Summit’s relationship with the Koke cooperative has expanded tremendously in the three years we’ve been sourcing from it. In 2018, we first introduced the washed processed coffee from Koke, and now we’re releasing the natural processed crop. It’s one of our favorite coffees that we bring in every harvest, and the 2018 version is the best yet.
The Cooperative | Our importing partners Ally have a long-standing relationship with the family-owned Koke washing station, which was built in 2011 and has seen many improvements since 2015, when the washing station staff began providing guidance to contributing producers regarding steps to take for increased coffee quality. The Koke station stands on the side of a hill, with coffee grown above and below the station. For the last three years, the Koke station managers have been separating out the higher elevation cherries for Ally, and the quality clearly shows. 96 small scale farmers provided cherries to Koke this harvest, most of them multigenerational family farmers.
Their many generations of experience is evident in Natural coffees that are dried on the washing station’s 106 raised beds for 21 days before resting for a month in a well-ventilated storehouse. Cherries are sorted by hand upon arrival to the washing station to remove the less dense cherries. Tarps are often used to keep the coffee from drying too quickly and losing its beautiful and characteristic cup profile. When coffee is dried inside the cherry, it is milled to removed the dried pulp and parchment at the same time.
Our Take | Evan Pollitt, Summit’s Director of Coffee: “Koke Natural was a fan favorite last year and one that I was excited to work with again. Because of their processing style, natural coffees have very intense flavors. Sweet berry and fruit flavors especially are off the charts.
To make sure that those characteristics really stood out I chose use a very balanced roast profile. I didn’t want to diminish any of the natural acidity and risk making the coffee overly sweet. Nor did I want to tamp down any of the sweetness; after all, that’s a defining trait of naturally processed coffees. By roasting Koke Natural to be as balanced and clean as possible, the natural sweetness would win out with some nice highlights from the acidity already present.”