SoCo Roasters is providing unique and high-quality coffees to its cafés through its quarterly single origin program.
When SoCo Roasters introduced itself to the coffee community at the 2019 Melbourne International Coffee Expo, its goal was to deliver great coffee.
It did this with its Society Blend, a blend of Zambian and Colombian coffees, with distinctive dark chocolate and cherry favours. In the year since, SoCo Roasters has firmed its footing and is using its platform to introduce the best single origin coffees to cafés through its quarterly program.
“After launching the SoCo brand in Melbourne in 2019, we now supply nationally and the single origin program complements our core Society Blend,” SoCo Roasters Marketing Manager Burcu De La Cruz says.
“It allows the café to serve coffee in a different way, like brewed as filter, and offer a wider range. We always look for different unique tastes and explore different regions to find the perfect variety of flavours.”
SoCo’s current single origin is from Tirra Estate in the Tarrazu region of Costa Rica. The coffee features a creamy body with a delicate mandarin acidity. Its tasting notes include apricots and stone fruit upfront with a sweet caramel finish.
The Tarrazu region is a rural community known throughout the world for its traditional values and leadership in growing fine coffees. The Coopetarrazu cooperative, located in the heart of Tarrazu, promotes environmentally sustainable farming practices in the community. The group has implemented a Coffee Culture Quality of Life Sustainability plan to track its environmental impact and implement better practices. This creates a culture of environmental respect among its members and their children.
Through this plan, Coopetarrazu offers free seeds and soil analysis to its members, allowing farmers to undertake reforestation and understand how topography and surrounding ecosystems impact their soil. This empowers farmers to adjust their practices according to specific soil needs.
Coopetarrazu also educates the youth of the community on the tracking of birds and insect populations, and the important role these species play in coffee production and ecosystem maintenance.
The cooperative also provides on-site housing to support seasonal migrant workers and organises festivals throughout the year celebrating their indigenous cultural heritage. To SoCo, these traditions are as important to share as the coffee itself.
“Every region and every farmer comes with a unique story. We aim to share the everyday interesting stories of these producers and promote them at every opportunity,” Burcu says.
SoCo launched its quarterly single origin program not long after the brand was introduced last February. The growing roaster has so far highlighted coffees from Zambia, Ethiopia, and Colombia.
Burcu says when seeking coffees to highlight as a single origin, SoCo Master Roaster Giuseppe Cianchi looks for those that stand out from the crowd.
“We try to involve the whole supply chain process from the grower to the café, with regular visits to different origins to source unique flavours we can bring back to the community,” Giuseppe says. “This allows coffee drinkers to appreciate that specific distinction from that particular region.”
With such valuable and limited coffees, it’s important for SoCo to treat them with the utmost care. A limited amount of coffee is purchased from each small local farm. The coffee is roasted “to perfection”, meaning there are only minimal roasting trials before the team settles with the one that it thinks is best.
The single origins are roasted for espresso and filter preparation, providing cafés with multiple avenues to serve the coffee. Like SoCo’s Society Blend, extraction time will determine the taste. Longer extractions will bring out more of the flavours, while shorter extractions highlight the acidity.
The quarterly nature of the single origin program means that SoCo can guarantee the coffee’s uniqueness during that time of the year and availability. It also provides the roaster with time to showcase these coffees and select the best beans possible to share next.
To help cafés make the most of the coffees, SoCo offers tasting cards which outline the flavours of the coffee, and depict its sweetness, body, bitterness, and acidity in a flavour wheel. Recipes or targets, information about the origin and producer, and processing methods are also featured.
So far, SoCo’s single origins have included washed and natural processed coffees, two methods providing a different coffee experience. Its current Costa Rican coffee, for instance, is a natural, meaning the coffee has been dried while the cherry is still on the bean, giving it a fruitier flavour. SoCo is also looking at different methods, such as the honey process, which will bring even more sweet and fruity flavours to the surface.
With the story behind the coffee of utmost importance, SoCo is developing a second blend that focuses on the improving the working conditions of its producers. The blend will be Fairtrade Organic certified, ensuring the livelihoods of its farmers is secured through that renowned and accountable organisation.
“We really want to highlight the sustainability of this blend and where these beans come from,” Burcu says.
SoCo aims for the blend to reach the market in the second half of 2020. In the meantime, SoCo intends to continue growing its single origin program, sourcing from producers it knows grow good coffee, along with new and untouched regions.
“Single origin is growing due to its quality and particular taste. We see this continuing and will accommodate with more coffees and multiple offerings. This gives our cafés options as they become more interested in the origins of their coffee and the roasting process,” Burcu says.
“About one in three cafés in Australia have a second grinder for single origins and the number is growing.”
She says it’s important SoCo continues to innovate, developing and seeking new tastes and coffee profiles to accommodate interest and demand from cafés.
“We will continue to bring out unique single origin flavours and travel the world to ensure we are pleasing the taste buds of Australian coffee lovers.”
This article appears in the April 2020 edition of BeanScene. Subscribe HERE.
For more information, visit www.socoroasters.com.au