Past Events

CCS Colombia Tasters Challenge Recap

The CCS Colombia Tasters Challenge, attracted some serious cuppers. We had roasters, exporters, baristas, and two national Cup Tasters champions, Dulce Barrera who won Cup Tasters of Guatemala in consecutive years, and Steven Cuevas, 2017 US National Cup Tasters Champion. 

The prize on offer that drew such high calibre contestants was a return flight to Huila, Colombia, for the next CCS Acevedo Cup, courtesy of our partners in the region, Fairfield Trading. To take home the prize in this triangulation challenge, the contestant needed to correctly identify the different coffee in eight sets in the final round.   

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The first round of the challenge was very competitive, making it quite an accomplishment to continue to the final round. After three heats of four contestants, the top three times were less than twenty seconds apart, with two perfect 4/4 scores. The third place finisher, Zane Derven of Black Oak Coffee Roasters, managed to get three of the four correct in only 2:38 minutes, a blazingly fast time and a respectable score, but only two could advance to the finals.

The finalists were two very talented cuppers, who scored full points in selecting the correct cup in the first round of competition. The ensuing matchup was a fierce competition, and the two competitors finished only four seconds apart. This meant the accuracy of their selections would ultimately decide the winner. Stacey Ann Lynden of Pallet Coffee Roasters put up an impressive score, with 4/8 cups selected correctly, but ultimately the top prize went to Dulce Barrera, who correctly selected 6/8 cups.

 Dulce Barrera (right), winner of the CCS Colombia Tasters Challenge, with Melanie Herrera, both from Bella Vista Mill, Guatemala

Dulce Barrera (right), winner of the CCS Colombia Tasters Challenge, with Melanie Herrera, both from Bella Vista Mill, Guatemala

 Stacey Lynden of Pallet Coffee Roasters won 2nd place. 

Stacey Lynden of Pallet Coffee Roasters won 2nd place. 

Dulce is part of the CCS family! She works as QC manager and Green Coffee Buyer for our partners in Guatemala, Bella Vista Mill. (We can assure you, there was no favoritism at play here, Juan Valdez was on hand to adjudicate and can swear that Dulce won the competition fair and square.)

I had the opportunity to cup with Dulce in Guatemala last week, so it was no surprise to me that she was able to navigate the difficult competition. Most impressive may be the fact that Dulce only started cupping consistently in 2016. Since then, she has posted back-to-back Guatemalan Cup Tasters titles.   

Thanks to everyone who participated, and to our partners, Fairfield Trading, for a great competition. 

 

CCS Cup, Learn & Share - Recap

The first CCS Cup Learn & Share event of the year was last Thursday, Feb 16, and we were joined by roasters and baristas from Russia, Romania, Japan and Norway. With the help of special guests Rory Rosenberg and Lise Marie Rømo, the team presented two innovative projects by our partners at origin, Long Miles Coffee Project from Burundi and La Palma y El Tucán from Colombia.

These events are so much more than just a cupping. They include discussion, information and presentations, a chance to understand the context of the coffees and the people behind them. 

 Barista Rory Rosenberg presenting his experience in Burundi with Long Miles Coffee Project. 

Barista Rory Rosenberg presenting his experience in Burundi with Long Miles Coffee Project. 

Burundi coffee producers work largely on nano-lots, often with as few as 500 trees. Ben and Kristy Carlson recognised the potential of this country to produce specialty coffee, and the economic benefit it could bring to these farmers' lives. They moved their entire family to Bujumbura, Burundi to start the Long Miles Coffee Project, and built two beautiful washing stations that process cherries from over 3000 neighboring families. 

Rory Rosenberg of Oslo Cold Brew won the Norwegian Barista Championship in 2017 with coffee from Long Miles, and he visited their washing stations and farms to see first hand the work they are doing in Burundi. He talked about the innovative agricultural extension programme Long Miles have implemented, sending a team of Coffee Scouts out to farms to teach farmers best coffee cultivation practices, but most importantly, teaching them how to manually eradicate the dreaded antestia bug, the cause of potato defect. 

 Yusho, head roaster from Fuglen, Japan.

Yusho, head roaster from Fuglen, Japan.

Our second cupping was of La Palma y El Tucán from Colombia who have several projects that are changing the face of specialty coffee in Colombia. Barista Lise Marie Rømo of, our sister company Kaffa, spoke of her experience competing with the LPET coffee and visiting their farm in Cundinamarca, Colombia. She described the company's team of trained coffee pickers they send to neighboring farms during the coffee harvest. The women pickers paint their nails a specific red so they can easily identify the ripest cherries on the tree.  Sixty trucks transport the picked cherries to the La Palma y El Tucán farm where they are processed using innovative methods including Acetic, Natural and Lactic. Also on the table were the LPET Heroes Series, special varieties including Sidra and Gesha that are grown on their own farm and processed to achieve the most delicious and interesting cups. 

We were so honored to be joined by Origo Coffee from Romania, Tasty Coffee from Russia, Nord from Norway, Fuglen from Japan and Norway and other baristas and upcoming roasters. We are grateful you made the trip to Oslo to contribute, share, taste and collaborate. 

Our second container of Burundi coffees will arrive in Europe and the US in the next week or two, and coffees from La Palma y El Tucán are already in Europe. See our full offer list for details. 

Would you like to join us for the next Cup, Learn & Share? Join our mailing list on our homepage to stay up to date with events and happenings at CCS. 

 At the cupping table, Nico from CCS and Mihai from Origo Coffee, Romania. 

At the cupping table, Nico from CCS and Mihai from Origo Coffee, Romania. 

CCS Acevedo Cup 2018 Recap

Acevedo Cup winners and other stellar coffees of the region will be arriving soon! Order your samples by contacting Sal in the US and Nico in Europe.

Jair Caicedo was this year’s winner, a surprise to many at the awards ceremony on Jan 21, as the young farmer is only 26 years old.

