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The 49th family..

| by Nic Witzke

Though the 49th Parallel product is well known, many of the people behind it are relatively unknown to general public.

We'd like to share with you the people that make everything happen behind the scenes, on the road, and at origin. 

Maybe you've placed an order with Tara, seen Kyle in the cafe, and tasted Mike's roasts.. But now's your chance to get to know them a little more up close and personal.

We are happy to introduce you to the 49th Parallel family.

Holiday Hours

| by Barrett Jones

The holiday season is around the corner; so we're going to publish the full holiday hours here. We'll update via Facebook and Twitter closer to relevancy - but here they are, plan accordingly.

We are closed at both locations on Christmas Day, so plan ahead, practice up, and dazzled them with your coffee making prowess.

4th Avenue:

Tuesday, Dec 24, 7am-6pm

Wednesday, Dec 25, Closed

Thursday, Dec 26, 7am-7pm

Tuesday, Dec 31, 7am-7pm

Wednesday, Jan 1, 8am-6pm

 

Main Street:

Tuesday, Dec 24, 7am-6pm

Wednesday, Dec 25, Closed

Thursday, Dec 26, 7am-9pm

Tuesday, Dec 31, 7am-8pm

Wednesday, Jan 1, 7:30-9pm

 

Office/Roaster:

Christmas Eve - CLOSED

Christmas Day - CLOSED

Boxing Day - 9am to 1pm

New Years Eve - OPEN

New Years Day - CLOSED

Join us in celebrating the start of the holiday season, and learn how our Holiday Celebration blend is made - how it is roasted, and the story of the small holder farmers and people that made it possible.  

This coming Thursday December 5th beginning at 6pm, we are hosting an activity filled evening at our Main street Café (Main & 13th).

The event is made up of two parts (and you can do both!). All of the admission fees will go to East Side Boxing, a local not-for-profit gym that has recently been devastated by a fire.  

Try your hand at roasting a small batch of your own coffee to take home with the help of our Quality Assurance and Roaster Saša Stojanovic. You'll get hands on time with our sample roaster, with expert instruction from Saša, and learn about some of the reactions that happen during roasting, and how those reactions relate to the flavour profile of the roasted coffee. *This activity is meant for everyone. From absolute beginners to seasoned home roasters.

The Second component of the evening is a presentation from our Green Coffee Buyer about the producers we work with in what we affectionately call, the Beneficio San Vicente project.  

Here, you will get a chance to learn a bit of context around how we source our coffees, and how involved we are in collaborating on quality improvements and sustainability initiatives with small holder farmers in the Santa Barbara area of Honduras (a 66 hour non-stop drive from Vancouver!). 

There will also be treats! Sample the Holiday Celebration blend, as well as new holiday doughnuts by the fine folks at Lucky's Doughnuts. 

Advance sign up is recommended to secure your spot, especially for the roasting!

Looking forward to seeing you next Thursday evening,

The 49th Parallel Team

When we have a coffee in the morning, we are thinking about getting ready for our day, or maybe we are at our desk starting work, all the while enjoying having something warm, comforting and hopefully very tasty. 

Cupping, on the other hand, involves a lot of focus, because ultimately, it can mean a green coffee purchase equating to many thousands of dollars - So it's crucial for us to make a good choice.

We use a 100 point scoring system that coffee professionals around the world are also familiar with. This means that when we give a coffee a particular score, along with some key flavour and aroma descriptors, there is a level of understanding and clarity for both the buyer and the producer around what sort of quality the coffee sample is. 

One of the key objectives for cupping and using an agreed upon protocol is to build a common language that is helpful in communicating what good (great, outstanding) quality actually means. What we taste during cupping tells the story of how well the coffee was taken care of during growing, harvesting, processing, drying as well as precautions taken during shipping to maintain the quality the producer worked hard to achieve. Ultimately, higher quality means we can pay a higher price to the producer.

Our intention is that those tasting the coffee we source (that's you) will notice that it is tasty and feel it deserves a higher price.

Every Tuesday, we will be cupping a couple of new coffees on our menu, and we want you to join us.

Take a look at our facebook page for up to date information about each cupping. See you Tuesday’s at 2pm at our Café on Main st @13th.

