"It really is a special coffee. Full bodied with a balanced brightness. There is a zest to it, certain sharpness to it in terms of sweetness."
“I went for a visit to the highlands where all the coffee farmers are and before you know it I’ve fallen in love very quickly with the landscape, the people and the communities.” Explains Jaime Ardon, owner of Cultura Café on how his coffee venture began.
Jaime was 3 when he moved to Canada from Nicaragua. However, with all of the importing of specialty coffee he has been traveling quite a bit back to his home country to meet farmers and to find the best beans.
“We think of ourselves as being thoroughly involved as part of the supply chain. There is no middle man with us. We have a direct hand in working very closely with the farmers and the communities.” He explains further.
What this allows is greater control. There isn’t a broker who might be incorrectly relaying information. Jaime visits, observes and digs into the issues that are important to him – like ethical treatment of the workers.
“We ask questions. I spend time on the farm – a couple days on each lot and I talk to everyone. That’s our whole model. We want transparency.”
And when he’s not there, he’ll find other ways to communicate. For example, the farmer of “Las Golondrinas”, Rodrigo Peralta will communicate via WhatsApp, sending photos of the crop and general updates on the farm.
Interestingly enough, Rodrigo’s father was a banker who gave a loan to Jaime’s father back when he was looking for credit to support his new cow farm, which Jaime admits, made the introduction to the farmer a bit easier.
Cultura is now the exclusive Canadian importer of this Cup of Excellence winning bean as after Rodrigo won the cup of excellence in 2012 (with an incredible score of 91.8%) it was scooped up by roasters out of South Korea.
When it comes to roasting this award winning coffee, they developed a specific roast profile with what he calls “by the second roasting”. They analyze every part of the roast, then taste and analyze areas that can be improved.
“We were trying to get a nice balanced roast that will give it the pronounced sharpness that we needed to accentuate.”