The full list of winners

1. Jair Caicedo, Finca Buena Vista

2. Alberto Calderon, Finca La Esmeralda

3. Carlos Calderon, Finca El Porvenir

4. Carmelo Carmelo Blend:
Oscar Ferney Cruz, Finca Jerico
William Arley Cruz, Finca Jerico

Jaimr Useche Gonzalez, Finca La Luna
Dionar Aleis Useche Gonzalez, Finca Los Alpes

5. Blend:
Otoniel Cordoba, Finca El Jardin
Edilson Calderon, Finca El Tesoro

Manuel Calderon, Finca Mira Flores

6. Jhon Wilson Poveda, Finca Danny

7. Jhon Wilson Poveda, Finca Danny

8. Maria Bercelia, Finca Los Angeles

9. Guillermo Rojas, Finca La Falda

10. Blend:
Miller Norberto Bustos, Finca El Mirador
Jamir Usache, Finca La Luna
Diego Bernal, Finca Primavera
Alexander Granada, Finca El Rinconcito
Jose Ignacio Morales, Finca El Guadual

11. Jhon Wilson Poveda, Finca Danny

12. Maria Bercelia, Finca Los Angeles

13. Wilmer Cuellar, Finca Las Brisas

14. Maria Bercelia, Finca Los Angeles

15. Wilmer Cuellar, Finca Las Brisas

16. Mariano Leal, Finca Las Acacias

17. Luis Vargas, Finca Llanitos

18. Maria Bercelia, Finca Los Angeles

19. Carlos Calderon, Finca El Porvenir

20. Jair Caicedo, Finca Buena Vista

Good years and bad years

The overriding theme of this year’s trip to Acevedo is that producing quality is really hard. Sometimes a farmer does everything right and still their coffee doesn’t make it to 86, the benchmark both CCS and Fairfield have set. Why? This season it was the weather. Heavy rains damaged the flowers resulting in lower yields. And those rains, combined with unusually cold weather, caused problems when drying the coffee, resulting in poorer quality.

This is the heartbreaking part of our job. We have a quality benchmark, and there are many good reasons for setting it at 86, but some years that means rejecting coffee from producers we love and dearly want to support. We wish we could buy all their coffee. This year, the best we could do to support them was show up.


The impact of being there

Being present should not to be underestimated, especially in Colombia. Accepting an invitation into a Colombian’s home, allowing them to nourish you, even with just a snack, shows enormous respect for them, and their respect for you. Maribel Claros Castro, wife of Alexander Ordóñez, prepared us a traditional feast called Asado Huilense, meat marinated in bitter orange and cooked on a wood-fired stove. Alexander has had a bad year, thousands of kilos of his coffee were damaged when unusually cold temperatures hit his region while his coffee was drying. But rather than complain about his financial loss, he thanked us profusely for accepting their invitation for lunch. “My wife is an excellent cook,” he explained.

For the producers, the roasters are the real celebrities. Dillon Edwards of Parlor Coffee joined us on this trip to Acevedo and it was his fourth time in the region in two years. He brought gifts for his treasured producers, including roasted coffee in packages bearing the names of their fincas. For many years Colombia offered just one coffee, “Café de Colombia,” so it is a a genuine surprise and delight for these farmers to know their work as a family is presented directly to coffee consumers. 


Bringing producers together

Events like the CCS Acevedo Cup also present a rare opportunity to collaborate. Seldom are so many producers of specialty coffee in one room together, as they were for the CCS Acevedo Cup awards ceremony. The after-party is as important as the awards presentation itself, the farmers use it to discuss, share and advise. 

Special guests at the event this year were Team Tolima! Alejandro Renjifo of Fairfield Trading is a big advocate of regional collaboration, and this year he invited several producers from Planadas to join us on our farm visits and attend the awards ceremony, including Hernando Gomez, Ivan and Jhon Molano, and Astrid Medina. One of the greatest highlights of this trip was seeing Astrid Medina’s reaction to Maria Bercelia’s unique drying facility on her farm, Finca Los Angeles. What a treat it was to listen as these two rock stars of Colombian coffee discussed the finer points of fermentation and drying.

 


What it means to win

Despite the adverse weather, there was great coffee to cup. While this year's event wasn't the marathon of 2016, we still had 37 lots to taste and overall the cupping scores were higher than last year.

What does it mean to place in the Acevedo Cup? In addition to being recognised in the community, winning a place in the top 20 means a significant financial gain. Jair Caicedo will earn 2,200,000 Colombian pesos per carga (125kg of parchment coffee) for his winning lot. To put that price in perspective, the FNC are currently offering around 800,000 pesos per carga. Once yield rates are taken into account, Jair will earn about three times the current purchase price.

We are so grateful to all the farmers who invited us into their homes, offered us meals and refreshments, listened, shared, and gave us their precious time: Javier Pulgarín and Patricia Rodriguez, Luis Vargas and his family, Alexander Ordoñez and Maribel Claros Castro, and Maria Bercelia and Jose Erazo. We are so humbled by your generous hospitality. See you next year.

Acevedo Cup winners and other stellar coffees of the region will be arriving soon! Order your samples by contacting Sal in the US and Nico in Europe.

And the winner is...

 Jair Caicedo, 1st place winner

Jair Caicedo, 1st place winner

The CCS Acevedo Cup 2018 wrapped up on Sunday with a fantastic awards ceremony in Acevedo town, and the top placing coffee is...

Jair Caicedo, Finca Buena Vista!

The announcement of Jair's name elicited gasps from the farming community in attendance at the awards ceremony of the CCS Acevedo Cup 2018. This dedicated coffee grower is only 26!

Dillon of Parlor Coffee poetically described Jair’s coffee as “extraordinary! Honeycomb, berry, custard with concentrated citrus syrup.” Robert of CCS said it showed “lively aromatics with the promise of fruit,” and “a balanced soft acidity.”

Stay tuned for a full update on this amazing event by Fairfield Trading and CCS, and the full list of the top 20 winners. In the meantime, US roasters can contact Sal in the US or Nico in EU to order your samples. 

Acevedo Cup: Recap

 The CCS Acevedo Cup 2018 Awards Ceremony

The CCS Acevedo Cup 2018 Awards Ceremony

The inaugural Acevedo Cup was one of the most inspired/inspiring events CCS was a part of in 2016. What a motivating way to finish off the year. It’s difficult to imagine just how much preparatory work the Fairfield team had done in advance of the competition but the resulting four days we spent cupping, discussing, scoring and ranking the top 20 lots were an absolute pleasure.

