Mail-Order Coffee: 3 Extraordinary Coffees Worth Ordering from Overseas
If you're feeling a little flush and are looking for something delicious and new to blow that extra dough on, why not put it toward shipping and handling on a bag of beans roasted by one of these three exceptional overseas coffee artisans?
Former World Barista Champion and current owner of an eponymous roastery-cafe in Norway's capital city, Tim Wendelboe consistently churns out some of the finest coffees—and most interesting ideas about coffee—in the world. A well-curated selection of single origins is Wendelboe's M.O., and each coffee comes with as much detail as possible about climate, processing, variety, and producers.
Try the Kapsokisio from a co-op in western Kenya, situated on top of Mt. Elgon; you can read vastly more about it in the roaster's eloquent own words here. Light, tea-like and intensely floral, it is a stunning little extravagance that may have you making room in your budget for regular shipments from Norway. 110 NOK (about $18.50) for 250g whole bean coffee, available from timwendelboe.no
Square Mile Coffee
Another former World Barista Champion who set out to roast the best coffees he can find, Square Mile owner James Hoffmann was deeply involved the first major push for seasonality in coffee. By respecting coffee as a perishable product (it does come from a fruit after all), Hoffmann has managed to source and sell some of the best and brightest, and since they're only around while at their peak, you know it's only a matter of months before another new and wonderful bag of something is on the offering sheet.
His dedication to using only the freshest green beans in his selections pays off perhaps best of all in the company's Red Brick espresso; currently bringing together a super sweet Costa Rican and a jammy Guatemalan coffee (Finca Cacao and Finca Culpan, respectively), Red Brick is likely to change before too long, so get while the getting's good. 7.5 EUR (about $9.30) for 250g whole bean coffee, available from shop.squaremilecoffee.com
Market Lane Coffee
I know, I know: Coffee already travels around the world to get to its final destination, and shipping it across several oceans again seems excessive. But every once in a while, the extra trip is worth it. Especially when it means ordering beans from Melbourne, Australia's Market Lane, a specialty roaster dedicated to traceability, quality in the cup, and the careful sourcing of consistently fantastic single-origin coffees.
Currently, Market Lane is offering something special enough to warrant the globetrotting: Cascara "tea," or the dried pulp of the coffee cherry, which can be steeped in hot water for a sweet, syrupy, and intensely floral beverage. The word cascara means "husk" in Spanish, and while a similarly made drink called qishir is popular in the Middle East, it's an uncommon export from Latin America, where Market Lane's cherry is from. (Farmers in Central and South America typically use the spent fruit for compost material, but some are starting take the care to sort and dry it for this purpose.) $6 AUS (about $6.30 USD) for 100g tea, available from marketlane.com.au
About the author: Erin Meister trains baristas and inspires coffee-driven people for Counter Culture Coffee. She's a confident barista, an audacious eater, and a smiling runner, but she remains a Nervous Cook.