May's Coffee of the Month: Bespoke Blend
Whether it’s the skill and nuance involved, the sleek machinery, the energy, the culture or the sheer fun of it, coffee and cycling seem to go hand in hand. Many of our customers arrive at our roaster on two wheels. And biking is has been integral to daily business for Brooklyn Roasting Company; we started out delivering coffee on a vintage work bike, and our roasters and many of our baristas cycle to work every day. Throughout May we’re paying homage to the virtuous vélo with our Bespoke blend, created with the NYC Bike Ambassadors as our inspiration. It's a balanced combination of bright, lemony Guatemalan Finca Ceylan and rich, buttery Colombian Santa Barbara beans.
Both the Finca Ceylan and Santa Barbara estates are acknowledged for their commitment to sustainability and environmental awareness – something we cyclists are conscious of too.
Santa Barbara Estate is located in the southwest section of the Department of Antioquia in northwest Colombia. This estate is described as integrated, which means that all stages of the production happen there and are carefully tracked by the farmers and workers, from producing seedlings through to harvesting and processing. Santa Barbara has expanded gradually, establishing a healthy and sustainable balance between sophisticated production and artisanal integrity. The near-constant temperature in the region (generally around 75-80 degrees F all year), high altitude (5,280 feet above sea level) and the nutrient-rich volcanic soil are ideal for growing the Castillo varietal of Arabica, a flavorful hybrid of the Caturra and Timor trees.
A dedication to traceability and sustainability is what drives the team at Santa Barbara. As well as attention to detail in terms of the quality of its beans, the estate has a stringent water management scheme and recycles all its solid waste as compost to enrich the soils in its seed beds. The estate’s full-time staff are supported with education, health and pension programs, and seasonal staff are paid well above minimum wage and provided with food and accommodation.
The organic Finca Ceylan, from Finca Ceylan y Anexos in Atitlán, Chimaltenango is grown in rolling volcanic foothills around 3,500 – 4,500 feet above sea level. The microclimate is tropical and humid and, combined with rich clay-like soils, provides the ideal conditions for a range of varietals such as Bourbon, Typica and Mundo Novo. The farm also cultivates cardamom, macadamia nuts, plantain and banana, the latter of which is used as a shade crop for the coffee bushes. However, much of the farm is also dedicated to a forestry preserve, where rare indigenous trees are maintained, providing a protected environment for wildlife and helping to prevent soil erosion on the steeper slopes.
Finca Ceylan has contributed to community development with new houses, drinkable water, and education centers for its employees and their children. The farm maintains the river basins and the natural vegetation that grows nearby. Hunting and fishing is prohibited to conserve natural fauna and flora, and the water used in the wet mill process is filtered through oxidation tanks to avoid contamination in river basins.