Those of you who’ve cupped at origin know how arduous full cupping days can be, so the fact our group of judges enjoyed cupping and re-cupping these coffees says everything about the standards to which the Fairfield team operates.

This competition was a great way to start our work in the Acevedo municipality of Huila. It gave us the opportunity to taste a wide variety of cup profiles available within this community, while the closing ceremonies, in turn, gave the community the opportunity to learn about CCS’ and Fairfield’s work and ambitions for working in and around Acevedo.

Between 20-30 families came to the closing ceremonies and while many of them weren’t “winners” in the sense of having submitted top-20 coffees, it was fascinating to speak with several of the families afterward and learn about their perceptions not only about the competition, but about how they view working with Fairfield and us in the long-term. Some well-established community leaders were in attendance and they had already decided to organize meetings amongst Acevedo Cup winners and their neighbours to first discuss the winners’ protocol and strategies for the winning lots, and then determine how and what strategies neighbouring farms could implement to improve their own production.

 Left to right Eduardo Urquina of Fairfield Trading, Miller Bustos collecting the certificate for his brother Fernando Bustos, and Alejandro Renjifo of Fairfield Trading. 

Left to right Eduardo Urquina of Fairfield Trading, Miller Bustos collecting the certificate for his brother Fernando Bustos, and Alejandro Renjifo of Fairfield Trading. 

Field Notes

Day 1

Calibration round + two competition tables. Screened 29 coffees down to 12 which will move on to the next round.

Learned about the National Learning Service (SENA), a government initiative that provides workers, adults and youths with technical training within the areas of industry, trade, agriculture, mining and cattle breeding. Some of volunteers helping with the Acevedo Cup are students of SENA and are currently undergoing training to become professional baristas, cuppers and roasters.

Day 2

Screened 29 coffees down to 12. Day 3 is the cupping of the top-24 coffees from Days 1 & 2.

First introduced to the winning coffee which I described as one of the best coffees I cupped all year. I gave it a score of 93 points with the following aroma/flavour descriptions: a floral, lemony, jasmine, and bergamot aroma. Cup is complex, juicy, well-structured, citrusy, clean, with a red currant finish. This coffee has all the elegance of great washed Ethiopian coffees, while also maintaining a Kenyan-like acidity.

Day 3

Top-24 coffees screened down to top-20. Ranks 11-20 determined today; top-10 will be cupped and ranked on Day 4.

Visited Los Angeles farm, owned by Maria Bercelia and her partner, Jose Erazo. We purchased coffee from them for our first ever shipment from Acevedo and are pretty certain at least one of their coffees will be amongst the winning coffees.

Day 4

Final round/table of top-10 coffees.

Winners, lot sizes (per 70kg bags) and varieties are as follows:

#10: Jhon Wilson Poveda, 11 bags, Colombia & Caturra

#9: María Bercelia, 15 bags, Colombia & Caturra

#8: Otoniel Morales, 7 bags, Castillo

#7: Nicolas Delgado, 18 bags, Colombia & Castillo

#6: Ciro Lugo, 12 bags, Colombia

#5: Elizabeth Abaunza, 5 bags, Caturra

#4: Ciro Lugo, 12 bags, Colombia

#3: Alexander Ordoñez, 12 bags, Colombia & Tabi

#2: Fernando Bustos, 18 bags, Colombia

#1: Jesucita Cuellar, 5 bags, Tabi

Jesucita is a new grower to Fairfield and the Fairfield cupping team hypothesized that this coffee would win the competition during their screening of all the coffees submitted for competition. Must learn more about the Tabi variety!

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 Ciro Lugo won 4th and 6th place. 

Ciro Lugo won 4th and 6th place. 

Final Notes

A big thank you to our three roaster judges:

Ria Neri, Four Letter Word, Chicago, IL

Tali Robbins, Barismo, Cambridge, MA

Dillon Edwards, Parlor Coffee, Brooklyn, NY

The remainder of the judging panel were Ana Beatriz Bahamon, Eduardo Urquina Sanchez, Esnaider Ortega & Alejandro Renjifo, all of Fairfield Trading; along with David Stallings & myself, who represented CCS.

Until next time,

Melanie

SCAA 2015 Cupping Program

Join us for Our Cupping Events: SCAA 2015 Seattle

Where: The Makers Space (92 LENORA ST, SEATTLE, WA 98121)

When: Friday, April 10 & Saturday, April 11 from 10:00am-1:00pm

Friday's Program: East Africa Day

10:00-10:10 Welcome

10:15-11:00 - Ethiopia: Preview Cupping to Heleanna Georgalis, Moplaco Trading Co., Ethiopia

11:00-11:30 Ethiopia: Heleanna Georgalis on Ethiopia's Coffee Trade + more

11:30-11:45 - Break

11:45-12:15 - Ethiopia: Cupping of CCS Selection

12:15-1:00 - Burundi & Kenya: Cupping of CCS Selection

Saturday's Program: Central America Day

10:00-10:10 Welcome

10:15-10:45 - Guatemala: Melanie Herrera on the work of Zelcafé in Antigua and beyond

10:45-11:30 - Guatemala: Cupping of CCS Selection

11:30-11:45 Break

11:45-12:15 - Honduras: Benjamin Paz on the work of San Vicente in Santa Barbara, Honduras

12:15-1:00  - Honduras: Cupping of CCS Selection

The New Colombia: Specialty Coffee Driven by the People

Colombia is vast and I can easily admit that it’s one of my favorite places to visit in the Americas: for its beauty, its proud culture, and friendly people. La quiero mucho!

Although some distances may look short on a map, traveling East to West within Colombia usually means flying through Bogotá, which ends up taking a full day to get where you want to go. Upon landing from the international flight, sometimes additional flying is required, which can be through gusty mountain passes where you are at the mercy of the winds and rain storms. “Will this plane land?” Generally, proximity to the equator in the South, along with proximity to the Pacific coast in the West, combined with proximity to wet and warm lowlands in the East makes for incredibly different climates and temperatures. The hills and rocky mountains make for varied elevations, sun exposures and rainfall patterns. I have visited this vast and diverse country extensively during the last ten years and even more frequently than ever over the last 24 months.

