Here at The Coffeevine, I’ve been trying to showcase a really broad spectrum of outstanding coffees from the most exciting roasters for years. Early on, I often had people telling me that they didn’t want to receive natural processed coffees because they didn’t like the fermented aroma and cup profile.
These days, there are so many crazy experimental processing methods out there that many of us have had to recalibrate what we understand by specialty coffee. One of the most common amongst the more exotic processes is the so-called ‘anaerobic’ process, which is by itself a misleading term because most coffees are anaerobically fermented at some stage. Yet, what is meant by this label is that the coffee of choice is fermented for prolonged period inside airtight containers.
The first to provide us with such a coffee in 2020 was Romania’s Meron, a roaster and specialty coffee shop chain from Cluj-Napoca in Transylvania who is now making its second appearance in a Coffeevine box this January.
In 2020, the coffee they sent us was a really extraordinary Brazilian coffee from Das Colinas that reminded many of our customers of a dark rum. It was rich and sweet and a bit winey. Very unusual and yet delicious!
Meron might not yet be a familiar name to many in Western Europe but in its home nation of Romania it’s a force to be reckoned with. What started as a crazy idea by Bogdan Ciocian in 2015 has since turned into the largest specialty coffee chain in Europe, according to him.
With nearly 20 stores acrosss Romania and many new ones already in the works, Meron resembles a kind of European Stumptown or Blue Bottle and certainly has big ambitions beyond its home country’s borders. According to Bogdan, the world is their oyster.
Watch my full interview with Bodgan on Instagram.
Naturally, this path towards growth also brings a lot of challenges. From sourcing coffees to keeping staff motivated and happy. “When you have around 200 people in your team,” Bogdan mused, “you really need to know everyone’s name and give them a sense of belonging.”
Some people out there might argue that a business of this size cannot possibly source and roast consistently outstanding coffees but the truth is, it can. The aforementioned Brazil from Das Colinas was one of 2020’s most favourite coffees and the exquisite natural processed Honduran coffee from San Rafael that we picked out for the January 2022 Coffeevine box, is equally delicious.
Grown in on a family-owned estate in Copán, this natural-processed coffee possesses all of the goodies we love in a natual. It’s sweet and thick with a clearly defined taste of terroir. Expect notes of strawberry, banana liquor and honey. So good!