Our Beans: 100% Coffea Arabica.
Mandela Coffee sources only 100% Coffea Arabica. Originally indigenous to the highlands of Ethiopia, Coffea Arabica is widely believed to be the first cultivated species of coffee. Today, C. arabica is farmed internationally in tropical and subtropical regions, and is prized in specialty coffee roasting. Mandela Coffee believes that Coffea Arabica plants yield the purest expression of coffee flavor.
The C. arabica plant requires approximately 7 years to mature, with flowers emerging in the first 2 to 4 years. During this time coffee farmers must meticulously cultivate the plants, including proper irrigation and pruning. The species flourishes in regions with average annual temperatures between 60 and 80° F, steady rainfall, and moderate to high altitudes. Mature plants produce cherries containing two coffee beans each; these fruits ripen to a rich, glossy red. The annual yield of single tree can vary greatly depending on care and climate – from 1 pound to 11 pounds of dried coffee beans.
Production of exceptional coffee begins with diligent cultivation of C. arabica trees, and extends to the harvesting, selection, and processing of the resulting coffee fruit.
All our sourced beans are hand-picked during optimal harvest times and rigorously inspected to ensure the highest level of quality.
Mandela Coffee trusts our name to only the most skilled coffee farmers.
Let us introduce you to the regions from where we source our green coffee beans.
Asoprokia – Cesar, Colombia
Our Fair Trade, Organic Colombian beans come from the Farmers of the Asociacion de Productores Agro Ecologicos de la Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, abbreviated Asoprokia. The Co-op is located in the Cesar Department of northern Colombia; this department is situated between the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta region, the Serrania del Perija mountain range, the valleys of the Cesar and Magdalena Rivers, and the Cienaga de Zapatosa marsh in the Caribbean region.
The Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta region is a coastal mountain range that runs through Colombia along the Caribbean Sea. The Sierra Nevada’s peaks reach an altitude of 18,700 feet, and the range consists of diverse ecoregions that vary with elevation. A dry scrub region lies at low elevation near the coastline, the Sinu Valley dry forests cover the lower slopes, and the Santa Marta Paramo grassland belt between 10,800 feet and 16,000 feet is located below the high elevation permanent snow caps.
In 2008, the Asoprokia Co-op was established to unite dedicated local coffee producers in the Cesar Department. The Co-op developed a strategic marketing plan that has consolidated and strengthened the region’s coffee industry, resulting in new economic opportunities. The moderate elevation of the Sierra Nevada region, combined with fertile soil and excellent natural irrigation, allow for a long growing season and produce excelso (medium-large) beans. The farmers of Asoprokia take great pride in hand-picking their coffee fruit at ideal harvesting times. The Co-op also practices traditional sun-drying, known as dry-processing, to enhance the natural richness of the beans. In this region, coffee farming is both a lifestyle and a masterful artform. The caliber of the Co-op’s coffee beans is the best reflection of the high standards of coffee farming in Colombian Sierra Nevada region.
ASDECAFE – Huehuetenango
The Huehuetenango municipality of western Guatemala extends across the Sierra de los Cuchumatanes mountain range, which is the highest non-volcanic mountain range in Central America. The Huehuetenango coffee growing region, internationally renowned as one of the most prominent coffee-producing areas in the world, is concentrated at high altitudes – between 4,260 feet and 5,640 feet above sea level.
Our Fair Trade, Organic Guatemalan beans come from the ASDECAFE producer association in Huehuetenango. ASDECAFE is a Spanish acronym for the Sustainable Coffee Association of Guatemala. The association, founded in 2013, is currently comprised of 9 coffee producer organizations in the Huehuetenango region, and is looking to expand to the El Quiche region. All members work on small, privately owned coffee farms. ASDECAFE is committed to reducing the environmental footprint left by the farming and processing of specialty coffee in Guatemala, and uses only environmentally sustainable practices. Members employ the wet-processing method. First, the coffee fruit is hand-picked, sorted, and cleaned. The pulp is then removed from the cherry before drying – a distinct difference from the dry-processing method. If the pulp does not peel off easily from the bean during this step, the fruit is not completely ripe and is filtered out. After washing, the remaining beans are referred to as “parchment”; this describes the final layer that still covers the green beans. The parchment layer is removed using a miller, and the beans are prepared for roasting.
ASDECAFE farms adhere to these rigorous procedures to produce specialty SHB beans. SHB refers to “strictly hard beans”, and is applied to coffee beans that are grown at high altitudes. High-altitude beans are hard and dense due to a slow maturation process, and as a result their flavor becomes more concentrated, consistent, and vibrant. ASDECAFE beans are characteristic of the excellence of Huehuetenango coffee farming, and the association works diligently to ensure equality for all farmers while embracing sustainability.
OUR ROASTING PROCESS
Roasting green coffee beans is both a carefully controlled scientific process and an adroit artform. During roasting, varying levels of heat induce a series of chemical reactions that transform green beans into characteristic roasted blends. The process is complex – indeed, every green coffee bean can express more than 110 aromatic compounds! Expert roasting involves a practiced ability to “read” the beans, and know exactly when to heat and cool the batch.
Our team is talented, dedicated, and enthusiastic.
Meet Mandela Coffee’s mentor and quality control consultant, Todd Arnette.
Todd Arnette is a Q Grade Instructor for the Coffee Quality Institute (CQI) and a Specialized Lead Instructor for the Specialty Coffee Association of America (SCAA).
A Q Grader is licensed by the CQI to grade and score coffees using the established standards of the SCAA. A Q Grade certification is internationally recognized; there are approximately 4,000 Q Graders worldwide, and only 35 Q Grade Instructors.
Mr. Arnette is currently the Chair of the Educational Pathways Committee for the SCAA, and he is also the founder of the Academy of Coffee Excellence located in Williamsburg, Virginia. In addition to these credentials, his extensive resume includes:
- Certified Roaster and Barista
- Member of the Specialty Coffee Association of Europe
- Member of the National Coffee Association
- Member of the Roasters Guild and Barista Guild of America
Mr. Arnette is an expert in the field of specialty coffee, and Mandela Coffee is fortunate to have such a renowned professional working with our team.
At Mandela Coffee, we understand that every country, every region, every roasting batch… and ultimately every coffee bean possesses a unique flavor profile. As a result, we are committed to individually roasting every batch of our high quality green beans to fully express the signature profiles.
Mandela Coffee proudly roasts out of facilities in Williamsburg, Virginia and Lancaster County, Pennsylvania.