengthen each year, as well as by their persistent pursuit of new and exciting coffees.
Perennial favorites like Finca Mauritania and Idido Natural Sundried are on their way, along with soon-to-be favorites like Las Milpas and a tiny 400 pound lot of Santa Elena Kenya Type Microlot. Read Tim's coffee update on flickr for details.
POSTED IN: coffee, seasonality
In May of 2008, Counter Culture Coffee’s Sustainability Committee undertook the project of encouraging employees to use alternative transportation or carpool to and from our headquarters here in Durham. One-person-per-car commuting is, unfortunately, still the default for most of our local employees (reflecting the under-funded public transportation program in the area), but we recognize the inherent unsustainability of that model even for a small company like ours.

In addition to looking for ways to make our company’s footprint a little smaller, we also want to make sustainability appealing, and a project like this not only fits our environmental sustainability mission by reducing our staff’s fuel consumption, it also furthers our fiscal sustainability goals by saving commuters cash on fuel. We set a company-wide goal of achieving a 2000-mile reduction in commuter driving miles by riding the bus, biking, carpooling, and telecommuting, with the promise of a party when we reached the goal.

Three months later, we did it! We reached the 2000-mile mark during the last week in August and celebrated our achievement last Friday afternoon with ice cream purchased from our friends at Maple View Dairy in Hillsborough, NC. And because sustainability is about constant improvement, we set a new goal to improve upon our performance and make a 2000-mile reduction in miles driven in two months instead of three!

Kim Elena

POSTED IN: seasonality