This happens to be The Time when many new and interesting things are happening at this beloved coffee origin. The issue of drying coffee has been a particular source of concern for many years and while progress has been made, new techniques are being introduced constantly. Castillo: the varietal and the controversy, has been an integral part of what I, perhaps bluntly, refer to as the New Colombia emerging in the last half-decade or so, bringing the world’s second biggest (after Brazil) provider of Arabica back on track.

Carlos Arévalo at La Palma y El Tucan facility in Bucaramanga, Colombia. Elisa Maria Madriñan (co founder of La Palma y El Tucan) in the background.
Carlos Arévalo at La Palma y El Tucan facility in Bucaramanga, Colombia. Elisa Maria Madriñan (co founder of La Palma y El Tucan) in the background.

Not coincidently, maybe even symptomatically of the Castillo-and-Volume-focus, there is a new generation of coffee people in the country coming forward: farmers who, as well as a whole community of coffee professionals, evidently want to reach a growing specialty market outside the county’s borders. Just as much as this is a story of new trends in an old coffee country, it is also a story about a better-connected world and the empowerment of coffee farming people.

E-mail and social media apps are now on everybody’s smartphones, including the ones many coffee farmers carry with them in their pockets. This means that farmers are able to be in touch with the ‘market place’, and can be in direct contact with their (green) coffee buyers. The world has opened up, connecting both ends of the chain – along with everybody in-between. Your favorite suppliers are now bombarding their Instagram accounts with photos of the new crop and new developments at his beneficio. New times.

Omar Viveros brewing Chemex at his house in Pitalito, Huila. He is avialable on Instagram at @FINCAMIRAFLORES
Omar Viveros brewing Chemex at his house in Pitalito, Huila. He is avialable on Instagram at @FINCAMIRAFLORES

The coffees themselves trigger excitement for their quality and flavor attributes, yet the underlying currents for why things are happening in the first place—why things are changing, why things are diversifying and getting better—intrigues me just as much the coffee itself. We want to understand what is going on right now and support the people that are making the push.

For some funny and inexplicable reason, most coffee farmers I have met in my career have always seemed initially shy about joining for cupping, as though it is something that one inherently will not master. They seem to not want to risk feeling intimidated. That is of course not the case.

As a cupper and green coffee buyer this scenario can be a rather awkward position to be in: tasting and assessing a coffee in front of the farmer who is constantly studying your facial expression and looking for hints of appreciation, making it all the more difficult to explain the results when you have not had the same sensory experience as them. It can be devastating on a personal level.

Personally, I love it when we get to cup with farmers. It is such a great learning experience for everybody involved. The sharing of opinions can then happen in a much more fruitful way. Fortunately, a growing number of coffee producers are eagerly learning to cup and are thereby in a position to understand how and why we value their product.

Eider Perdomo Claros (far left) is always cupping his coffee with the Virmax-team when he submits at the Virmax warehouse in Pitalito, Huila. More than 80% of his production is 86+ pts.
Eider Perdomo Claros (far left) is always cupping his coffee with the Virmax-team when he submits at the Virmax warehouse in Pitalito, Huila. More than 80% of his production is 86+ pts.

As we all know, as calibrated as a group may be, a tasting experience is inherently subjective. Thus, having a chance to let a supplier understand what I prefer and what we look for is an important dimension of coffee buying. Then the next time around a farmer may understand what another customer of his prefers and may choose to prepare a different coffee to their liking.

Unless a farmer is tied to a buyer due to credits/loans, which commit them to sell their crop to the person or institution that granted it in the first place, they are free to sell to whomever they choose. The FNC is always the default buyer for any Colombian farmer. Such is Colombia’s coffee history and this is still the law. Yet it isn’t the only buyer, and with a growing demand for specialty coffee, other middlemen and buyers are setting up cupping facilities and logistical networks to get hold of the best lots.

By requesting not only a better quality, but simply a different product, one is subject to paying higher prices to the farmer. As obvious as paying higher may sound, this is where things sometimes get complicated.

What is the value for specialty coffee outside the FNC sphere? And when is it Specialty Coffee, by the way? Is the (specialty coffee) marketplace developed and sophisticated enough to establish a fair marketvalue for 86+ point lots? Castillo has a ‘certain reputation’; does Caturra always deserve a better price (to incentivize farmers to keep them)? How much higher is the value, then, for Bourbon, Typica and other varietals that are even more ‘endangered’?

This is the situation:

- The Castillo varietal is here, and it is here to stay. Can one disregard it then?

- At the same time, the Traditional Colombian Wet Processing of coffee cherries – as we know it - is scrutinized and analyzed. Simply put: It is being challenged. Big time!

It makes a whole lot of sense to see these things altogether.

Farmers are realizing that they will not get the best possible prices for their Castillo coffee, so they are seeking out ways to ‘build value’ into it. With this, they are reaching out to the marketplace with an altogether different product. The rhetoric is out there and invested people are talking about: “Enhancing the Quality”; “Adjusting the Flavor Profile”;Changing the Cup Character”; “Making it sweeter”.

At the same time green coffee buyers continue to travel, people interact, trends move. Before you know it, an Australian buyer has met a farmer and talked about his preference for sweetness and body, while a Russian buyer may have met and talked to a middleman and voiced his curiosity for fruity flavors (that he just tasted in a ‘new wave natural’ from El Salvador). This while a Japanese buyer may be keen to get hold of a little something that is made ‘only for him’: an experiment with fermentation-time, hopefully making the coffee a little more juicy than the other (Castillo) lots.

In my next article I will present some of the processing techniques that we’ve seen out there, mostly to the Castillo varietal. These approaches and processes are themselves ‘catching on’ and are being used to twist and tweak the flavors of Caturra, Tabi, and other varietals as well.

In the meantime you may enjoy listening to a great podcast: Ferment in Colombia with Leo by our good friend Tom Owens at Sweet Marias. It is an interview he conducted with Leonardo Henao in Colombia and is such a great conversation about this topic.

