Andros Mitri, the co-founder of Cima Coffees, has an impressive commitment to the producers and the quality of the coffee they produce. Andros, his partner Yair Keidar (who runs the European side of sales), and Domingo Rosales (who runs cupping and grading at origin) are what make up the Cima team – a very small but effective group for being less than five years old. Cima’s commitment is centered on increasing the quality of each bean on each farm, year after year.

In the far western region of Honduras, a small city of about ten thousand, La Labor, serves as the rendezvous point for Finca La Guadalupe, owned and run by Selin Recinos Jr. Selin’s farm was started some 40 years ago by his father, Selin Recinos Sr. From the very first time his coffee was cupped here at Tiny Footprint Coffee, it has stood out from the rest with a balanced acidity that leads to a clean and smooth mouthfeel.

 

Slowly but surely, through two generations of hard work, and dedication the small plot they started with has grown and is now part of a legacy that spans four families all descended from Selin Sr. & his wife, Petrona. After Selin Sr.’s passing, Selin Jr. took over the family farm and now looks after his sister’s land as well as his own. His wife, Blanca, is a cupper and works with him to continue the legacy of quality and sustainability started in La Labor so long ago. Since meeting Andros and connecting with Cima Coffee, Selin Jr. has helped orchestrate the direct trade of his coffee. Together, Andros and Selin Jr. are working toward improving the traceability of highly sought coffee varieties while also consulting on a variety of projects, such as the construction of a wet mill in La Labor.

In 2003 Selin Jr. participated in the first coffee competition, a precursor to the Cup of Excellence, and won 4th place. This year, he entered his coffee in COCAFELOL’s annual competition that takes the best coffee from the Ocotepeque region in Honduras and he won 2nd place.
Beyond just growing quality coffee, Selin Jr. also demonstrates a strong commitment to coffee in more sustainable ways. He tries to minimize water use, protect the wildlife on his farms and continues to plant trees on his land. In 2017 alone, he planted 5,000 trees that will provide shade for future coffee growing areas.

 

What is the biggest change in your life as the winter thaws and the spring flowers bloom? We hope it’s more than putting on shorts for the first time, but what we really hope is that Cold Press coffee makes it back into your morning routine! It is that time of year again and we are happy to announce that Cold Press on tap is making a splash this year. To celebrate this highly-caffeinated-borderline-addictive brew, we felt it was only fitting we had our own handmade custom tap handles.

 

The Maker

Richard Venberg, the artist behind the tap handles, is a long time wood worker who now calls Minnesota home. After various odds jobs in the wood working industry, trying to figure out what he wanted to do, he started a custom furniture and cabinetry shop in Longmont, Colorado and hasn’t looked back since. Over the next several years he took a serious interest in renewable energy and its future in the United States. In 1990, he decided to pursue this interest more directly and enrolled in the College of Architecture at the University of Minnesota with a focus on Sustainable Design — and boy are we glad he did! Though he came to Minnesota for school, he — like many — just decided to stay. Outside of education, Richard was also an active member on the American Institute of Architects Minnesota – Committee on the Environment (AIA MN-COTE) for 12 years, helping to build the green housing movement in its earliest stages.

 

Richard has completed projects all across the spectrum of fine wood working. Most recently, Richard worked on building a cedar shed — and even more recently, our tap handles. But Richard also has experience in flooring, cabinets, home additions and staircases.

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Richard created the staircase pictured here without any mechanical fasteners, just traditional wood joinery techniques. That means no nails, screws, or bolts holding this staircase together, simply oak wood.

 

To use on his many projects, Richard has an extensive inventory of unconventional, secondhand, sustainably sourced wood. One of the pieces we used to make a tap handle was from California Redwood that had been turned into a deck on Lake Harriet home 50 years ago. Another, our personal favorite, came from a structural beam from a nearby Minneapolis home made of original, old growth Minnesota pine, dating back to the 1790s. Before these small, leftover pieces of former projects were turned into tap handles, they stood a part of many iconic Minnesota locations.

 

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All of this may you leave you wondering why in the world we went to such an experienced  wood worker to have something as simple as tap handles made. Richard’s strong commitment to environmentally friendly production seemed to match with our own sustainable missions; he has experience in eco-friendly finishes, a wide selection of sustainable wood and his wood shop is right in his backyard. In our eyes, he was the perfect combination of custom and professional work. And if that wasn’t enough, Richard is a incredibly humble man, who at no point made us feel like he was too skilled for this project.

 

For over fifteen years now, Richard has been running his wood working business out of his backyard studio. The shop itself boasts a green roof full of vegetables by mid summer, passive solar collection to power his radiant in-floor heating, and a large skylight for day lighting. It was featured on the Minneapolis-St. Paul Home and Garden Tour in 2006 and has been on the National Solar Home Tour for the past fourteen years. 

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The Cold Press

Now that you know everything about our tap handles, let’s talk about the Cold Press. For those of you who are just climbing on the Cold Press band wagon we’ll give you a little introduction. We blend a mix of light and dark roast beans, grind them coarsely, and soak them for approximately 18 hours before we squeeze as much of the concentrate out of the grounds when finished. This makes a wonderfully rich but balanced finished product. The subtle sweet notes in the beginning soon become a rush of milk chocolate flavors, with a refreshing finish. We like it best when served ice cold on tap. But don’t just take our word for it– try it yourself. You can find our Cold Press on tap in the Minneapolis Skyways at SIMPLS, in the Como neighborhood of St. Paul at Healing Elements and at the Minneapolis Farmers Market every weekend from now until October.

