When sourcing coffee for our blends, it’s important to keep the blend consistent. Blends are meant to be the backbone of a coffee menu; something that can hit a broad flavor profile time and time again. There are so many factors that go into creating a consistent “flavor” in an end cup of coffee (roast, grind, dose, brew method, water, etc.) but the first step in that process is sourcing the raw coffee beans. Whenever possible, we try to source the same coffees for our blends year over year to help maintain that consistency. Since 2012 we’ve been using a washed coffee from El Salvador as one of the main components in our house blends, La Cordillera and Spice Island and we’ve sourced this coffee from the El Carmen Estate.
Owned by the Alfaro family, El Carmen was founded in the middle of the 19th century and is currently run by Fernando Alfaro, the 4th generation to run the estate. Metropolis has visited this farm and milling operation 4 times since 2012 to learn more about how they operate their farms, cup different lots and see first-hand how they operate their business. Similar to any customer of ours coming to see our warehouse and see the roasting and production process, these visits allow us a behind-the-scenes view of everything that happens to the coffee it before it reaches our warehouse in Chicago.
Beneficio El Carmen is a great example of what we’re aiming for in all our coffee sourcing. The coffee they supply us is clean, consistent, delicious and predictable and it’s something we’ve been able to depend on year over year to fit our blend profile. In addition to being super friendly, warm and wonderful people to deal with on a personal and business level, the Alfaros are super meticulous with lot separation and processing at their mill. They focus heavily on quality control at the farm and processing level and its clear to us that they’re as committed and passionate about the growing and processing of coffee as we are about roasting, brewing and drinking it. Seeing this attention to detail and commitment to quality first-hand helps us feel confident in our decision to purchase such large volumes of their coffee and know that the product will be consistent and predictable.
This is a really great example of a relationship coffee we have. Assuming the qualities of the coffee remain consistent from year to year this is a coffee we absolutely intend to keep buying large volumes of. It’s a mutually beneficial relationship as we can count on a solid, well scoring, high-volume coffee to keep our blend profile consistent and El Carmen can count on us coming back every year and purchasing a large volume of their coffee at a consistent, fair price that they can depend on and help them plan for their business needs.