Four Barrel is hosting classes on brewing better coffee at home. Instruction will be focused on general concepts like importance of grind and temperature, as well as implementing tools like pourover kettles and scales to improve brewing techniques. These principles will be demonstrated on French Press, Chemex, Clever, and Hario V60 brewing devices.
Space is limited to 10 people, so drop by the cafe and reserve your spot. $25 gives you a space in the class, as well as coffee to take home, and special pricing on brewing equipment.
Upcoming classes: Monday, February 21st and Monday, March 7th. Both classes will start at 6:00PM at our Front Bar.
Jeremy and I have been in Kenya the last ten days, cupping through the auctions, touching base with producers, establishing new relationships, and narrowing down our sights on a handful of special gems to bring back home to you.
The Rwanda Rushashi is a favorite at our Front Bar.
This coffee is hand picked and sorted by a 70 member women’s group called Duhingekawa (meaning literally, “women’s coffee”) a subgroup of the 1700 member Abakundakawa cooperative that mills this coffee at the Rushashi washing station. Abakundakawa’s production is a fair trade certified, USAID project to improve the quality of life in Rwanda, and this particular micro-lot is separated from the bulk production. Sadly, the majority of the members of the Duhingekawa group are widows from the genocide and we have paid a premium for this coffee that returns directly to the women producers. Their coffee is remarkable and meticulously picked and sorted — it consistently receives higher cupping scores than the rest of Abakundakawa’s production.
We’re pleased to introduce a new single-origin decaf offering on our shelves. Say hello to Decaf Sumatra Sidikalang. Chocolate, molasses and rum in the cup. Sweet and balanced.
54. Coffee and a spiced-chocolate doughnut at Four Barrel.
The Big Eat SF: 100 Things To Try Before You Die.
Over the last two weeks we’ve quietly introduced Darra Bonko and Wollega Leka Wato in our cafe. The Darra Bonko’s silky mouthfeel and the Leka Wato’s brilliant acidity are both stunning additions to the menu at the Front Bar.
Our coffee offerings have changed greatly over the last few weeks. We are at a point in the season where our efforts in Colombia and Sulawesi are bearing tangible results in the café.
Amazing coffees just keep coming! This week we have three new coffees available: Costa Rica Cafetín 1900, Ethiopia Walena Suke Quto, and Kenya Tegu.
Cafetín is a micro-mill in the town of San Martin, Costa Rica. While Tim O’Brien was a Peace Corps volunteer based in San Martín, he fell in love with the town and its people. He returned to build a micro-mill there in 2004 to increase quality and thus increase earnings for the producers of San Martín. Innovative sustainability projects have been fostered, such as the use of bio-bags to convert liquid waste into methane for cooking and machinery.
Thirty-five farms provide coffee to the Cafetín mill, and a variety of lots are produced. We have had several Cafetín offerings in the past, and this year, the 1900 makes another appearance. The three farms of Guillermo Robles, Delfin Jimenez, and Elver Solis contribute cherry that has been picked at a minimum of 1900 meters above sea level. In fact, the coffees selected for this lot are grown at elevations reaching 2000 meters above sea level. For comparison, most specialty grade coffee in Central America is grown between 1500-1800 meters. The coffees are then mechanically demucilaged using a water-saving Penagos system at Tim O’Brien’s Cafetín micro-mill.
The high elevation prolongs the ripening of the cherry, creating a denser seed and endowing the cup with a refined, resonant sugar-cane sweetness and a focused cherry acidity reminiscent of some African coffees. A viscous mouthfeel rounds out this exceptional, balanced coffee.
Suke Quto is a producer’s association located in the Oodo Shakisso district of Guji, which lies in the southernmost part of the Oromia region, bordering both the Sidama and Gedeo zones. Set on gentle slopes between mountains and highland plateaus, the farmland has dark brown volcanic, loamy soil. In all, 68 producer members of Suke Quto grow their Ethiopian heirloom varietals on 291 hectares at 1800-2200 meters above sea level. This lot represents the finest coffee from their third harvest in history, as they first began cultivating coffee in 2004.
After ripe cherry is carefully selected, the coffee is depulped and fermented conventionally, washed, soaked to increase fruit-like acidity, then dried on raised beds. The meticulous processing creates an exquisitely clean and balanced cup which features lemon verbena, sweet almonds, dark chocolate, with kaffir lime and sweet cream.
