Finca El PuenteWe will focus all of our attention this week on welcoming this year’s lot of Finca El Puente from Marcala, Honduras, into our coffee lineup.
Style of Tasting
Brewing RodeoFinca El Puente’s coffee is one that I recommend often to people new to Counter Culture and our coffees, in large part because its flavors are forgiving of brewing methods that might not meet our standards. Some of the more delicate aspects—characteristics we call purple, for example—may be lost in a twenty-year-old Krups, but we have the means in our training centers to highlight nuances and differences. You have two bags of the coffee, so dig in to brewers and recipes, and test as many ideas as your crowd has patience to taste.
Notes on the CoffeesEvery year, when it comes time to tell the story of Finca El Puente, I wonder how to balance what’s new (or at least, new in the past year) with the years that preceded this one and keep the story to fewer than a thousand words. It’s easy to get carried away when talking about this coffee because it’s a perfect example of the kind of coffee that helps people understand and trust Counter Culture: it’s very good coffee without being inordinately complex in flavor, it’s consistent from year to year and, not for nothing, almost all of us know the farmers responsible for creating it.
I hope that most of you had a chance to attend at least one of last October’s Variety Show events in our training centers and to spend time with Moisés and Marysabel, who are two of the most gracious and generous people in the coffee industry. They have been great friends to us ever since we began buying their coffee in 2006, but in the early years they seemed most happy doing what they had always done. Often, these weekly dispatches include a comment about the challenges of introducing new ideas to smallholder farmers, and though Finca El Puente isn’t so small, coffee farming is still risky enough without introducing experiments that they were hesitant to mess with what seemed to be working just fine. We never stopped pitching ideas, and because we balanced asking for new things with our commitment to do a really good job buying and marketing their coffee, Moisés eventually let his guard down. Once he let himself embrace unusual varieties, East African processing methods and organic agriculture techniques, momentum began to build and now, well, he grows seventeen varieties and executes at least one new idea every year (including something really amazing this year, which will be coming in the second shipment and about which I will keep you in suspense another month or so).
We feel very fortunate to have Moisés and Marysabel as collaborators who trust our ideas, feel comfortable challenging us, have the financial means to take risks, participate enthusiastically in the international coffee community and value the opportunity to connect with our staff and customers. It all keeps getting better every year and with the experience we have, we know better than to take that for granted. Raise your cups to another great year of Finca El Puente!