-Laura 

The Return of Santa Barbara

| by Laura Perry

Today we are launching two coffees from the Santa Barbara region of Honduras. We have been working with La Benedicion (Ramon Rodriguez) and El Ocotillo (Natividad Benitez) for a couple years now and we are excited to share this year’s harvest from them.

Both Ramon and Natividad’s farms are located around lake Yojoa, about a 2 and a ½ hour drive from the main industrial city, San Pedro Sula.

Some of the best coffees out of Honduras are some of the more delicate and complex out there. They aren’t ‘loud’ in flavour, but rather, the complexity of acidity and sweetness is the main attraction. 

When visiting for Cup of Excellence this past April, these coffees were finishing the dry milling process and getting ready to be shipped to our roastery here in Burnaby, BC.

 

You can grab more information and try La Benedicion and El Ocotillo Here.

 

 

Hopefully in the last couple weeks you've had a chance to try one of the new Ethiopian coffees we've had on offer. We released two at the same time, and they are both in fact the same coffee (from Dumerso mill in Yirgacheffe) but with one exception: the way the coffee was prepared is different.

I don't mean the way we roasted the coffee is different: the divergence happened all the way back when the coffee was processed in Yirgacheffe, after being freshly picked from the coffee shrubs.

The way coffee is processed has very much to do with tradition and culture, and for the most part coffee in Yirgacheffe is prepared via the washed process (which was popularized there in the 50's as a tradition brought there from Latin America. This put Yirgacheffe on the map as a tiny town with a not so tiny reputation for putting out delicious, jasmine and tea-like sweet coffees).

In a washed process, ripe cherry (the coffee fruit) is processed using de-pulpers to remove some of the outer layers of the cherry (skin and some of the fruit). It is then fermented in clean water overnight before the remaining mucilage is washed off and the coffee is dried on raised beds (tables with a mesh bottom). This allows for air circulation during drying process.

Natural process, on the other hand, is often a risky business, and one that could result in over-fermented flavour and mould if one is not careful. One measure of success is understanding the time and care it takes to have the coffee fruit dry evenly. Ripe cherries are delivered to the mill, where they are graded and then placed onto raised drying beds in thin layers and turned every 2-3 hours in the first few days, to avoid over-fermentation and mould growth. Then, 6-8 weeks later (yes these babies are in the drying process for up to two months! Sheesh.), depending on weather and temperature, the beans are de-hulled. The beans are then transported to Addis in parchment, and then milled prior to shipping.

A lot of love and care goes into both processes, but here at our cafés and roastery in Vancouver, we are especially appreciative about how clean and sweet this natural processed Dumerso is. Usually we pass on buying a natural coffee because they can taste of ferment or dirt, but there is nothing but sweet fruit in this coffee - it's quite special.

-Laura

Kenyan Season is here!

| by Laura Perry

Receiving our Kenyan coffees every year is something we very much look forward to, and this year is no different. 

We are kicking off the release of our Kenyans tomorrow with two coffees meant for drip: Kiawamururu AA and Gatina AB. 

We thought this would be a great opportunity to outline AB vs AA. On first glance, some might assume AA is a better quality than AB - but on the contrary it is not! 

The classification is about screen size. AA beans are larger than AB and so they must be separated at the mill. Due to their now more even size, each coffee can be roasted more evenly, resulting in maximized potential for a sweet, balanced cup.

Kiawamururu is a wet mill (they call a factory) that belongs to the Rumukia Farmers Co-operative Society, and is located just outside of Mukurweini, which is about 30 minutes, by car, south east of Nyeri. The 500+ active members grow their coffee in the fertile soils of Mount Kenya and the Aberdare Ranges at altitudes averaging 1500 masl. The structure of the Kenyan coffee system is quite different than central america as it is co-operative driven. Farmers will process their cherry at wet mills where they work to achieve higher prices for their coffee based on quality,meticulous picking and sorting. Kiawamururu has succeeded especially this year in achieving a solid reputation for high quality. 

This is the first time we are carrying Kiawamururu AA and we are excited to share it with you. 

We are also happy to have Gatina AB back another year. We originally allocated AB to an espresso blend, however upon arrival to our roastery, the level of sweetness and deep aromatics got us quite excited. We will be offering this coffee as a drip offering to kick off Kenyan Season. We think you'll find it to be very tasty. 


Happy Canada Day weekend!

-Laura


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