Category Archives: Sustainability

Honey Processed Coffee in Laos

Laos isn’t the first region to top coffee drinkers list, but that is fast changing in part to Bolaven Farms direct trade organic beans. This farm is one of the many success stories of the Crop Share Training program there. The work of the son of a Laotian immigrant to Canada, the program trains farmers and shares the profits with trainees who then invest in their own farms. To boot, the coffee is as tasty as any of the best from around the world. They also have instituted a trending coffee processing technique, honey-processed coffee.

Honey processed organic coffee from Bolaven Farms
Honey processed coffee from Bolaven Farms

From fruit to cup: The Bolaven Farms limited release Arabica that you received in the Coffee Crates this month, begin their life in the mountains of Northern Laos along the Mekong River. Shade grown, then picked, skins removed, and dried with partial pulp or mucilage still attached to the bean, which is referred to as the honey process. Why is this so interesting and consequential to us coffee lovers? There are several factors that contribute to the flavor profile of coffee, and one of those variables is processing method used. As Coffee Review says so well “variations in processing that are carefully and mindfully pursued can alter the sensory properties of coffee in amazing and exciting ways.”

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The traditionally used method of processing coffee is “washed” or “wet” processed, wherein first the skins and fruit is removed through light fermentation, then washed to remove the remaining mucilage and finally dried, usually in the sun. While this method has produced consistency in the industry, the approach has a heavier environmental footprint than natural or honey processes because of the high quantity of water used. And from a drinker’s perspective, we believe coffee is much more exciting when there are vibrant variations in the notes that can be hit in each cup.

Honey processed organic coffee from Bolaven Farms Laos
Honey processed organic coffee from Bolaven Farms Laos

Back to the honey processed Bolaven Farm’s bean we featured in this month’s Coffee Crate, when we first cupped the sample from Torch Coffee Roasters in Raleigh, NC it was excited to find hints of butterscotch contrasted with grassy herbs. This coffee’s story begins on those tropical highlands in Laos, which experience a heavy rainy season, grown organically in the shade, then meticulously processed using the honey processing method, by a community of farmers that participate in the Crop-share Training Program that provides land, housing, training, coffee plants, tools and 36% of the total profits. And finally sent to Torch Coffee Roasters in Raleigh and delicately roasted to highlight the unique profile this bean has to offer. Enjoy!

Coffee Crate, what’s it all about?

We believe that coffee tastes better when there’s an empowering story of love and respect that connects us to the origin of the beans.

We are an online coffee subscription and gift service, providing carefully curated roasts from local North Carolina roasters, delivered every month to your door. We work with roasters who connect with the story of where their beans come from, and who uphold ethical standards of sustainability and labor. In this way, we curate the highest quality beans and carefully package them with creativity and love.

We continuously taste an assortment of beans from local roasters who take pride in their craft and strive to produce uniquely delicious coffees. We place an emphasis on working with roasters who work directly with the farms. Some of the growers are engaged in community empowerment, such as women owned cooperatives, local education and community health.

When selecting beans for Coffee Crate, our emphasis is on the virtuous delight of not only an ethically sourced product, but also one that activates the senses of our body and mind.

Together with a locally crafted goodie, we deliver delicious right to your door.

The Sustainability Groove

Roaster Profile: Larry’s Coffee

Larry's Coffee roaster group

Sure we all wish and strive to have sustainable habits in our homes and professions, but how often do we not put our time/money where our mouths are? One of our roasters has no problem answering that question. Larry’s Coffee, based in Raleigh, North Carolina, is entrenched in the “sustainability groove”. From where they source their green coffee beans, to their solar powered roasting facility, to their veggie-oil powered delivery bus, Larry and his team have dialed in creative ways to make sustainability the standard.

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First the beans! When ordering from Larry’s Coffee, we don’t have to ask “what are your current Fair Trade coffees?” All of Larry’s Coffees are Fair Trade, Organic and Shade Grown; all of them! Founder, Larry, believes coffee can be used to joyfully make the world a better place. We resonate with this sentiment of coffee with a higher purpose.

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Larry finds that Fair Trade is twofold; It’s a way to fund uniquely delicious coffee beans and at the same time creating business opportunities where everyone in the supply chain gets paid fairly for their product. Larry pioneered this model by helping form the Cooperative Coffee organization, which is a group of U.S. roasters that work together to import green coffee beans into the United States with a focus on ethical trade practices.

Then the roasting facility! Here’s the list of everything Larry’s Coffee is doing to lighten their Carbon and Water footprint:

Veggie oil from Piedmont Biofuels powders their coffee bus for local coffee deliveries.

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Solar collectors heat the roasting facility and main offices.

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Larrys Coffee Roasting facilities

 

 

 

 

 

 

They also let the sunshine light up their roasting facility with a “clearstory.”

Composting coffee waste to be used in the veggie garden.

Rainwater harvesting, with 4 tanks that can collect up to 2500 gallons of water to run the bathrooms and water the plants.

And this is the shortlist. See more here.

This month in your Coffee Crates, you’ll find Larry’s Honduras Comsa lightly roasted bean that makes for an elegant brew with notes of apple crisp and caramel.

Oh and by the way, did we mention their coffee is also delicious? No compromises here!

Thank you Larry’s Coffee for sharing these great photographs with Coffee Crate.

Coffee Crate, what’s it all about?

We believe that coffee tastes better when there’s an empowering story of love and respect that connects us to the origin of the beans.

We are an online coffee subscription and gift service, providing carefully curated roasts from local North Carolina roasters, delivered every month to your door. We work with roasters who connect with the story of where their beans come from, and who uphold ethical standards of sustainability and labor. In this way, we curate the highest quality beans and carefully package them with creativity and love.

We continuously taste an assortment of beans from local roasters who take pride in their craft and strive to produce uniquely delicious coffees. We place an emphasis on working with roasters who work directly with the farms. Some of the growers are engaged in community empowerment, such as women owned cooperatives, local education and community health.

When selecting beans for Coffee Crate, our emphasis is on the virtuous delight of not only an ethically sourced product, but also one that activates the senses of our body and mind.

Together with a locally crafted goodie, we deliver delicious right to your door.