New Top-Shelf Coffee: El Eden, Guerrero, Mexico

It’s that wonderfully exciting time again! With changes in season come changes in the coffees we have available from different regions of the world. Over the next month, the Quills roasting team will be rolling out four new coffees- rounding out what will be (if you ask us anyway) our most dynamic and interesting coffee lineup ever. 

These new coffees represent everything we work for at Quills: dedication, creativity, passion and so much more. So now that you are desperately intrigued, let’s get to the stories. We begin today with our newest “Top Shelf” coffee- from the unlikely land of Mexico.

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“This non-traditional Mexican coffee is a testament to the co-op dedication. From individual member separation in the processing, to hand-sorting of the final product and their organic growth practices, this coffee represents everything we aspire to achieve with our venture. This is also a historically volatile region of the country, so to see what the co-op has achieved is even more impressive. ”
— Roberto Delgado, Tiger Orchid Coffee Company

Last summer- as Quills started to gain some momentum in the roasting world- we began to dream about opportunities to connect with farmers and their stories more closely, whether through our current major importer Cafe Imports - or through some strategic new relationships.

We had hardly done much searching of our own before Roberto Delgado of Tiger Orchid Coffee walked through our doors. He came telling inspiring stories of his small, start-up company and its dedication to working for a few key under-resourced farmers in Mexico. Delgado, A Mexico native himself, sought to start small with just three relationships with small farms & co-ops in three regions of Mexico. His aim was to simplify and shorten the links in the typical distribution chain between a coffee roaster and the farmers who produce it, his venture serving as the only point in-between. You can learn more about his vision at his site  but we'll summarize it in a few words: Relationship is key for farmers and roasters to be mutually successful.

In his search for farmers who would share his passion for these relationships, and his commitment to the ongoing pursuit of and investment in top-notch coffee quality, Delgado discovered the El Eden Co-op in the Guerrero state of Mexico. What he found in this remote, under-resourced area (one long stifled by poverty, violence and drugs) were farmers with profound dedication to producing great coffee and changing their community.

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Years ago the state coffee association in Guerrero encouraged farmers to adopt a natural process for their coffees in order to differentiate them from the more typical wash coffees of Mexico from areas such as Chiapas. But this would mean a costly investment for farmers. The natural (dry) process requires layers of extra work and dedication to detail in order to prevent inconsistencies or defects in the coffee. You can learn the lengthier details of this dry process here , but essentially what distinguishes this method from others is that the coffee seed dries in the cherry rather than being immediately removed and washed. While a more difficult and time-consuming method for many farmers, the results - when performed well- can be marvelous. And that is most definitely the case with this coffee from El Eden.

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In the cup we find intense, perfume-like floral aromatics delivered on an incredibly smooth body with a creamy texture. This is balanced with a pleasant, lively acidity and a deep, mixed berry finish that can only be achieved in a well-processed natural coffee. It will be available at Quills via V60 or Chemex and will make a great iced option this summer. We are confident that this selection is well worth the price bump required in order for you to enjoy this coffee and support what’s happening with Roberto and these exciting farms. Strengthening these kind of relationships is one of the major reasons we introduced our “Top Shelf” line earlier this year.

El Eden is available now in all of our cafés and web store. In fact, we will be featuring it in our webstore, on sale at 20% off for a limited time, today through July 11. Give it a try!