Really exciting news! John and Colin have just been in touch to tell us they’ve tracked down the perfect Colombian cup of CRU! Which blend is it though? No, we’re not going to spoil it for you. We’ll let them tell you the story…
Colin: “We know you’re itching to hear about the spectacular new blend we’ve chosen to be our first ever Colombian CRU coffee, but first let’s rewind a bit. Back to where we left off last time. So, after another extremely bumpy drive back down the notoriously treacherous Sierra Nevada mountain roads, we headed straight to the Agroeco Mill in Santa Marta to discover what happened next to Bernardo’s green beans. This bustling hub was where the all of the small producers in the Asoprosierra Cooperative, as well as many other coffee farmers, sent their beans for processing.”
John: “When we arrived at the Mill, I was amazed at the sheer volume of green beans in one place. There easily must have been a few thousand bags full of beans stacked up, floor to ceiling.”
Colin: “It was seriously impressive. As soon as a truck full of beans arrived at the Mill, one of the workers would stab every single hessian sack with a sharp, hollow metal pole to take a sample of beans from it. Apparently, this important first step helped to set an average grade for the quality of the harvest to determine what a farmer would get paid for their coffee beans.”
John: “And that was just the start of a highly complex process at the Mill, which we were privileged to watch. It was a fantastic way to learn!
Colin: “It was awesome.”
John: “One thing that particularly impressed me was watching the green beans run through various machines, designed to remove the parchment and separate out any impurities. Especially when, at one point, a machine x-rayed each bean to work out its density before sorting them into a number of different chutes. This was a very necessary process, as roasting a small bean and a large bean in the same batch could mean the smaller coffee bean could burn before the larger bean had finished roasting. It was incredible; so high-tech and fine-tuned. We didn’t expect anything like that.”
Colin: “Having the opportunity to see the entire coffee production process all happening in one place was fascinating. And I was blown away by the level of organisation and attention to detail around getting the best quality product from the beans. It left me with a great sense of confidence and convinced me that we’ve found the right partners here in Colombia.”
John: “Yes, we really clicked with them – they are definitely our kind of people.”
Colin: “Just like us, they care about sustainability; they care about the need for organic practices; they care about quality. They also care about improving the lives of the small coffee producers and the Cooperatives working together. Plus, they care about processing the beans in a quality way - in a very organised and high-tech way. The Agroeco Mill is state-of-the-art – it could easily be just outside London, yet we’re half way across the world in Colombia.”
John: “I agree, 100%! So, what was next? After seeing all the rigorous processes the coffee beans underwent before being roasted, there was only one thing left for Colin and I to do…”
Colin: “It was the moment we had been looking forward to since beginning this adventure - the taste test, or ‘cupping’ as it’s called. And this was also the moment of truth – when we’d discover once and for all whether Bernardo’s double-certified organic and Fairtrade coffee beans would make the grade. They’d been tested alongside all the beans from other farmers in the Asoprosierra Cooperative. His beans had made it so far, but would they make it through the ultimate challenge?”
John: “Excited and nervous, us? Absolutely! We’d been there up in the Sierra Nevada mountains with Bernardo and seen the incredible skill and knowledge, plus the lifetime of work and effort he’d put into his coffee beans. So, there was a lot at stake. The provenance of all the beans in the Cooperative was indisputable, but we needed to be blown away by the taste and quality or it was game over!
Colin: “So, the Mill had roasted a test batch of the Cooperative’s Sierra Nevada blend for us to taste. And we double-checked, Bernardo’s beans were definitely in there!”
John: “The cupping expert at the Mill was fantastic as she guided us through the process for each batch. Amazingly, I didn’t get ‘coffeed out’ trying all those different blends. I really could taste the difference in the quality of the beans between all six blends she gave us to try. I must admit that when she presented us with the Sierra Nevada blend from the Cooperative, the nerves really kicked in. I needn’t have worried though – it was everything we’d wished for. Wow!”
Colin: “Unbelievably good!”
John: “It was superb and had those distinctive qualities that the cupping expert knew could only originate from the Sierra Nevada. So, it had that chocolate vibe synonymous with that area, as well as a subtle acidity. Plus it had a rich creamy body, finished with notes of spiced pastry and tart fruit. I could see it working brilliantly with a chunk of chocolate. Delicious! And it wasn’t just us who loved the Sierra Nevada. It was one of the cupping expert’s favourites too.”
Colin: “So, the provenance was right, plus the taste and quality was amazing – the three most important ingredients in a cup of CRU. Which made our decision very easy in the end. After our big South American coffee adventure, we’d found our perfect Colombian cup of CRU. It just had to be the Sierra Nevada. Thank you, Bernardo and all the other small producers in the Asoprosierra Cooperative, whose stories we haven’t explored yet.”
John: “Our Sierra Nevada truly is an exceptional coffee that you can feel genuinely brilliant about drinking. The attention to detail that has gone into making it is off the scale - it certainly is an artisan product. Plus, everyone involved in its production has been treated properly, which is such a good feeling.”
Colin: “Definitely. We’ve been so incredibly fortunate to see first-hand how purchasing this blend will actually impact generations of a whole family and help sustain their way of life, hopefully for years to come.
John: “And what you guys can expect from our new coffee is the taste of Colombia. It’s an authentic, incredible snapshot of small farms high in the Sierra Nevada cloud mountains, where condors soar overhead. So, you’ll taste the provenance of that land where the coffee cherries were picked on steep mountainsides. How cool is that!”
Colin: “We can’t tell you how extremely excited we are about bringing our brand new, 100% single origin, organic and Fairtrade Arabica coffee back to CRU HQ.”
John: “After all our adventures, we cannot wait for you all to try the perfect Colombian cup of CRU. See you all very soon.”
We can’t wait either! And we’re very excited to tell you that we’ve just placed our first order of green beans from the Agroeco Coffee Mill in Santa Marta. They are en route to our roasters, so the very first batch of our new Colombian Sierra Nevada will be available soon. We’ll let you know when you can pre-order it and be the first to try our new cup of CRU! Simply enter your email below and then watch this space. In the meantime, if you missed any of our adventures then catch up with them here.