Though New Zealand is incredibly far away from where I live – Amsterdam – I’ve had the fortune to have been there twice in my life. Once, when I was doing a work and travel stint to Australia at age 18 and then a few years later, while traveling around the world with a friend after graduating from university.
In a way, New Zealand is the Pacific’s answer to Iceland. Both are relatively remote island states that have breath-taking natural beauty and a very high quality of life. Kiwis are friendly and welcoming people, while Icelanders are more reserved and alternative but without a doubt, both of these countries inspire dreams and fictional worlds like Lord of the Rings and the famous Icelandic Sagas.
Many coffee professionals cite down under as the place where they first experienced great coffee culture and for good reason. Australia and New Zealand both have incredibly vibrant specialty coffee industries and in many ways, provided the blue prints for modern coffee shops, brunch places and roasteries. Pierre Guérin co-founder of Bordeaux based roasters PIHA also had his epiphany down under, more specifically while kite-surfing at Piha beach on New Zealand’s North island.
Auckland, the country’s biggest city is close by and surrounded by gorgeous scenery. I can definitely imagine how such a place would inspire someone like Pierre to hatch an idea like setting up his own specialty coffee business back in France upon his return. Carole Laffargue, the other half of PIHA’s original team, joined Pierre a bit later and truth be told, I initially thought PIHA was a portmanteau of the founders’ names and with Pierre being one of them, I wasn’t too far off.
Bordeaux is in the southwest of France, not far from the Atlantic and from some of France’s own best surf. The city carries the name of the famous wine region and is also somewhat of a specialty coffee Mecca. Oven Heaven, another local roaster, has been featured a few times in our past boxes.
After first launching as an online brand in 2016, PIHA then opened the doors of its own café and roastery in 2017, and has since been a local favourite for coffee lovers. In 2022, after the team added Christophe and Jérémie, they opened Hangar 5, an artisanal roasting and café space in the Bacalan neighbourhood of Bordeaux.
The team is passionate about seeking out the most delicious coffees and roasting them to perfection. They want to showcase that coffee really is something unique and beautiful that deserves the same amount of curiosity and passion that French people dedicate to their cuisine and wine.
At our cupping in Helsinki a few weeks ago, PIHA’s coffees were all standouts and it was challenging for us to make a choice. In the end, I called the shot and we picked a crazy good natural processed Indonesian coffee from Frinsa Estate for the upcoming August 2023 European coffee roasters box. Funnily enough, the last time we featured this producer, the coffee in question also came from a French roaster, Lomi.
Frinsa is located in West Java, the Indonesian island that gave coffee one of its many names. It is owned and run by Wildan Mustofa and Atieq Mustikaningtyas who grow their own coffee and partner with local farmers who deliver their crops to be processed at their mill in Bandung. Their background was not in coffee but in potato farming and exporting, however, their interest in building value for the local community that is often affected by landslides and flooding motivated them to look into the production of specialty coffee as a means to offer a different crop.
Today, Frinsa Estate is widely regarded as one of the best producers in the country and their coffees are favourites amongst many leading roasters from around the world.
Expect notes of rum, blueberries and mango.
Receive this coffee along with two other picks from KUDU and Aliena as part of our upcoming August 2023 European coffee roasters box. Order your subscription, one-off box or gift box now. Ships on 20.08.2023.