Our Coffee

Zephyr Coffee Merchants sources from single estates, smallholder cooperatives, government exchanges, and of course, our own origin operations. We travel constantly and have an especially strong network in terms of producer contact, traceability, access to volume, and preparation flexibility in origins where we maintain a presence. Zephyr trades top coffees from specialty origins with a focus on quality, consistency, and value.

Although we lack origin presence in Decaflandia, our relationships with providers are good. We consistently maintain a diverse inventory of types, sustainability certs, and of course: decaffeination processes. Our normal offerings range from MC blends to Swiss Water Process single origins. Please see our offerlist for what we have available and don’t hesitate to ask for something missing from the list, we’re sending green coffee for processing all the time.

Please click below for a list of individual countries in detail about what we often source:

Costa Rica

For all its rich coffee culture, Costa Rica is a shrinking supplier and has been for years, focusing on quality and developing demand outside commercial channels. In 2011 exports reached just 1.2m bags, down from over 2m a decade before. Better get there early if you want the good stuff.

For quite some time, we’ve been loyal to a few private mills that have been loyal to us. Their top blends bring back the same buyers each year. Fair Trade and Rainforest Alliance certified coffees of the non-organic variety are readily available.

Types Sourced
  • SHB EP
  • Brands: Las Trojas Superior, La Pastora
  • Regional: Tarrazu, West Valley, Central Valley
Sustainable Certs:

El Salvador

Quiet, consistent. El Salvador is value. A healthy percentage of Bourbon and Typica means sweet and smooth, and dry harvest conditions are a clean cup’s best friend. The few private estates, exporters and cooperatives that we work with know our types well and consistently exceed expectations. El Salvador is not to be overlooked.

Types Sourced
  • SHB EP
  • SHB EP zephyr+
Sustainable Certs:

Guatemala

If only all coffee was as good as a top Guatemalan. Perhaps Central America’s most complete cup, a true top flight Guat is deep and rich, bright and crisp, round and full… now you’ve got us going.

ZGC’s supplier list is short and sweet, focusing on the estates, exporters and cooperatives that have maintained their consistency through market volatility and challenging crops experienced the last few years.

Types Sourced
  • SHB EP
  • SHB EP zephyr+
  • Regional: Antigua, Huehuetenango, Atitlan, Acatenango, Fraijanes, San Marcos
Sustainable Certs:

Honduras

“Honduras” has been synonymous with “potential” for as long as specialty can remember. Remember? Unfortunately, limited processing capacity in a growing origin, the wet parchment trade and long layovers in San Pedro Sula confound the best of intentions. Only with some upstream reach can you rest assured.

Louis Dreyfus entered Honduras just in time for the 2011/2012 crop, and we couldn’t be happier. The next evolution in our origination efforts involves working more closely with estates and small producers, replicating what we’ve done elsewhere, adding value along the chain and contributing to processing capacity and the supply base. If you build it, they will come.

Types Sourced
  • SHB EP
  • SHB EP zephyr+
  • Regional: Marcala, Comayagua, Copan
Sustainable Certs:

Nicaragua

The Land of Lakes and Volcanoes. We can say that without being trite because we’ve been there, lived there and fallen in love with the place. Our Nicaraguan estate relationships are strong and represent the best of what Central America can offer in terms of conservation, cultivation, processing and a consistent quality profile. Outside of estates, cooperatives maintain a major presence and we partner with a few of the best to provide Fair Trade and Fair Trade Organic to roasters in the US, Canada and Europe.

Types Sourced
  • SHB EP
  • SHB EP zephyr+
  • Regional: Matagalpa/Jinotega, Segovia
Sustainable Certs:

Panama

Panama is tiny in annual production, but what it lacks in size it more than makes up for in the cup. Our Panamas come from small gemlike farms with mills that are watched over by proud families who have worked the same land for generations. Micromills have been the status quo here from day one. Flavor profiles range from the heady jasmine and citrus notes of the famous Gesha coffees to the sweet, lush, full-bodied cups characteristic of the other (less hyped but just as enjoyable) varietals grown here. Get it while you can. Coffee farms continue to be lost in this idyllic spot of eternal spring.

Types Sourced
  • SHB EP single Estates
  • Regional: Boquete, Volcan, Santa Clara
Sustainable Certs:

Mexico

Seems our little secret has gotten out. LD’s masterpiece of a mill sits high and dry in Perote’s cool climes, far from the swamp that is Veracruz. Coffee keeps through the year, and shiny new equipment means tight preparations and consistent delivery even late in the season. Mexican coffee is back.

Having a local team also means having greater access to small producer groups. We’ve been able to build the sustainable supply base through direct investment, harvest financing and technical support for a handful of cooperatives in Chiapas. It’s a successful model that we’re hoping to replicate elsewhere.