We are very pleased to announce that one of our own partners in Colombia, the knowledgeable and energetic Carlos Arévalo, a long time coffee consultant in the Americas, currently at the La Palma y El Tucan farm in Cundinamarca, will be presenting these topics in-depth at LCDC in Paris, January 25-27.

- Robert W

Warm up to LCDC 2.0 at Belleville, November 6, 2014

Bonjour Paris!

Melanie will be in town this Thursday as part of a warm-up to Le Carnaval du Café 2.0, which kicks-off January 25, 2015 at the beautiful La Bellevilloise of Paris.

For those of you who didn't join us during Le Carnaval du Café 2012, one of our esteemed guests was Dr. Flávio Borém, who presented findings from his research on natural processing in Brazil. Flávio is not only the pre-eminent researcher on coffee quality post-harvest (processing, drying, storage); he is also a naturals-processing specialist: from both research and cupping aspects. To give the briefest of backgrounds to this, naturals are vitally important to Brazil's coffee production as it makes up 80-85% of all coffee exported from Brazil. However, Brazilian naturals have been disregarded from a specialty coffee standpoint because much of it is regarded as inferior in quality and taste in comparison to coffee processed through other methods. What we at CCS have found is that there are great naturals to be had - it's a matter of finding the right partners that do naturals right.

During this week's warm-up event, Melanie will present some updates on some of these themes, as well as cup samples from this year's harvest to showcase just how far some Brazilian naturals have come in cup quality.

Welcome!

Event details

Location: Belleville, 10 rue Pradier

Date/Time: Thursday,  November 6th from 16:00

Collaboration, Community & Le Carnaval du Café (postponed!)

Roundabout_2
Roundabout_2

‘Collaboration’ isn’t even our middle name; it’s our first name, which means we really want to work together with awesome people to make awesome things happen.

This is why Collaborative Coffee Source has put together a fantastic program for Le Carnaval du Café event in Paris, yet we regret to announce that LCDC will be postponed to January 26 & 27, 2015. We are sorry for the inconvenience this may cause some of you!

Collaboration

Colombia is one of many important countries in the world of coffee – so to call it a particular focus for CCS would be unfair to all the other origins. But we are studying it very closely and making sure we get great coffee for our roasting customers all over the globe. That is always a focus anyway.

This is why I’ve been back in Colombia for the second time in just a few weeks and am planning to go back again when the harvest really starts in November. Thus far I have visited well familiar places and exciting new regions, continuously meeting with the most ambitious farmers and getting acquainted with a half-dozen Colombian coffee exporters; setting up the best logistical channels for swift handling of these precious beans.

I went to the ASIC conference in Colombia recently to pick up the very latest news from the coffee research community, meeting with coffee chemistry geeks from all over the world, but most importantly people who can shed some light on the latest events in the development of Colombian Coffee itself. Because we want to present some of that at LCDC!

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_DSC0612

Community

We may be the smallest coffee trading company on the planet and are trotting all over it anyway. I’m confident that we are making an impact: In the past few weeks, the CCS-team has presented new and upcoming harvests at events in Oslo, Paris, Taipei, Tokyo, Moscow and New York.

Wherever we go we meet with eager roasters and other professionals that are truly inspiring to us, and it feels like we are all building something very meaningful together. There is a great sense of community that we are so grateful to be part of. CCS wants to contribute in every possible way. We are dead serious about coffee professionalism and making it a sustainable business, but we love to play a little too. That is why we want to make the LCDC event so cool and collegial!

Bilde 5
Bilde 5

Le Carnaval du Café

We’ve been very proud and happy about how the program has been coming together. We are thankful to those that have eagerly said yes to present at LCDC. Until now I haven’t even mentioned that Oliver Strand from the New York Times is going to present about an interesting chapter from his new coffee book, about the current coffee/political situation in the Nyeri region of Kenya; or that Carlos Arévalo, from Colombia is going to speak about the new wave of experimental processing techniques that are being done there, particularly with the infamous Castillo varietal. He has many years of experience in the coffee industry and is working as a consultant for La Palma y El Tucan. Then there is all the related cupping of course!

We have decided to postpone the event simply because we want more people to be able to attend this awesome event. The feedback has been that November 2014 seems to be difficult for some, while in January 2015 we can fill the house with you all! Welcome back!

- Robert W

CCS Report from AFCA 2014: The Potato Defect

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For anyone who has worked with coffee from the Great Lakes region—Burundi, Rwanda, D.R. Congo—the so-called “potato defect” has been the source of much frustration. The vast majority of cherry producers within this region are smallholders reliant on receiving premium prices. The average Burundian smallholder owns less than one hectare of land and because of many and varied social-economic-political realities, the small plots smallholders do have is not all dedicated to coffee production, which can be the farmer’s biggest cash earner.

I have heard a lot of speculation about potato throughout the years and was hoping to zero in on some concrete answers, during last month’s African Fine Coffees Association conference, as to what the potato defect is, as well as how it is being fought.

What is known is that potato defect is actually a chemical: isopropyl-2-methoxyl-3-pyrazine. Pyrazines are nitrogen-containing compounds that have unique aromas: earthiness, potato, mould.  Bacteria (thought to be Enterobacteriaceae) make up this pyrazineandthese bacteria are thought to be carried by the Antestia bug. Yes, I realize this language is scientific and vague. It’s because research into the potato problem is young and there are no definitive answers. However, what research has been done (the best research has come from a French agricultural research centre called Cirad) supports the above descriptions of the problem.

The Antestia bug is thought to infect coffee cherries with bacteria as it comes into contact or burrows into coffee cherries. Some of the biggest contributing factors to the elusiveness of the problem are that it is difficult to see infected cherries; infection is random (and doesn’t occur in great amounts); and it does not tend to be obvious infection has occurred until after the roasting process. You can all visualize how many roasted beans go into just one cup of coffee – it only takes one infected bean to ruin the entire cup, rendering it undrinkable due to its unmistakable raw potato/green peas smell and taste.


The Significance of the Problem

As I mentioned in earlier posts about the AFCA conference, most participation came from the commercial coffee world. Although CCS works with the best and brightest producers, making stellar coffees, I feel it is important to know about the commercial side of the coffee trade because its influence on coffee production (how and what) is too significant to ignore. Especially in countries where specialty coffee has not been present for long, as is the case in African coffee producing countries. During the Potato Panel discussion at AFCA this year, speakers included a representative from Alliance for Coffee Excellence (which oversees the Cup of Excellence competitions), a commercial coffee buyer, a specialty coffee buyer and a researcher studying the potato defect.

