Conduit Coffee Company, once again, has graced us with a holiday roast and I couldn’t be more excited to be trying their coffee for the first time.
This year, their holiday roast (aptly titled “Holiday Roast”) is a blend of coffees from Kenya, El Salvador, and Mexico.
In I952, farmers first planted coffee trees in Kabare, the location of the Kiang’ombe Kabare Farmers Cooperative Society. Kabare sits in the Gichugu division of the Kirinyaga East district on the Southern slopes of Mount Kenya.The cooperative has ten wet mills: Kiringa, Konyo, Karani, Kiang’ombe, Mukure, Mukengeria, Kimandi, Kathata, Kiangothe and Kiamiciri. Between them, these wet mills have a total membership of 12,335 farmers.
The cooperative is managed by an elected board of nine members, each elected from and representing a different electoral zone. Currently there are 43 permanent members of staff headed by a Secretary Manager who oversees the day-to-day running of the Co-op under the supervision of the board.
Farmers selectively hand pick ripe cherries that are delivered for wet milling the same day. The parchment is then fermented, washed, and sun dried. Dry parchment is milled and bagged at the coffee mills and then transported to the warehouses. The coffee is then sold either through the Nairobi auction or direct to overseas buyers.
el salvador talapo
Finca El Talapo is a coffee from the Pacas family of El Salvador. The family works hard to produce excellent and innovative coffees from their eleven estates. They have been growing their business and positive influence on the region for many generations and have become a very respected name in the specialty coffee industry.
In fact, I very much consider them the First Family of the Salvadoran coffee industry.
Finca El Talapo, a 23 hectare farm situated just to the east of the Ilamatepec Volcano and many native trees fill the gentle slopes, shading the coffee.
The farm is named after the Talapo bird, which is a native bird to the area. Just like tanagers, talapo can be found living among the trees of coffee farms, aiding in the growth and flourishing of coffee.
Many of the fine qualities of this coffee can be attributed to excellent and meticulous growing practices. The trees are pruned at just the right time so that the coffee plants receive 70% of sunlight during the fruits growth period and only 30% during the ripening of the coffee cherry. In other words, the coffee is carefully taken care of for maximum flavor development and our ultimate taste experience.
They also employ conservation practices on the farm such as: planting native Izote plants which prevent soil erosion, as well as digging large ditches that retain excess rain water for moisture retention. The family also plants and protects many endangered native trees to maintain biodiversity in El Salvador.
The farms found amongst Campesinos de la Sierra Madre de Chiapas were all founded between 3 – 4 generations ago. Each generation has worked very hard to preserve their healthy, fertile lands with both coffee production and conservation of the environment in mind. The legacy of previous generations is kept alive to this day by using the basic principles of cultivation while also embracing todays new methods and technologies.
The farmers continue to work towards improving production, creating the best coffee as well as improving the economy and lifestyles amongst those working in the field. Work continues in this direction with the replanting of new disease-resistant varieties, improvements in both the wet mill and dry processing of the coffee and more support towards making investing in production affordable.
The main objective behind this great work is to achieve a fair market price to give a boost to productivity and improve the economic situation for each producer.
Welcome to my Table, here in the corner of this cafe. Today we’re sipping a cup of Holiday Roast, from Conduit Coffee Company in Seattle, Washington. Feel free to pull up a chair.
origin: Kabare, Gichugu, Kirinyaga, Kenya // Canton Lomas de San Marcelino, Santa Ana, El Salvador // Chiapas, Mexico
farm: N/A // Finca El Talapo // N/A
producer(s): smallholder farmers // Maria Pacas // smallholder farmers
assocation: Kabare Cooperative // N/A // Campesinos de la Sierra Madre de Chiapas
elevation: 1750 – 1950 // 1300 // 1200 – 1400 meters above sea level
cultivars: Ruiru 11, SL28, SL34 // Bourbon, Pacas // Typica, Bourbon
process: fully washed, raised bed dried // semi-washed, patio dried // fully washed, patio dried
certifications: standard // standard // organic
In all honesty, I’m kind of surprised by the lack of aroma as I brew this coffee. There are scents of berries, light fruits, and some cocoa powder, but those scents aren’t as potent as I was hoping/expecting. It is a pleasant aroma, albeit faint.
As I take the first few sips of the coffee, my palate is wooed by a wintry medley of flavors; to be honest, I think this is much less a “holiday” roast and much more a “winter” roast because it reflects the season more than the holidays. Wonderful flavors of fig, raisin, and chocolate cake batter float over the tongue and leave behind faint flourishes of almond and bakers spices on the back of the tongue in the finish.
As it cools off, sweet and light fruit flavors flesh themselves out on the palate. Some really beautiful notes of raisin, strawberry milk, plum, grape, pomegranate, juniper, cranberry, and melon that are all washed away with a sharp, zesty grapefruit acidity that leaves behind a clean, tangy aftertaste in the finish.
Medium body; creamy mouthfeel; citrus acidity; clean finish.
the bottom line:
My first experience with Conduit Coffee Company was a success! Their Holiday Roast combined the festive and traditional flavors of Winter to create a unique flavor profile that my taste buds found equally reminiscent and exciting.
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Andrew is a husband, father, dog lover, craft beverage enthusiast, content creator, and niche market Internet celebrity. Formerly of A Table in the Corner of the Cafe and The Pulitzer Project and contributor to Barista Magazine and Mental Floss, he’s been writing on the Internet for years.