Types Sourced
  • SHB EP
  • SHB EP zephyr+
  • Regional: Chiapas, Huatusco, Oaxaca, Nayarit
Sustainable Certs:

Brazil

Whatever you need, you can find it in Brazil. Coffee too. When Brazilians aren’t drinking it they manage to export a few bags, providing a natural foundation for the world blend. But not everything Brazilian is a blender. Specialty and Sustainability are alive and well and growing, and roasters everywhere have taken notice.

Louis Dreyfus Brazil has more than 20 years of experience exporting green coffee and continues to maintain a strong presence throughout the country’s vast producer landscape. With mills in Sul de Minas, Zona de Mata and Espirito Santo, as well as origination offices in Mogiana, Cerrado and the Conilon lands to the north, we enjoy full coverage. Zephyr has paired well, establishing signature blends and coordinating direct relationships with cooperatives and private estates through the local team.

Types Sourced
  • 2/3 15/16 SS Fine Cup
  • 2 17/18 SS Fine Cup
  • Peaberry Fine Cup
  • Brands: Siriema
  • Regional: Cerrado
Sustainable Certs:

Colombia

Coffee’s first single origin, Colombia is actually several distinct growing regions spread over a range of latitudes, topographies and climates. Since Colombia lost its momentum as the head-and-shoulders king of commercial milds, many producers have focused efforts on adding value through improving quality, highlighting regional differences and expanding upon sustainable offerings. We like that.

Louis Dreyfus Colombia has recently grown to become the country’s #1 private exporter, able to offer an enviable array of regions, preparations and sustainable certificates via mills in Eje Cafetero and Tolima. Cooperative partnerships have grown alongside this development as well, further expanding our reach. We expect to play an active role as Colombian coffee rebounds and redefines itself.

Types Sourced
  • Excelso EP 10%
  • Excelso EP 5%
  • Excelso EP zephyr+
  • Supremo 17/18
  • Supremo 18
  • Regional: Cauca, Huila, Popayan, Santa Marta, Bucaramanga
Sustainable Certs:

Peru

Peru balances the second half of the year with fresh coffee from the Southern Hemisphere. Considering the origin’s outright size, abundance of altitude and solid growing conditions, Specialty’s relationship with Peru is underdeveloped and leans heavily on volume-based supply of clean cupping and sustainably certified production.

We source through Louis Dreyfus mills in Chanchamayo and Jaen, covering the central and northern growing regions, respectively. Each represents a distinct maturation time and quality. In the north, we team with a strong team of cooperative suppliers as well, collaborating in finance and milling of sustainably certified coffees.

Types Sourced
  • SHB EP Grade 1
  • SHB EP Grade 1 zephyr+
  • Regional: Norte, Chanchamayo
Sustainable Certs:

Burundi

Burundi is a difficult origin to get right. Upstream stewardship has improved significantly, but transport, storage and government auctions all conspire to obscure traceability and limit greater development. Louis Dreyfus maintains an origination office there in order to participate directly in the auctions. The recent opening of individual washing stations to independent marketing has provided an opportunity to source higher quality pieces and to prepare more consistent lots. Considering that coffee generates a weighty portion of Burundi’s GDP, highest by percentage of any coffee growing country, any added value helps.

Types Sourced
  • Fully Washed B
  • Fully Washed A
  • Brands: Ngoma

Ethiopia

Ethiopia deserves the homage, even after a few difficult crops and the contrived export exchange that has made origination a greater chore than need be. The bulk and diversity of quality offerings available from coffee’s birthplace is truly impressive. Ethiopia almost always occupies enthusiasts’ short lists of favorite specialty origins.

We have a local agent and cupper (Q Grader, check) in Addis to provide ongoing offers and samples. He also maintains close contact with the large cooperatives and provides choice selections and good prices.

Types Sourced
  • Gr 2 Washed Limu
  • Gr 2 Yirgacheffe
  • Gr 2 Washed Sidamo
  • Gr 4 Natural Sidamo
  • Gr 4 Harrar
  • Gr 4 Lekempti
Sustainable Certs:

Kenya

Kenyan coffee is a labor of love (takes up all your time, costs you a bunch). Why else would you prep a few dozen samples, knowing that only a handful of lots will be worth an auction bid? Repeat this a few times over the course of a few weeks and you just might have a container’s worth to import. But it’s going to be good.

Fortunately for us, Louis Dreyfus operates a massive cupping lab in Nairobi, with representatives participating in every auction as well. Local expertise and supply proximity have made Zephyr AA and PB preps big winners, and the mixed container microlots aren’t too bad either. Future developments are tending towards direct farmer support and sustainable certificates, which has been a long time coming.

