Fonté’s 24th version of Holiday Blend combines three peaberry beans—Brasilian, Aged Sumatra, and Tanzanian. What makes it so unique? The peaberry bean is created when only one of two seeds develops in the original fruit; it is known for its distinguished oval shape, and represents only two to eight percent of seeds produced by a given coffee tree. Below, Fonté’s master roaster, Steve Smith, describes the inspiration and detail that consummates this year’s Holiday Blend.
The theme for Holiday Blend 2016 began with the arrival in August of a sample of Brasilian Peaberry from our friend Sergio Dias at JC Coffee. Grown in the highly respected region of Carmo de Minas, this coffee was a standout in blind cuppings with huge creamy body and rich caramel and chocolate aromas. We had to have it—the only downside was very limited quantities (less than 10 bags!). Almost simultaneously we encountered a very unusual offer—4 bags of genuine Aged Sumatra Peaberry. Quality Aged Sumatras have become more and more scarce since we began using them in the early 90s. Their distinctive, highly prized mellowness and cedar toned aromas create a fierce competition for a very limited annual supply. To find such a gem in peaberry form is unprecedented in our experience, and we tucked our four bags away in a corner of the warehouse with our newly arrived Brasil. The final piece of our Holiday 2016 puzzle was the addition of a beautiful Tanzania Peaberry. Tanzanian farmers have made a specialty of offering peaberry coffee for years. These coffees are grown by small farmers and delivered to regional washing stations that sort and process the coffee for export. They possess a light, clean crispness most notable in an array of citrus flavors.
Why all the fuss about peaberries? What we know as the coffee “bean” is the seed of the coffee tree, developed inside the berry-sized fruit, most commonly as one of a pair, each with one flat and one rounded side. The most common mutation in coffee bean morphology is the “peaberry,” the result of only one seed developing in an individual fruit. Peaberries are rounded ovals, with no flat side, and represent two to eight percent of the seeds produced by a given coffee tree. Some origins sort out their peaberry, some leave it mixed in with the flatbean. Some tasters prize the peaberry as having all the plant energy of two seeds packed into one, others dismiss this theory as botanically inaccurate. We can say with certainty that peaberries absorb heat differently than flatbean coffees, their uniformity of size and density allow for a beautifully even roast.
WE DONATE 100% OF THE PROCEEDS
It’s been our practice at Fonté to create a unique annual Holiday Blend, something special that invokes the traditions and new memories of the holiday season. It has also become tradition for us to share our holiday spirit to the benefit of our friends at Pike Market Child Care & Preschool. Serving the community since 1982, Pike Market Child Care & Preschool extends high quality services for over 100 families annually, providing financial assistance for over 70 percent of enrolled families, of which half earn incomes at or below the poverty level. The school raises over $250,000 in support of these programs each year. It’s now our pleasure to offer our 24th version of Holiday Blend, donating all proceeds from its sale to support the Pike Market Child Care & Preschool’s nutrition program.
Our Holiday Blend 2016 is all about “good things come in small packages.” It is created with small, rare coffees and small beans in peaberry form to benefit small children in our community. Enjoy it today during special gatherings of friends and family, or with yourself as a well-deserved self-indulgence.
Smooth, aged aromas that blossom at first sip and dissolve into bright citrus notes, and reappear in a wonderfully balanced aftertaste with distinctive cedar aromas over sweet citrus and caramel chocolate flavors.