“Let’s get away from sleigh bells
Let’s get away from snow
Let’s make a break some Christmas, dear
I know the place to go
How’d ya like to spend Christmas on Christmas Island?
How’d ya like to spend the Holiday away across the sea?
How’d ya like to spend Christmas on Christmas Island?
How’d ya like to hang your stockin’ on a great big coconut tree?”
Christmas Island, written by Lyle Moraine
Colombia Manantiales del Frontino
This lot was purchased from Colombia Mountain Coffee, who grew these beans in Caicedonia,Colombia. CMC where lucky enough to have some land in the Valle de Cuaca that has the perfect growing conditions for this variety, as most of the famous geisha comes from Panama.
Manantiales del Frontino; an exquisite example of the Geisha varietal. Often we use wine as a parallel to coffee, but in the case of the Geisha varietal there really isn’t a wine varietal that stands out like the Geisha does in coffee. It’s complexity of flavour is astounding, its aromatics intense, almost perfume-like.
Geisha continues to retain its grip on the title of Specialty Coffee’s most fascinating varietal. This lot, submitted by Colombian Mountain Coffee, won the SCAA Coffee of the Year competition that took place during the annual expo. Not only has it won Best of Origin, it effortlessly manhandled the rest of the coffees in the field and finished with a staggering 92 point rating- -the highest of any coffee in the event and several points over its closest competitor.
Panama Carmen Estate
Panama’s Carmen Estate is found in the region of Volcan, Panama, which is named after the towering Volcan Baru that rises just to the east.
Carmen Estate is owned by the Franceschi family who came to Panama from Corsica, a French Island in the Mediterranean Sea, in the year 1800. Upon their arrival to Panama, the Franceschi family started several business- cattle ranching, farming and ship building.
In the 1950s, Mrs. Carmen Franceschi suggested to her husband Mr. Efrain Franceschi to start a small coffee plantation. That was the beginning of the Franceschi family’s involvement in the coffee industry. The farm was named “Carmen Estate” after Mrs. Carmen Franceschi. Today, the third generation of the family is running the business and Mr. Carlos Ahuilera Franceschi is the Managing Director.
Carmen Estate is situated in the Paso Ancho Valley, which is located in the Chiriqui province, close to the border with Costa Rica in western Panama. Paso Ancho Valley lies on the western slopes of the Baru Volcano. The Baru is an inactive volcano located between the Boquete and Volcan-Candela areas. At 3,500 meters above sea level, the Baru is the highest point in Panama.
The Baru Volcano has provided very rich, deep and fertile soils to the Paso Ancho Valley micro region. This coupled with regular rainfall and appropriate altitude are a key factor in the outstanding quality portrayed by the coffee produced in this micro region.
This beautiful, washed Yirgacheffe was prepared at the ALEMU Washing Station in the Mendero Mountains just to the south of Sidama. ALEMU is one of several coffee preparation stations that is a part of the Kochere Coffee Cooperative, comprised of approximately 500 farmers.
The Table is, of course, a big fan of coffee from the Kochere Cooperative; it has seen several of their coffees served upon it over the past couple years. I remain impressed with the care and pride the members take in the cultivation and preparation of their coffees, as it shows beautifully in the cup on a very consistent basis.
Kochere is growing in popularity, showcasing the consistent diversity of Yirgacheffe’s unique terroir.
Close to 100,000 local inhabitants rely on coffee as their main crop with which to feed their families. Of those 100,000 residents, the Kochere Cooperative consists of about 500 smallholder farmers who use shared wet mills to process their coffee, where it is washed and then dried on elevated drying beds.
The Kochere micro-region has long been known as one of the best origins for fully washed southern Ethiopian coffees. So much so, in fact, that now, about thirty percent of all coffee bearing the Yirgacheffe name comes from this specific area. The combination of very high altitude and iron-rich, acidic soil creates the ideal growing situation to produce the bright, floral Yirgacheffe profile.
Welcome to my Table, here in the corner of this cafe. Today we’re sipping the Christmas Island Blend, from Tanager Coffee Roasters in Portland, Oregon. Feel free to pull up a chair.
origin: Caicedonia, Valle del Cauca, Colombia // Boquete, Panama // Yirgacheffe, Ethiopia
farm: Manantiales Del Frontino // Carmen Estate // Alemu Washing Station
producer: Andres Felipe Londoño // Carlos Aguilera // smallholder farmers
association: Colombian Mountain Coffee // N/A // Kochere Cooperative
elevation: 1800 – 2000 // 1750 // 1900 – 2100 meters above sea level
cultivars: Gesha // Caturra, Catuai, Typica // Ethiopia Heirloom
process: fully washed, patio dried // natural // fully washed, raised bed dried
Christmas Island Blend’s aroma is a fruit-forward one; a bright, festive one. Not much in the way of sugars—a bit of toffee, maybe caramel; instead, the nose is dominated by scents of citrus, stone fruits, and pomegranate.
The flavor follows the nose, but is far more explosive. From the very first sip, this medium-bodied coffee gushes over the palate, totally flooding my tongue with an incredible juiciness. There are some sugary elements of raw honey, toffee, and muscovado sugar to sweeten up the profile, but this is a fruit-forward coffee—a tart, zesty, spicy one, at that. Fig, plum, spiced cherry, coconut, lemon rind, nectarine, peach, pomegranate, sun-dried tomato, and tart blood orange.
Medium body; juicy mouthfeel; citric acidity; clean finish.
Of Christmas Island Blend, Tanager Coffee wrote on their site:
When we think of Christmas, snow, sleighbells and sitting beside a warm fire are the furthest thing from our mind. We are thinking about warm sandy beaches, waves crashing and that hot tropical sun beating gloriously down. Exotic fruit drinks, cooling us down and island music greeting our relaxed ears. This blend is meant to take you to another place this holiday season where you can experience the warmth and satisfaction of a hot cup of coffee and the taste will guide you on a tropical taste adventure.
If that’s what Tanager was going for when they created this blend, they absolutely nailed it. Christmas Island Blend is a far cry from the “traditional” holiday blend; hell, it’s a far cry from non-traditional holiday blends! This coffee is so bright, juicy, and tropical; it isn’t even reminiscent of a fruit cake – it’s more reminiscent of a pina colada.
This was an incredible coffee; one that surely would have been Leon Redbone‘s favorite.
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.