When commercial buyers choose to work with coffee from the Great Lakes region, they tend to consider and then compare a general profile and quality. For example, Rwandan and Burundian coffees have been compared to Honduran “high grown” coffees quality- and cup-wise. There exists a distinct price differential between what a Honduras “high grown” can command versus what a similar quality coffee from Rwanda and Burundi can fetch. The potential for potato is not the only contributing factor in such a price differential, but it certainly plays a role. According to one panelist’s estimates, the price differential for a Great Lakes coffee is 20-25 USC/lb. less than a comparative coffee. Taking other factors into account (e.g. logistics efficiency of working in the Great Lakes region versus regions like Honduras), the “potato discount” is estimated to be 10-15 USC/lb., adding up to an estimated $6.5 million USD loss each year for a country’s production yield.

In high quality markets like CCS’, prices are not discussed in terms of discounts, but rather premiums. Buyers of specialty coffee reward quality with premiums and as Great Lakes coffees cup uniquely, specially, as well as are harvested at a good time of the year (i.e. in between other countries' harvests), premium prices are paid for coffee gems found in the Great Lakes region. But potato makes it challenging and somewhat risky to work with coffees from this region. Roasting companies spend a lot of resources working with baristas and wholesale clients on how to detect the defect. Some roasters choose to limit how such coffee is used within their menus (e.g. not blending them with other coffees).

What keeps us motivated and focused on working with this region are the fantastic characteristics of uninfected (which is the vast majority of) coffee from this region. We have been working with truly special coffees from the region. These coffees, unlike in the commercial world, cannot be substituted with coffees from anywhere else.


Management strategies

Certain strategies have been employed by farmers and washing stations to mitigate the potato problem. Just because there are not yet definitive answers about the causes of potato, this does not mean that action is not being taken.

At the farmer-level, insect management to mitigate the prevalence of the Antestia bug has been undertaken. In addition, while selective picking is generally good practice, it helps combat potato because infected cherries are mouldy/bacteria-infested. If only ripe, clean, red cherries are sent to the washing station, there is less potential that infected cherries will move further up the supply chain.There is still a long ways to go in farmer education about these techniques but the best washing stations have been working with farmers on these.

Most action has been taken at the washing station (wet processing) and dry mill (dry processing/hulling) levels. Starting with the transport of cherries to the washing station, there have been less potato problems in lots that have been transported more quickly from the field to the washing station. During sorting, floating has been important in that lots that have had less instances of the defect have generally had denser beans. At the dry mill, extensive lot sampling (looking at density in particular) has led to traceability of lots causing more potato problems.

Other technology and strategies include mould probes (which are have also been utilized in Central America for the Roya problem), aromatic sensing devices programmed to recognize defective beans and ultraviolet light sorting. However, due to the fact that these tools are meant to isolate individual beans, they are quite time and resource inefficient.

If it reads like general best agricultural and processing practices should be employed in the battle against potato, that’s obviously true. Even without the defect, these practices should be standard. But it would be a mistake to go so far as to disregard the potato problem as a real and significant issue. In fact, I would argue that the existence of this problem forces producing regions to be ever more conscious about the necessity of proper farm management and meticulous processing in coffee production.

The specialty coffee community has started to become engaged in finding solutions for potato defect. In addition to a growing number of roasters supporting through purchasing, Cup of Excellence has started to organize the funding of potato defect research. Read more and support here.

- Melanie

CCS Report from AFCA 2014: Robusta on the Rise

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_MG_9573* I attended the African Fine Coffees Association conference two weeks ago in Bujumbura, Burundi. This report is the second in a series about this conference. Read the intro report here.

Working at CCS, which searches for and sources the highest quality coffees in the world, it’s easy to keep the blinders on to what’s happening in the commercial coffee markets. My world is exclusively focused on finding unique terroir, ambitious and long-term thinking producers and thus working on pricing mechanisms based on quality and the evolution of long-term partnerships. That’s not to say that what we do is immune to market pricing; there has to be a benchmark to start from. So what commercial buyers want (e.g. certification, suggestions regarding agricultural and processing practices, etc.) has a huge impact on not only pricing but more importantly, what coffees are even available to quality-focused buyers. Outside a few established niche regions (e.g. Boquete in Panama) commercial buyers continue to have the largest influence on general trends of world coffee production.

Obviously there is great quality coffee and seemingly more available each year. The number of quality-focused buyers is increasing because more and more buyers are paying higher prices than the market as well as are working very hard in developing true partnerships with producers. As an example, some of CCS’ best partnerships are in Santa Barbara, Honduras. This year, CCS has committed to paying a price for coffee from the upcoming harvest (scoring 86 points and up) that currently represents three times today’s market value for ‘commodity’ coffee in the region. With opportunities like these, there are more and more producers wanting to work with partners like us and produce high quality coffee. But buyers like us are few and far between and from what I saw and heard at AFCA, there is very little representation of quality-focused buyers in Africa. Which can have large consequences.

During the World Coffee Market Discussion at AFCA, I learned many things about the state of worldwide coffee production. The most striking is the fact that consumption trends are making Robusta production more lucrative and that by 2020, if current production trends continue, Arabica will account for just 55% of world production; Robusta 45%. I say just 55% because this will be the lowest ever production of Arabica coffee. This prospect is quite strange to hear from my perspective because being immersed in the specialty coffee world gives the impression that trends should be moving in a more quality-focused direction. And in fact, the same speaker that outlined the increase in need and production of Robusta also talked about the fact that world consumption trends are moving toward “higher status” coffee consumption. In places that previously did not consume much coffee, such as Southeast Asia (in particular South Korea), India, China and coffee producing countries, coffee consumption is quickly becoming embedded as a lifestyle status symbol for the burgeoning young middle-classes.

However, large chains are, in many of these cases, dominating these trends. The private labels of large coffee retailers and chains use 40-60% Robusta in their blends and the consumption of convenient single-serve home machines (e.g. pods and capsules) is rapidly increasing. And despite appearances, many of these consumers are very price conscious, making Robusta attractive for coffee buyers.

