At Sump, we know we’re not alone in the process of carefully and thoughtfully sourcing and roasting coffees from all around the world - that’s why we’ve introduced an internal program among Sump staff that we like to call 12 Roasters. Every month, we select a roaster we’re interested in to sample their coffee - both to experience coffee from other roasting machinery, as well as taste how other companies choose to highlight the terroir of their beans. In selecting roasters to sample as a part of our 12 Roasters program, we’ve been focusing on the following:
- Roasting companies and styles that overlap with what we do at Sump
- Roasters with clear links/identity to the machines on which they roast
- Roasters sourcing from similar origins from which we also source
- Media trending shops
Our most recent selection for our 12 Roasters program was Copenhagen’s The Coffee Collective. We were intrigued by the Coffee Collective because we wanted to try more coffees roasted on a Loring roaster and Northern Europeans are currently leading the field in the coffee roasting industry.
Image courtesy of Dylan Connell
We tried four coffees from the Coffee Collective - a fabled Hacienda la Esmeralda Special geisha from Panama, two coffees from Nyeri, Kenya, and a Duber Rojas from Colombia. After many cups of coffee (and sneaking sips from each other's cups), gratuitous Instagram photos, and raving, we collected our observations to share. Below are thoughts from the team.
Robert: The handful of coffees we were able to taste from Coffee Collective really impressed me. The more good coffee I've tasted the harder it seems to be to find excellent coffee, because your perceptions of mediocre, good, and excellent are constantly being pushed and skewed. With that in mind, I would say that these coffees really humbled and inspired me as a barista and roaster. They were excellent.
Matt: I thoroughly enjoyed all the coffees from Coffee Collective. All four were very tasty and showcased something unique.
Connor: Holy smokes, Coffee Collective killed it.
Hacienda la Esmeralda, Panama
Dylan: I had the Panama Hacienda la Esmeralda when there was about three ounces of it left an hour after it had been brewed (perfect condition to be drinking light roasted coffee) and it was awesome. It is of the geisha varietal which means it is usually sweet and floral, with huge complexity - hope you like jasmine.
Matt: It was everything the La Esmeralda Special should be: intensely floral, citrusy, honeyed and creamy. But for how beautiful that coffee is, it’s hard to justify $40 plus a pound (green)! Was it delicious? Yes! Is it worth it? Only for those that have deep, deep, DEEP pockets. I find there are other coffees equally as delicious a fraction of the price.
Connor: This coffee was everything you'd expect in a geisha and more - it was lively, floral, and exciting.
Jordan: Having heard about the venerable reputation of Hacienda la Esmeralda Special before being able to try any their coffee I was excited to finally have the chance to brew up a cup for myself. I loved the delicate, floral nature of this coffee - enjoying this cup was a long, slow, and mindful process.
Kieni - Nyeri, Kenya
Dylan: I preferred the coffee from the Kieni station much more than the Karogoto. I might have been biased considering we had a coffee from Kieni a while back that happened to be one of the best espressos we have served in the shop.
Matt: The Kieni (my favs) was GORGEOUS! It was the first one of the lot that I tried and it really set the bar for the rest of them to come. It had such lively acidity and truck tons of sweetness. I remember when I once saw the tasting note “purple” on a bag and it’s the first thing I thought of! Blackberry, mullberry, raisin, currant, fig, and marmalade (not purple, but present). That coffee was special.
Sara: I was only able to really drink the Kenya Kieni. It blew my mind and was one of the best coffees I've had in awhile - super creamy and had a nice milky sweetness. It was like drinking a cappuccino!
Robert: I have to say that both of the Nyeri, Kenyan coffees were some of the best examples of Kenyan coffee I've experienced in awhile. The Kieni in particular had such a sweet red fruit aspect coupled with a milky body, which was reminiscent of a cappuccino made with our own Kenya Gachatha espresso shot.
Connor: The Kieni, to me, was candy sweet with outstanding red fruit qualities.
Jordan: I found this coffee to be bright, adventurous, creamy, and really unique. I snagged and brewed the last few beans of this we had in the shop and I only wish we had more to brew in multiple cups so I could experience how dynamic this coffee really is. I think this one has strong potential to be an amazing espresso.
Karogoto, Tekangu - Nyeri, Kenya
Matt: I really enjoyed how both lots were from the Nyeri region, but couldn’t be more different. The Karogoto was unlike any Kenya I’ve had before. It didn’t have the "reds or purple” I typically see in Kenyan coffees. Instead, I saw burnt orange. It felt soft or creamy. I got funky tropical fruits, like papaya or mango or even grilled pineapple.
Dylan: The Karogoto had subtle fruit and sweetness, but it had a viscous mouthfeel (I’m regretting not pulling an EK shot) and I was not as excited about it.
Robert: I recall the Karogoto had similar fruit notes to the Kieni but a drier presentation in terms of mouthfeel. Perhaps a little more traditional citrus/acidity as well.
Connor: As both of these Kenyan coffees cooled, they were extremely jammy and bright.
Duber Rojas - Huila, Colombia
Scott: The Duber Rojas from Huila, Colombia coffee was the first Loring roasted coffee where I stopped mid-cup and thought, I have to revise my opinion/bias against Loring roasted coffee. The cup had a big sweetness. Absent was the mid-palate hollowness I've found to exemplify most Loring roasted coffees.
Dylan: The Colombian coffee we received was interesting, not quite like any other Colombian I have had, which gives me excitement about the future of coffees from there. It had some nuttiness to it which usually doesn't thrill me, but the stone fruit won me over.
Matt: This was the last coffee I dove into. The only thing that stood out to me in this coffee was that I liked it! A lot! I had a hard time coming up with any specific tasting notes. It was such a balanced and well-crafted cup. Something that I could drink everyday and be equally content as the days past. Coffees like this are comforting; like home.
Connor: I thought the Duber Rojas presented itself as a balanced cup with noticeable notes of chocolate and baking spice.
And a few, final thoughts from one of our own:
Dylan: I have had other coffees from Coffee Collective, and with these four coffees, I still have a deep respect for their roasting style. After all, our "Nordic" style of roasting had to come from somewhere, right?