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Welcome to Summer!

BROOKLYN CENTER, MN —

 

Tiny Footprint Coffee, the world’s first carbon-negative coffee, has crossed the $100,000 threshold in its funding toward the reforestation of the Mindo Cloudforest in Ecuador.

 

In partnership with the Mindo Cloudforest Foundation, Tiny Footprint has donated a portion of its coffee sales to the foundation’s reforestation projects, resulting in the planting of more than 74,000 trees in the Cloudforest since 2010, when the coffee was launched.

 

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In funding the reforestation of the Mindo Cloudforest, Tiny Footprint Coffee is able to credibly offset the carbon footprint in creates in the production and distribution of its coffee. With each pound of coffee sold, Tiny Footprint donates a portion toward the planting of trees, which, throughout their lifetime, will take out 54 pounds of carbon emissions from the atmosphere.

 

“It makes me smile thinking about how something that was just an idea in 2009 is now Tiny Footprint Coffee,” said Alan Krohnke, co-founder and co-owner of Tiny Footprint Coffee. “We’re making a difference in people’s lives, enhancing bio-diversity and fighting climate change all by having fun producing delicious, sustainable coffee. We could not have done it without a whole lot of people: the farmers and coffee pros in source countries; our talented team members; our incredible wholesale customers; and most importantly their customers — the people who drink our coffee day in and day out.”

 

In Ecuador, the Mindo Cloudforest Foundation has been able to contribute to the local economy through job creation and nursery sales beyond the project itself. The reforestation and preservation also contributes to habitat creation in one of the wettest and most bio-diverse places on the planet, an area that includes five BirdLife International Important Bird Areas (IBA).

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As Tiny Footprint continues to donate, the Mindo Cloudforest Foundation plans to maintain its educational programs for researchers and students across the globe, in addition to continuing reforestation efforts in the Valley of Mindo and in Milpe.

 

Tiny Footprint’s environmental impact goes beyond the partnership with Mindo. By selling coffee to a growing community of sustainability-minded coffee retailers and coffee drinkers, Tiny Footprint is able to help bring an impact closer to individuals.

 

“Looking forward, I’m humbled by the task of making Tiny less “tiny” and more impactful for all of our partners and fans.” Krohnke added.

 

To learn more about Tiny Footprint Coffee, visit www.tinyfootprintcoffee.com.

 



As many of you know, Tiny Footprint recently sent me (Thomas) to Peru to get a first hand look (and taste) of the culture of coffee in Peru. We have been buying the same coffee from CenfroCafe in Jaén, Peru for the last four years, and we have good reason. If you are in need of a clean, balanced cup of coffee that you can drink all day long, the Peru APU is what you are looking for. Below is a glimpse into the Cenfrocafe warehouse. The blue bags are the APU, the coffee we buy. As you can see it’s a small percentage of the total amount of coffee they sell.

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Right now, the APU is among the best coffee coming out of Peru. Higher scoring coffees receive higher premiums, which allow farmers to not just subsist – but flourish. Not only do the APU lots give the farmer an incentive to take the steps necessary to increase the quality of their coffee (higher premiums), but it shows us as coffee drinkers that Peru is capable of producing high quality coffee.

Relative to their neighboring countries, Peru is a newbie in the specialty coffee world. There are a few main reasons for Peru’s slower climb to the speciality coffee realm. For one, there isn’t a national organized body to represent Peru’s coffee industry as a whole. Adding this body of organization has made a big difference on quality in other countries, such as Colombia. Such a central organizing body helps coordinate among different regions and stakeholders throughout the supply chain to make the processes more efficient.

 

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The coffee infrastructure in Peru is also still developing. Most producers are doing their own wet processing and drying on their own land, which makes consistency difficult to manage on a large scale. Adding to the difficulty, these farm locations are often many miles from the coffee drop off locations. The producer must either bring his coffee to town right after drying, which is often inefficient, or he must wait to fill an entire truck, resulting in an even longer waiting period. The coffee can sit out on the drying bed (usually a tarp on the ground) for so long that repeated wetting and drying occurs – degrading the potential of the bean.

 

These are not impossibly high hurdles, especially with the dedication of the farmers. The villages we visited on this trip were committed to investing in better infrastructure (namely, raised drying screen with rain covers) in order to improve the quality of the cup, which would ultimately raise the producer’s premiums. The coffee we purchase from CenfroCafe is Fair Trade certified but these quality premiums are essential to improving the quality of life for the producers that help us wake up in the morning.

 

Yet understanding the local culture around the coffee is just as important as understanding the industry itself. We were able to spend an entire afternoon with the people of Corrazon de Jesus – dancing and sharing a meal high in the mountain, 1850 meters up. While in the city itself—in between cuppings of course—we spent time at local restaurants and attractions— we even went the zoo.

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It was an incredibly humbling experience to see coffee from the other end. As a specialty wholesaler, we don’t often get to interact with the coffee drinker, but even less so the producers. Again, we are reminded that—despite the distance—we all play a larger role in each other’s lives than we may think, from farmer, to roaster, to you.