Since our ancestors planted their first coffee tree in 1870, members of our family have been involved in every aspect of coffee preparation including farming, milling, importing and roasting as well as working with café owners, chefs and restaurateurs to brew the perfect cup. That experience enables us to ensure that the utmost care is taken at every step of coffee preparation from the farm to your doorstep.
The art and science of specialty coffee begins on the farm, often called a finca or hacienda. Seedlings are carefully planted and nurtured to become fruit-bearing shrubs known as Coffea Arabica or Coffea Robusta. When the trees are mature, clusters of fragrant white flowers appear. Don Francisco’s Coffees are 100% Arabica, the highest quality beans. Shortly after the flowering, small berries form on the branches and begin to ripen. During harvest season, the fruit, called coffee cherry, is harvested and then processed using a variety of methods to extract the seed from the surrounding skin and pulp. Each coffee cherry generally contains two seeds, known as beans. The beans are carefully dried and prepared for shipment to our coffee roasting plant.
Coffee grows in mild tropical climates found between the Tropic of Cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn. The best coffees are grown at higher altitudes from 2,000 to 6,000 feet above sea level. In general, the higher the altitude, the better the quality. When selecting coffees for the Don Francisco’s brand, in addition to favoring high-grown Arabica coffees, we pay close attention to the climate, rainfall and soil conditions which also contribute to the flavor characteristics and quality of each coffee.
Pedro and Michael Gaviña visit the farms that grow our coffees to monitor the growing, picking, processing and sorting. Over the decades, we’ve built long-term relationships with the farmers, millers, exporters and importers who help maintain quality control standards at every stage of production. This direct contact allows us to communicate our specific requirements with everyone along the “seed to cup continuum.” It also provides us with transparency and traceability, which allows us to know where each of our coffees is grown and by whom.
As Purchasing Manager, Michael Gaviña works alongside F. Gaviña & Sons green coffee buyer and Quality Assurance Department to ensure that the coffees purchased for the Don Francisco’s brand meet our family’s stringent guidelines. Once the green (unroasted) coffee arrives at our plant, we “cup” a sample of each shipment for quality, aroma and flavor. The term “cupping” refers to the standard step-by-step evaluation method used by coffee professionals.
A total of six members of our team, including Michael Gaviña and Leonor Gaviña-Valls are “Licensed Q Graders.” That means they have passed an exam developed by The Coffee Quality Institute®. CQI is a nonprofit organization “working internationally to improve coffee quality and the lives of the people who produce it.” According to the CQI, the Q Grader Program is, “a rigorous testing and certification program — this is the first comprehensive professional accreditation for coffee graders and cuppers, recognizing the deepest talent at work in our industry.”
Only after each shipment has been approved, will we allow it to be roasted as Don Francisco’s Coffee.
The Art & Science of Roasting
The roasting process has a profound influence on the taste, flavor and aroma of your coffee beverage. Our master roaster has been roasting fine quality specialty coffees for more than thirty years. And, this experience enables him to roast the carefully selected Don Francisco’s beans to bring out their full flavor and aroma. We use top-of-the line, energy-efficient Probat Burns roasting equipment to ensure perfectly roasted beans.
For your convenience, we package Don Francisco’s coffees in cans as well as re-sealable bags. All of our whole bean and ground coffees are nitrogen flushed or vacuum-sealed to ensure that the coffee will remain fresh until the package is opened.
We agree with Ric Rhinehart, Executive Director of the Specialty Coffee Association of America, when he says, “In the final analysis specialty coffee will be defined by the quality of the product, whether green bean, roasted bean or prepared beverage and by the quality of life that coffee can deliver to all of those involved in its cultivation, preparation and degustation. A coffee that delivers satisfaction on all counts and adds value to the lives and livelihoods of all involved is truly a specialty coffee.”