We have had an incredible run of Kenyan coffees this year, and the Tegu continues to demonstrate the remarkable qualities of the region. The Tegu mill represents 910 member famers and is renowned for producing lots of outstanding quality. Usually, Tegu submits their coffee to the central auction system, which is how the vast majority of coffee in Kenya is sold. This particular lot was purchased directly from the producers through the “second window”, bypassing the auction system.
The farmers that Tegu represents cultivate SL28 and SL34 at around 1800 meters above sea level. After careful picking, the cherry is taken to the Tegu mill for depulping and conventional fermentation. The coffee undergoes and additional soaking before being dried on raised beds. Orange spice, caramelized almonts, and bergamot introduce flavors of fresh strawberry juice, Meyer lemon, and tangerines. The crisp pink-lemonade acidity meshes beautifully with a clean, sparkling finish.
On Monday, September 6, Four Barrel will host a class on brewing better coffee at home. Instruction will be focused on general concepts like importance of grind and temperature, as well as implementing tools like pourover kettles and scales to improve brewing techniques. These principles will be demonstrated on French Press, Chemex, Clever, and Hario V60 brewing devices.
Space is limited to 10 people, so drop by the cafe and reserve your spot. $20 gives you a space in the class, as well as your choice of coffee to take home, and special pricing on brewing equipment.
This is the second brew class Four Barrel has offered - stay tuned for upcoming brew workshops that get in-depth with individual brew methods.
One of our fresh arrivals is the Costa Rica San Juanillo Don Jose. This coffee is produced by Don Jose’s son, Sixtolman Sanchez, in the West Valley of San Juanillo de Naranjo. One-hundred percent Caturra is cultivated at 1600 meters above sea level, and this particular lot is processed using the pulped-natural method. After the cherry is pulped off the seed, rather than being fermented and washed clean, the fruit mucilage is allowed to dry on the parchment, which increases body and sweetness. The San Juanillo Don Jose is particularly clean for a pulped-natural coffee, which is why we are so fond of it. Roses, ripe cherries and plums become honey, baked cherries and dark chocolate, with honey sweetness and a syrupy body.
Four Barrel is proud to offer Ethiopia Shakisso Moredocofe again this year. This fresh, new crop arrival comes to us from producer Haile Gebre. In 2001, Mr. Gebre left his government position to return home to cultivate coffee on his grandfather’s land. In addition to his grandfather’s land, Gebre owns another farm nearby, as well as a washing station for processing coffee cherry. His company, “Mora Mora River Development of Organic Coffee”, also works with farmers in the immediate area, who grow coffee in highland old-growth forest in the Guji province.
Moredocofe is certified organic, and Mr. Gebre ensures environmental stewardship among his associate producers. He also educates producers on harvesting, cherry selection, and sustainable farming practices. The coffee cherry is meticulously processed at Gebre’s mill; his
processing includes a six hour washing technique, post-washing soaking, and gentle drying on raised beds. The result of this process is a coffee with incredible cleanliness and mouthfeel. Passionfruit, marzipan and fresh blackberry aromatics introduce the marmalade, apricot and black tea in the cup. We are so excited to offer an excellent coffee from such an astounding producer.
For Guatemala Ojercaibal, we are honored to be part of their project—small holding farmers from the community each contribute coffee grown at or near their homes—coffee tended with the care given to a small garden. The project created many aspects of the infrastructure that made this meticulously processed coffee not only possible, but successful: schools, cooking appliances, clean water and waste management. These improvements benefited the whole community of approximately 300 families (1300 inhabitants) all from indigenous (Kaqchiquel) descent who depend fully on agriculture for subsistence. Fourbarrel purchased the entire blended lot from these 61 tiny coffee gardens.
Bourbon and Typica are cultivated, as well as cultivars derivative of these parent strains, such as Caturra and Catuaí; we have also isolated large-bean varietals that are likely to be Pacamara. The abundance and variety of these tiny lots contributes to the unique, complex and dynamic qualities of this coffee. Complex and woven aromatics of toasted sugar, candied orange and grapefruit become honey, sweet orange and dark chocolate in the cup. This coffee is
remarkably sweet, well structured and clean.