Types Sourced
  • AB FAQ
  • PB FAQ zephyr+
  • AA FAQ zephyr+
  • AA FAQ Auction Microlot
Sustainable Certs:

Rwanda

Zephyr’s Rwandan origination is slow and steady. The origin’s specialty movement has come a long way, but that critical mass of great coffee is still over the next hill. Although blessed with a unique and often exceptional cup profile (virtues of heirloom varietals, good altitude and a favorable climate), Rwandan coffees seem easily dismissed by those living in fear of … the potato cup. Knowing your suppliers well and clocking hours in the cupping lab are necessary for building successful trade flows. We’re big fans of Rwandan coffee, having had success with a cadre of very capable partners that care about quality and local LD agents who closely monitor what we source.

Types Sourced
  • Washed Ordinaire zephyr+
  • Fully Washed A
  • Brands: Inzovu

Tanzania

Peaberries, anyone? There’s actually far more to Tanzanian specialty coffee than PBs, and even they need a proper upbringing if they’re to reach their potential. ABs and AAs, sourced mainly via auction in Moshi but also from estates and cooperatives, can be special as well, highlighting when good the vibrant East African flavor profile most often associated with Tanzania’s neighbor to the north.

Speaking of Kenya, our local Tanzanian team also assists us with producer relationship building, quality control, auction participation and logistics and export, the importance of which cannot be underestimated in Tanzania. No matter what the pedigree or the processing, coffee sitting roadside or, worse, in Dar Es Salaam for too long will get a natural steaming.

Types Sourced
  • AB FAQ
  • PB FAQ zephyr+
  • AA FAQ zephyr+
  • Regional: North, South
Sustainable Certs:

India

Most press revolves around robusta, but India produces some excellent washed arabicas as well. Mysore Nuggets are the big boys – 19 screen beans from the Baba Budan region of Chikmagalur. Sweet, spicy, good body. Monsooned Malabar is another special specialty. Dry-processed arabica beans are exposed to monsoonal moisture in open-walled warehouses, then dried and sorted a second time. The beans swell up, become ghostly pale, and pick up a profound musty/peppery flavor with hints of cedar. Makes a great blend with other bold coffee and really does work well as an espresso component. We try to keep well stocked, sourcing from a local team that manages quality, preparation and export.

Types Sourced
  • Plantation A
  • Plantation AA
  • Mysore Nuggets Extra Bold
  • Monsooned Malabar
  • Brand: Mysore
Sustainable Certs:

Java

The PG13 version of Indonesian coffee … a lot of the body but not nearly as wild. The Javas that we source come from the government owned estates that are four old farms that have roots in Dutch colonialism. Javas are fully washed coffees and hence the especially clean cups. They have the most acidity of Indonesian coffees with a pleasant peppery spiciness.

Types Sourced
  • Grade 1
  • Estate: Blawan, Djampit, Kayumas, Pancoer

Sulawesi

Sulawesi is Sumatra’s wild and unruly twin. Although grown, harvested and processed nearly identically to Sumatra with a similar cup profile, Sulawesi can show more extremes of the brooding, fall leaves and damp earth cups that one expects from Indonesia. From complex spice combinations to hard-to-pin down fruit notes, Sulawesis are always an adventure and difficult to tame.

Types Sourced
  • Grade 1
  • Brand: Genuine Kalossi

Sumatra

So much to say, so little space. So many small farmers, hustling intermediaries, long winding roads and here today, gone tomorrow trading outfits all for one single irreplaceably irreproduceable cup of deep, rich, full-bodied goodness. Only one place to get it, and you better know where you’re getting it from.

We source Sumatrans via local LD agents that monitor price, cup locally and keep an eye on our supply. We’ve maintained relationships and developed a solid following with some further origin investment in the works.

Types Sourced
  • Grade 1
  • Regional: Mandheling, Lintong
Sustainable Certs:

Papua New Guinea

Papua New Guinea is just minutes by air from Northern Australia, but may as well be on another planet. Seven million people live here, speaking 850 languages on one of the most unexplored pieces of terra firma left. Growing coffee here is a difficult task. There is little in the way of infrastructure and frequent tribal warfare can bring everything to an unpleasant halt. It is well worth the effort. Our coffees come from the Eastern Highlands and are of both smallholder production and single estates. In the early days of specialty, PNGs were as much a staple in the roaster’s diet as Sumatra is today. There has been a refreshing resurgence in interest in the super-focused cleanliness and effervescent acidity of the single estates and the wild, gamey fruitiness of the smallholders’ coffee that Papua New Guinea is known for. These are some of the most versatile coffees around. They definitely play well with others.

Types Sourced
  • A/X
  • AA
  • Brands: Lamari, Tairora
  • Estate: Baroida

Hawaii

Blue waves, green skirts, pink drinks and fluffy fluffy white clouds. Nothing wrong with drinking a little paradise. Quantities aren’t high, but prices usually are. Don’t be discouraged…a nice Hawaiian is worth it.

Types Sourced
  • No. 1
  • Fancy
  • Extra Fancy
  • Regional: Kona, Maui