A New Seasonal Expression for Stereotype Espresso
Here at Atkinsons Coffee are very excited to bring you a brand new seasonal, Single Origin iteration of our ever popular Stereotype Espress...
A New Seasonal Expression for Stereotype Espresso
Here at Atkinsons Coffee are very excited to bring you a brand new seasonal, Single Origin iteration of our ever popular Stereotype Espresso. It is a particularly well-balanced coffee from a Co-operative familiar to most regulars called Pensativo, which we discovered on our last memorable trip to Guatemala.
Unsurprisingly Stereotype Espresso is roasted for espresso but you can brew it however you like! We found that Pensativo responded really well to being roasted just a little darker, with a longer development time to accentuate the sugar browning stage of the roast. It provides the medium, creamy body and tamed acidity that we love in this coffee with notes of hazelnut and cocoa nibs and a toffee apple finish.
Pensativo - Thoughtful Under the Shadow of Fuego
Guatemala is known for its beautiful coffee and its dramatic volcanoes. Many of them are dormant or extinct but of the 37 or so, there are three active volcanoes. The most active is the aptly named Fuego.
Blooms of Smoke & Blossom
I first saw Fuego on a beautiful spring morning as the sun came up over a coffee farm in Pacaya. It was gently blowing smoke rings into the sunrise. Its sister volcano, Agua, slept on into the glorious morning. We set off early to walk the farm, well before breakfast. As the day quickly warmed up we picked up the heavy scent of coffee blossom and the gentle murmur of bees. They were busily pollinating next season’s crop for us. In amongst the coffee trees the humming of the bees drowned out the occasional rumble of Fuego. It was shaking off the dandruff of ash from its sloping shoulders.
Coffee Farming Families
Amongst the bushes we first heard, then saw, occasional troupes of workers emerging out of the woods. They were steadily going about the constant job of pruning and mulching. Later that morning we visited the classroom on the farm and the kids saw the opportunity for distraction. This cohort could be amongst the last generation of coffee farmers. The teacher was seeing dwindling classes, as more families leave their mountain home for the city.
The silhouette of the twin volcanos were ever present on the skyline wherever we went. It was familiar to us from the stencils on our sacks of coffee back home but now endowed with greater meaning. We nervously checked the horizon to see if Fuego was still awake. Back on the road again we left the coffee highlands on tracks that saw little traffic. We made our way through lowland settlements on smooth highways before climbing again into patches of organically farmed rainforest.
Selecting the Best
At the cupping lab in the Fedecocagua warehouse, Gustavo, surely the loudest whistler in the world of coffee, had prepared our cupping table for us. Belying his auditory flamboyance lies a deep expertise of these coffees. He’s been cupping here for 30 years. So when Gustavo highlights certain farms, they're likely to be the best of the best. His is a palate so finely tuned to his terroir that we trust its veracity and wouldn't presume to question it.
Selection and Segregation
These are farms that had been singled out for us. Segregated from the basket of coffees that usually go through this huge mill. They are the ones deserving of special treatment, higher prices and value added for a job well done. I was drawn to one in particular, with the beguiling name of ‘Pensativo’ - meaning: Thoughtful…
At the Farm Gate
Later that day we arrived at Pensativo, a place of grazing cattle, ordered patios and thoughtful farmers. The question hanging in the air, like the smoke venting way above us, was: "What’s it like living under the shadow of an active volcano?"
Later that same year at 12.00pm on 4th June 2018 when we were visiting coffee farms in Rwanda we heard the devastating news. After a pause in activity, the pent up fury of the Volcàn de Fuego violently erupted. It sent a destructive pyroclastic flow 40km from the crater.
1.7 million people were affected by toxic clouds of sulphurous micro pumice.
12,823 homes were evacuated.
3,613 were left homeless.
5,098 coffee families were displaced.
9,420 hectares of land were devastated.
The cavernous Acetenango warehouse that we had visited, now housed huge supplies of relief aid. Enough supplies to cater for over 300 of the worse affected local families for 6 months. The many tragic personal stories behind these stark statistics are those of people we have met working on the farms and mills that supply us.
We joined in the coffee industry's relief effort over that summer and contributed profits from sales of this coffee. We thank all our loyal customers for supporting us in this. Our modest efforts contribute to a bigger picture that can have a real impact.
Now, with Pensativo in our own warehouse again we are cementing our relationship for another year. So, as you enjoy the soft nectarine fruit notes of your morning coffee spare a moment to think of those stoic communities around Pensativo. Those who have picked themselves up and literally dusted themselves off, to start all over again.
In it together
Communities at both ends of the supply chain are now working hard to survive a joint disaster - that of the devastating Covid19 pandemic. All we need now is a semblance of normality, an espresso machine and a café full of people eager to try this latest version of our Stereotype Espresso...