OUR COFFEE / FOUR BARREL
In 2008, Four Barrel started roasting COFFEE BEANS on an old vintage steel roaster out of their compound in San Francisco: micro-roasting. They spend months of every year helping their coffee producers around the world sustainably succeed: relationships + coffee. Is that not what coffee's soul is centered on?
Made "by the people" and TRUELY "four the people".
Where does this great coffee come from? It comes from third-generation farmers and mill-workers in Latin America, Indonesia, and East Africa. They have faces, THEY ARE knowN by name and ARE callED on as partners. THEIR CRAFT is highly respected, cherished and developed. Four Barrel goes where coffee is BOLD, forging relationships that ensure quality of life for producers, and high-quality coffee freshly brewed each day just in time for your California sunrise...
We picked four barrel coffee, because they are nerds... about roasting. and we are nerds about coffee...
Venustre Mugraneza handles bourbon de-pulping at his unique 2,000-meter-high Northern province mill, producing tannic hints of red fruit and white peaches.
LOCATION- Rulindo - Northern Province
ELEVATION- 1900 to 2200 meters
This is the only coffee we offer from northern Rwanda, a region of mountains, valleys, tea plantations and passion fruit shrubs... and an exceptional fellow named Venustre.
In our search for coffee, we met Venustre Mugraneza. He was working the gears to mechanically adjust his mill’s de-pulper. We felt a real kinship with Venustre right off the bat, because that’s the way we do things at our Bay Area roastery. Even if we could afford to hire someone else to tinker with our hulking old German roasters, we’d rather get in there and tweak them ourselves.
Finding an owner who is so literally hands-on with his machinery isn’t any easier in Rwanda than it would be in California. So when we find an owner like that, we keep in touch.
As closely involved as he likes to be, there’s not much Venustre can do once those burlap sacks of green coffee leave Rulindo. Fortunately, after it arrives in Kigali, the Tumba green gets milled in a two-part system: first with an electronic sorter, and then by hand.
Venustre got it to Kigali; the Rwanda Trading Company got it processed, bagged, and out on the water; now it’s our job to get it to you.
Every year, Andino Co-Op members & their Bruselas neighbors contribute fully washed coffees to this exclusive lot, with butterscotch and citrus.
ELEVATION-1600 to 1900 meters
Colombia isn’t exactly new to this whole coffee thing. The nation’s growers became serious exporters in the 19th century, and even created their own marketing arm and imaginary spokesman, Juan Valdez, back in the 1950s.
That longtime commercial expertise continues today. That’s good news for us, for a couple reasons. First and foremost: Plenty of Colombian coffee pros know and care about the difference between specialty coffee and “good enough” coffee. This lot of Andino draws on that knowledge base to assemble a wonderful batch of the former.
Here’s how it works. Our export partner established a little cupping lab in a Bruselas warehouse. When members of the Andino Association and their neighbors feel like they have an exceptional harvest, they just deliver their crop directly to our export partner. There, everybody tastes the samples, and if they pass muster, ship those samples north to us in San Francisco.
In San Francisco, Sarah Jane roasts the samples in our namesake century-old four barrel sample roaster, one hundred grams (about a sandwich bag) at a time. If our tasting notes match those of the producer and our export partner, then that coffee gets included in this batch of Andino.
It’s nice to know there’s some solid knowledge on the ground at source—a couple centuries’ worth--but we still visit in person a couple times a year, as we try to do with all our producers. After all, it’s these relationships that allow us to source such beautiful coffees in the first place.