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Seasonality in Coffee

March 21, 2022

Seasonality is a critical component of coffee — one that we probably don’t talk about enough. Coffee is produce, after all. Just like crops we’re used to seeing here in the US, the planting, growing and harvesting of coffee follows a regular annual cadence, unique to every region where it’s grown. Naturally, it follows that there are regular times of year when coffees from particular countries are “in-season.” 

 
 
Just as fall is harvest-time for apples and persimmons, so it is for coffees in Peru and Ecuador. In winter, it’s Mexico and Ethiopia. That “unlocking” time would match nicely with when Guatemala harvests. And as we’re pulling plump tomatoes from our gardens in late summer, farmers in Papua New Guinea are hand-picking their cherries. 
 
 
Some coffee-growing countries have such an abundance of “micro-climates” that they have more than one harvest a year, and harvests are happening somewhere practically year-round.  Colombia, Brazil and Uganda are prime examples. In these countries, the diversity of conditions like altitude and sunlight enable these multiple harvests. Coffee can literally be harvested on one side of a valley while plants on the other side are blooming. 
 
This is a big reason why we source so much of our coffee from Colombia. On top of connecting with importers and farmers committed to producing great quality coffee, the near-year round supply translates directly to our ability to produce consistently delicious coffee. — something we really pride ourselves on.
 
Of course, with coffee, we have the added component of a coffee’s “shipping window” — the time it takes, after harvest and processing, for it to travel (often by boat) to us here in North America. As with nearly every industry, we’ve also been affected by delays and supply chain woes due to the COVID pandemic. But we’ve been fortunate to work with great import and farm partners that have enabled us to plan ahead.
 
 
 
Now, while we’re in the middle of savoring our harvests from Ethiopia that began arriving a few months ago, we’re looking forward to fresh lots arriving from Colombia and Guatemala, while we’ve begun booking more coffees from Kenya and Ethiopia for arrival later in the summer.
 
Our hope, in time, is to enable familiarity with coffee regions and flavors on a seasonal basis. Not only to have different coffees to look forward to every year (much how we look forward to fig season), but to feel a closer connection to and understanding of coffee as the seasonal product it is. 
 


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