About Neil Balk

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So far Neil Balk has created 14 blog entries.

Ethiopia Sidama – Aleta Wondo

This new coffee from the Sidama region of Ethiopia is the stuff dreams are made of. Yes, that sounds hyperbolic, but really, this coffee has me daydreaming of sitting in a Hobbit house on a Spring morning with blueberry scones in the oven and a mug of hot chocolate. And that's not far from the notes in this coffee: blueberry, bakers chocolate and fresh bread. Part of the reason this coffee has such a pleasant sweetness and fruitiness is the Dry Natural process. After the coffee is picked, the red ripe cherries are then gently placed on to raised beds that have a screen or mesh bottom to allow air through for even drying. Then cherries must be carefully turned to get even sunlight and air, all done without piercing the skin of the fruit, which would start a fermentation process, spoiling the flavor of the bean. This coffee is processed by the Aleta Wondo sub-cooperative (part of the larger Sidama Coffee Farmers Cooperative Union). This coop gives direct support to small coffee grower societies through finance, marketing and technical support. The woman-owned exporter has received support and accolades from the former USAID COMPETE program (now USAID East Africa Trade + Investment Hub) which works to build sustainable capacity for competitive regional and international trade and food security in East Africa. The coffee supply chain is long and quality control is paramount in each step. From the coffee cup, to the producer turning the coffee cherries, safeguards have to be taken and attentive and committed supply-chain partners are crucial. Our partners know that the only sustainable coffee is high-quality coffee. Maintaining and exceeding benchmarks, ensure better livelihoods throughout the supply chain. These producers, the processor and [...]

By | November 11th, 2013|Categories: Blog|Comments Off on Ethiopia Sidama – Aleta Wondo

New Arrivals

We are passionate about roasting coffee, but we’re equally passionate about sourcing it. Our newest arrivals are some of the best coffees we’ve presented to you – from the best performing lots in Costa Rica, to the newest, greenest technology in decaffeination. The quality of our coffees says a lot about our intent and how we purchase. But these coffees also have a story...

By | October 24th, 2013|Categories: Blog|Comments Off on New Arrivals

What is Cupping?

Cupping? A big part of our job here at Swing’s is making sure that you are getting the best coffee possible, and we are producing it consistently. That all sounds fine and well, but how is it done? The answer: cupping

By | October 4th, 2013|Categories: Blog, Learn|Comments Off on What is Cupping?

First look at M.E. Swing coffee bar in Del Ray

The Going Out Guide by the Washington Post highlights the new Swing's Coffeebar in Del Ray. Click for a great read

By | May 26th, 2013|Categories: Blog, Media|Comments Off on First look at M.E. Swing coffee bar in Del Ray