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This Week in Coffee: Focus on Farming – Climate Conditions

 

This week we continue to serve some wonderful coffee options from George Howell Coffee and Gracenote Coffee. Want a breakfast snack to accompany your morning coffee? Ask for some ham and cheese with one of our Iggy’s plain croissants and perhaps a hard boiled egg for a great boost of protein that will help start your day off on the right foot.

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For drip coffee, come in and choose from our George Howell menu options: Kenyan Karinga and Guatemalan La Bendición. Karinga is smooth and fruity with tea-like flavors of blackberry and apple. La Bendición is light and bright with lime, tangerine, and the sweetness of toffee.

Today in the hopper we are serving Gracenote’s Pulcal espresso from Guatemala. This sweet and rich roast highlights dessert flavors of caramel, brownie, and key lime pie. Coming up next we will be serving a new Colombian option: Igna Mystique. We are excited to taste this medium roast and its flavor profile with caramel, cola, plum, and orange.

Focus on Farming: Climate Conditions

For the past couple of weeks we have been bringing you some basic background information on the many factors that affect coffee farming. We started with an overview, moved on to soil characteristics, and today we focus on climate in coffee growing regions.

All coffee is grown at latitudes between the Tropic of Cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn. Of course, the climate is not consistant (or ideal for coffee growing) across all areas of the tropics, and this variety contributes to different coffee characteristics and flavors once roasted and brewed.

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Photo Courtesy of George Howell Coffee

 

The optimal climate for coffee farming is one that involves moderate rainfall that arrives immediately after harvest before holding back during a dry season that allows the fruit to set. This dry season is then followed by a sustained period of morning rainfall and clear nights that provide nourishment for the growing coffee cherries. These periods of wet versus dry will define the harvest season of a given area. In areas right on the equator, like Colombia and Kenya, consistant rainfall throughout the year allows for two different major harvest seasons, while other regions have one specific harvest season each year. In some arid regions, lack of rainfall is not necessarily an issue if water can be brought in from river regions. For example, in the Cerrado of Brazil, water can be brought in from the amazon watershed to feed the large flat farms that are being used for mass production.

Other climatic conditions such as cloud cover, sun position, and topography all have a hand in affecting coffee growth and flavor. Ideal temperatures for farming fall between 45 degrees and 90 degrees year round, with large differences between daytime and nightime temperature. This temperature range is commonly found at higher elevations that can produce  wonderfully complex, floral, and balanced coffees.  That being said, higher elevations come with their own challenges of accessibility on steep hillsides, erosion control, and high winds that can damage plants. Check back next week for more information on elevation in Part 4: Altitude.

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Photo Courtesy of George Howell Coffee

For more detailed information on climate and coffee growing regions, check out the George Howell Website page on the subject. Want to see George Howell himself talk about this subject and many other coffee production and brewing topics? Check out our post about the “What’s Brewing” series on Lex Media.