The case of Africa is interesting from a Commercial vs. Specialty Coffee perspective: African producing countries have the potential to produce high quality coffee. Ethiopia is dominating Arabica production on the African continent and there will continue to be high demand for coffees from this region. The question I had after the World Market panel discussion was: will other African origins focus their efforts on producing high quality coffee? Right now, the rise in demand for Robusta means that there is a need for countries other than Vietnam to efficiently produce it. In fact, one of the speakers contends that if production levels continue, Brazil itself could satisfy the world demand for Arabica by 2020. He cautioned that if Brazil is to remain competitive in world markets, that it must take note of the rise of Robusta. And since Brazil is the largest, most efficient and best organized producer of Arabica, will other places looking to take after its model want to focus on Robusta markets?

In fact, Africa’s continent-wide problem of low productivity has led to inroads for more potential for high-quality coffee production. The Cup of Excellence program is firmly establishing itself in Rwanda and more recently, Burundi. Kenya becomes evermore attractive to specialty buyers based on its reputation for producing the juicy and intense “Kenya profile”. Some well-funded and successfully implemented agricultural and marketing programs via USAID and TechnoServe (for example), have more recently increased opportunities and availability of high quality coffee in countries like Burundi, Ethiopia, Tanzania, Uganda, the Ivory Coast, amongst others. So contrary to one of the speaker’s assertions that “the future is bright” for African producers in Robusta production, should they put more efforts into higher productivity, I rather think the opportunities can be great for more diversity in high quality Arabica (i.e. specialty) coffee coming from not-as-yet established African origins, should the Specialty Coffee community choose to engage.

- Melanie

Previous: Intro to AFCA

Next: The Potato Defect

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CCS Report: African Fine Coffees Association Conference 2014

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drummers

I attended the African Fine Coffees Association conference last week. AFCA was founded in 2000 and aims to be, “a regional non profit, non political, member-driven association representing coffee sectors in 11 member countries namely Burundi, D.R. Congo, Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Rwanda, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe. AFCA members include both private and public sector coffee stakeholders including producers, exporters, international importers, roasters, policy makers, transporters and trade representatives.”

What this seems to mean in practice is that it’s a venue where coffee professionals—producers, buyers, exporters, public stakeholders—involved in African coffee production and sale can get together to network and discuss the issues and development of the member coffee sectors.

In the posts to follow, I’ll focus on three topics/experiences—world coffee markets, potato taste in coffee and my visit upcountry in Kayanza--to give you an overview of this year’s AFCA conference and the potential implications for the coffees and partners CCS works with.

CCS is sourcing coffee from the best producers growing and processing the best quality coffee in their respective origins. Our partners have shown merits through consistently placing well in competitions (e.g.Cup of Excellence) as well as through their commitment and evolving working relationships with us. The coffees we approve are scoring at a minimum of 86 points (based on a combination of score sheets like COE, SCAA and our internal scoring mechanisms) and the quality of the coffees being delivered to us are noticeably better with each progressive season.

Since I am almost exclusively cupping amazing coffees, one experience from the past year that really stands out was a cupping session where I cupped coffees scoring under 80 points. This experience triggered a feeling that not only do I know very little about how most of the world’s coffee is traded, but that this gap in understanding could potentially have big impacts to what we’re able to source due to the amount of buying power and influence that commercial buyers have.

I feel that it is important to understand more about the commercial coffee trade because the mere fact that most coffee is traded through these channels affects the way specialty coffee is produced and priced. For example, although most producers I met at the conference want to produce high quality coffee and work directly with companies like CCS (and in turn with roasters like you), most of them do not possess the know-how to produce and work with specialty buyers. Working with African coffees is very different than working with most Central and South American coffees – most Latin American countries have much better coffee infrastructure, have a longer history of working closely with buyers, a longer history of private investment. Thus commercial buyers have a lot of influence and long-held relations with the cooperatives and washing stations in Africa, so their way of buying coffee and quality standards is generally the rule.

Conference attendance this year was broad enough that I had the opportunity to meet with people representing many different countries, from all throughout the production and supply chain, but also small enough that I didn’t feel like I missed out on meeting at least one representative from most of the participants there (e.g. those with exhibition booths). The vast majority of the people that attended are involved with “commercial coffee” – from price, pricing mechanism (i.e. speculative) and quality standpoints. As this conference is one of the most significant meeting points for African coffee professionals, specialty coffee needs to have more of a presence.

More and better engagement in Africa from the specialty coffee sector will not only benefit producers; it will help roasters expand menus, increase the quality and transparency of the coffee available, and lead to an even more exciting community. While there were a couple of fantastic specialty representatives in attendance (like Paul Songer from ACE and Wendy de Jong from Single Origin Roasters in Australia), leading some of the most interesting discussions in the program, the general vibe of the conference was commercial.

The main themes of the program included women in coffee, a sustainability forum, the case of the African smallholder, the world coffee market, finance, potato taste in coffee, a (large-scale) roaster’s perspective to sustainability, and the African coffee industry. Unfortunately I didn’t arrive early enough to attend the women in coffee meeting and didn’t have enough time while I was there to attend all the lectures and discussions, but I did attend the world coffee market and potato taste discussions, amongst all the networking and meetings with current and potential future partners. It was a really great two days at the conference and then I had the privilege of being taken up-country to the Kayanza region where Long Miles Coffee gave me a tour of their current washing station and showed me the site of their new one. Hope you enjoy the following summaries.

Next post

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Cupping & Cropster Presentation at the Barn, May 28

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Cupping_glasses

The Collaborative Coffee Source  and the Barn would like to invite you out to a cupping and Cropster presentation Tuesday, May 28 from 17:00.
The focus countries are Honduras and Guatemala. We will be presenting just  harvested crops coming from our partners in Santa Barbara, Honduras and Antigua, Guatemala! Both regions are, each year, becoming more and more recognized for producing some of the best quality coffee on offer from their respective countries. We are excited to present some of the "cream of the crop" from our partners in these two regions.
Following these cuppings will be a presentation from Cropster, the cool guys responsible for some of the most innovative and user-friendly roast logging tools on the market.
Don't miss out!
 

