The search for a great cup of coffee is often like the quest for the Holy Grail, well search no further. The Holy Grail is our premium blend of delicious speciality grade arabica coffees, created to satisfy even the most caffeine hungry pilgrim.
||50% Ethiopia, Gidey, Limu Kossa (Washed) - organic
30% Ethiopia, Gidey, Limu Kossa (Natural) - organic
||20% Guatemalan, Red de Mujeres (Washed) - organic, FT
Pache, Bourbon, Caturra
||Gidey Berhe Retta
Well-rounded, and complex flavour profile with high acidity and plenty of fruit.
Concocted in our Holy Island roasting yurt for you, this seasons Holy Grail blend is now comprised of both Ethiopian Washed and Natural coffee from Gidey, along with a handful of the powerful washed Guatemalan beans we know and love, all the coffee in this blend is certified organic, with our Guatemalan also certified fairtrade.
Coffee is native to Ethiopia, and the legend of Kaldi, the goat herder that allegedly discovered the effects of the bright red cherries growing wild in the Ethiopian forest, is lorded about niche coffee houses from here to Alnmouth.
The famous forest coffee plantations are awash with diversity, where the coffee plants grow blissfully amongst the native forest and are the healthiest and happiest coffee trees you’ll see anywhere in the world. Organic production is widespread in Ethiopia where in many countries this is completely unviable due to pervasive disease. It may be the diversity afforded by the forest growing environment slows the spread of disease. There are many contributing factors to the uniqueness of Ethiopian coffee from the growing systems to the diversity of varieties. The result is a country filled with coffee that is some of the best quality in the world.
Our coffee is named after Gidey Berhe, the owner of Limu Kossa Agro Industry PLC, located far in the West of Ethiopia in an area known as Limu Kossa. Gidey farms his coffee on a 350 hectare farm that sits at 1840-2130 meters above sea level. The farm is meticulously maintained, from the trees to the signs dividing the lot sections. The land was once wild forest and has been thinned slightly to accommodate the coffee, but the feeling of quiet solitude is prevalent amongst the native trees.
The coffee is picked by 400 seasonal workers employed during harvest season. At the farm's collection station, green cherries are sorted out before their bags are weighed for payment.
The mill processes around 20,000kg of cherry per day during the peak of the season. The natural process coffee is dried for 24 hours under cover before being placed in the full sun for a further 7-10 days.
The Red de Mujeres, network of women, is a large group of indigenous female coffee producers covering five different areas of Huehuetenango. The group is made up of 830 women. This lot comes from the San Antonio Huista area and is from 50 producers. Within the entire community of women there are 8 different mayan languages spoken, highlighting the diversity of culture and language in this area of Guatemala.
Coffee has helped fuel Guatemala’s economy for over a hundred years. Today, an estimated 125,000 coffee producers drive Guatemala’s coffee industry and coffee remains one of Guatemala’s principal export products, accounting for 40% of all agricultural export revenue.
It is most likely that Jesuit missionaries introduced coffee to Guatemala, and there are accounts of coffee being grown in the country as early as mid-18th century. Nonetheless, as in neighbouring El Salvador, coffee only became an important export crop for the country at the advent of synthetic dyes and industrialisation of textiles – in the mid-19th century. Throughout the latter half of the 1800s, various government programs sought to promote coffee as a means to stimulate the economy, including a massive land privatisation program initiated by President Justo Rufino Barrias in 1871, which resulted in the creation of large coffee estates, many of which still produce some of Guatemala’s best coffees today.
Today, coffee is grown in 20 of Guatemala’s 22 departments, with around 270,000 hectares planted under coffee, almost all of which (98%) is shade grown. The country’s production is almost exclusively Arabica and is most commonly prepared using the washed method, though natural and various semi-washed methods are gaining in popularity, with increasingly producing fine examples.
Guatemala benefits from high altitudes and as many as 300 unique micro climates. There is constant rainfall in most regions and mineral-rich soils. However, while the country’s reputation as a producer of speciality coffee is stellar today, it hasn’t been an easy road. Guatemala’s long and bloody civil war (1960-1996) disrupted millions of lives, eroded the economy, exacerbated poverty and created social and political instability that still plagues the country today. Coffee production really only stabilised and began to increase at the turn of the century, displacing macadamia and avocado production in many areas.
Since the early 1990s, Anacafé, the country’s coffee board, has led pioneering efforts to define the country’s coffee-producing regions based on cup profile, climate, soil, and altitude. As a result of this ambitious project, 8 distinct regions producing Strictly Hard Bean (SHB) coffees have been identified in Guatemala:
Of the three non-volcanic regions, Huehuetenango is the highest and driest coffee producing region. Thanks to the dry, hot winds that blow into the mountains from Mexico’s Tehuantepec plain, the region is protected from frost, allowing Highland Huehue to be cultivated up to 6,500 feet (2,000 meters). These high altitudes and relatively predictable climate make for exceptional specialty coffee!
The extreme remoteness of Huehuetenango virtually requires all producers to process their own coffee. Fortunately, the region has plenty rivers and streams, so a mill can be placed almost anywhere.