When we made the decision to change our structure, moving away from a monthly subscritpion model, one of the things on our mind was the friends we've made.
We wanted to share their story, in our words. A shout out to the people who have made it all possible and continue to do so. With only 6 spots to fill, it was hard to select just 6 roasters, whose stories we just had to share. One that had ot be on our list, was Altura Coffee Co.
From our October collaboration, The Roaster; in our words:
We said it last year with our Advent Calendar, and we’ll say it again. It would have been easy to look past the Stalwart to the coffee industry that is Altura Coffee Co, placing them in the old school category.
What a mistake that would have been.
It is with great pride we write this bio for our fourth feature with Altura.
Founded in 1991, Altura has had plenty of time to perfect their craft, literally. Founder and master roaster Chris White is still at the helm and a guiding force for not just Altura Coffee Co. Chris, is an active member of the specialty coffee industry in New Zealand and abroad, including sitting
on the judging panel of world barista events.
We’ve come to love Alturas' ability to present us with standout coffee offerings. Now, we're not talking about the cliche Geisha, Pink Bourbon and experimental fermentation lots. Altura regularly comes to us with lots that words and labels can't do justice. For example, a natural processed Castillo from Colombia. The cup was one of the most memorable and unexpected Colombian coffees we’ve experienced.
A standard we have come to expect from Altura Coffee Co.
The variety that isn't.
The Sarchimor story begins in Portugal in 1958/1959, with the arrival of HdT seeds to the CIFC, a Portuguese research facility famous for its research into coffee leaf rust. From the seeds, two plants were selected for their resistance to leaf rust. The breeding programme began in 1967 to create a compact variety suited to intensive planting with leaf rust resistance. The parent plants, HDT and Villa Sarchi, paved the way for H361, or Sarchimor.
The fellow research facility, IAC in Brazil, undertook further testing before H361 was released for field trials in several countries by CIFC in 1971. The release timing couldn’t have been better, with coffeeleaf rust reaching the Americas.
The nature of these widespread trials and their ongoing selections, lead to many receiving their names imparted upon them by their respective researchers. As such, Sarchimor is recognised as a group of varieties with similar parentage, rather than a variety in its own right.
It is worth noting that Sarchimor is not recommended to farmers due to its instability from generation to generation.
The exact time and route coffee took to Mexico are a little hazy due to its slow journey to popularity.
Sources suggest it first appeared in Mexico as early as the 1740s, but it's widely agreed it wasn’t until the latter 1700s that it arrived in Veracruz, via Cuba. Slowly plantations appeared over the next 100 years to the 1840s when coffee became an exportable commodity.
The farms were owned predominately by Italian and German migrants who took advantage of the indigenous people for cheap labour.
Fast forward to 2020, 95% of Mexico’s coffee is grown by small lot holders, tending to plots under 7 hectares. 90% of production comes from 3 of Mexico's 16 coffee- producing states. Chiapas, Oaxaca and Veracruz.
Co-operatives are significant players in shaping Mexico’s coffee industry, made up of over half a million producers. To this day coffee production remains a significant income source for the indigenous population, with more than half of farm owners speaking an indigenous language.
Coffee has also been embraced by political factions, with groups such as the Zapatista Indigenous Separatist Movement using coffee to fund their campaign and improve conditions for workers in the industry.
Region: Pantelho, Chiapas
Farm size: 2 Hectares
Producer: Mario Santiz Lopez
Altitude: 1400 M.A.S.L
Process: Semi-Washed, Sun dried
Tasting Notes: Orange blossom & Spicy Brilliant citric acidity
Tropical Tangerine Sweetness