May & June 2013 Cupping Events

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collaborative-3248 London in Review

Thank you to The Association and Prufrock Coffee for being such excellent hosts for our recent cupping events!

To recap: Our focus during the Association cupping were the Hacienda La Esmeralda Special auction lots. The Peterson family produces separate lots based on geographic areas, microclimates and picking dates from their farms and then auction these lots each year. The date for this year's auction is May 21st and we wanted to give UK roasters the opportunity to taste and form a buying group to bid on these amazing coffees during auction.

Our cupping at Prufrock had a broader focus and in addition to cupping the Esmeralda lots, cuppers tasted  fresh crop Guatemalan and Honduran coffees coming from our friends at Bella Vista in Antigua and San Vincente in Santa Barbara. Also in the mix were soon-to-arrive Kenya and Ethiopia coffees.

There were great turnouts at these events! Thanks to all who took the time to join us.

May and June Events

For all you out there who couldn't join us in London, don't despair! We're make the rounds again in May and June. Mark your calendars!

Oslo: May 15 @ Kaffa Roastery. Esmeralda auction lots, Guatemala, Honduras, Kenya and Ethiopia.

Berlin: May 21 @ the Barn. Esmeralda auction lots. Auction is that day! May 28 @ the Barn: Guatemala, Honduras, Kenya and Ethiopia.

Nice: June 26-28 during SCAE World of Coffee. Details to follow!

RSVP

Coffee with Seoul

So off we went, Robert and I, almost as far from Norway as you can get, to another small, coffee loving country - just on the other side of the world.  Invited by Momos of Busan, we visited the Café Show expo in Seoul, did the rounds and caught up with the coffee circuit regulars, and then created a little event all of our own: a presentation about the Collaborative, attended by the specialty coffee roasters of Korea and a cupping, presenting the best of Brazil (Minas Gerais) and Burundi. If you have ever visited Korea you will notice many things to be different from Norway, or indeed anywhere else in Europe.  Bowing is a good start. Passing things with delicacy and grace (and receiving them with even more) is another. Drunken businessmen asleep at the dinner table while their colleagues continue to eat is particularly noteworthy cultural norm. Kimchi. Cooking your own pork belly. Feeling like your living in a futuristic movie.  But we were there for Coffee, not Gangnam Style re-enactments under subway signs.

We visited the finest coffee establishments in the land, Coffee Gong Jang, Momos, Coffee Libre, to name a few.  The variety of brewing methods was impressive, (‘dutch style’ being the trend of the moment), the coffee was great, (although of course more darkly roasted than up here in the arctic) and the locations were at the same time predictably well-designed and surprisingly large.

After a day whipping round the Café Show in Seoul, we headed down to Momos HQ in Busan, Korea’s coffee port.  Here snuggly nestled in a traditional building is Momos: rising several floors and spreading across verdant courtyards and dappled terraces, this café is a distinct destination.

We held a cupping and presentation at Coffee Gong Jang; a multi-floored industrial/cosy red and white extravaganza of a coffee shop in downtown Busan.  Busan is the speciality hub of Korea, and the city’s coffee roasters turned out in force. With the help of Momos’ beautiful in-house polyglot Ines, we were able to communicate the Collaborative vision of trading utopia to the good roasters of Korea.

Yet despite the substantial investment, size and design of the coffee shops we visited, and the overwhelming interest from the roasters and baristas we met, we conclude that the coffee scene here is delicately blossoming rather than booming.  Most coffee chains continue to serve impressively low-grade coffees, although this does not seem to hamper their rapid growth.  The majority of coffee shops are closed during what we would consider as the on-the-way-to-work rush hour in the morning.  They prefer instead to start later and stay open until the wee hours, providing a sensory sanctuary for the alcohol averse.

Interestingly, many roasters here also run training academies (from whence they gain the majority of their revenue) comparting the delights of cupping to the bubbling masses of coffee enthusiasts willing to pay for these services.  Thus as we speak a handful more dedicated Koreans have learnt to decipher a good dark roast from a toast, single origin from a blend, fresh as a daisy from baggy and old.  And here lies the future my friends.  For soon these zealous Disciples of the Bean will be spurning the mainstream, and jumping, salmon-like, against the flow of mediocrity to buy only the best, create their own cafés, and roast their own coffee. And with a population of forty nine million and rising, South Korea is one to watch.

Joanna

Le Carnaval du Café (videos)

http://vimeo.com/channels/417597/52600994 Robert Thoresen: introducing the Collaborative Coffee Source

http://vimeo.com/channels/417597/52447142

Jacques Carneiro - Creating Carmo Coffees: producing some of the worlds best naturals and pulped naturals

http://vimeo.com/channels/417597/52427194

Professor Flávio Borém, Understanding natural processing: the science behind the creating the perfect cup profile

http://vimeo.com/channels/417597/52604159

Daniel Peterson, Hacienda Esmeralda, Panama, Pioneering Geisha

http://vimeo.com/channels/417597/53152090

Emile Kamwenubusa: specialty coffee in Burundi.  Challenges and opportunities!

Emile Kamwenubusa - Burundi Agribusiness Program

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Emile comes to Paris from a coffee growers’ family. His family acquired land in 1971 in the Ngozi province – one of the most merited and recognized provinces for high quality coffee in Burundi. As a teenager, Emile studied full-time but helped out on the family farm during the holidays – picking, mulching and pruning. He eventually graduated from the University of Burundi’s High Agriculture Institute. The beginning of Emile’s career was spent working on large-scale projects aimed at reforming the country’s whole agriculture sector. From 1988-1995, Emile was involved in a World Bank funded project that was administered through the Ministry of Agriculture. The aim of this project was to collect data of all Burundi’s crops for the purpose of future planning and reformation.

In 1996, Emile began to specialize in the coffee sub-sector; his first position in coffee was SOGESTAL Ngozi’s general manager. All Burundi’s coffee washing stations (CWS) are grouped into five regions and the Ngozi region oversees 28 CWSes. As general manager, Emile’s chief responsibility was to coordinate and organize all wet processing activities amongst the CWSes. In addition, he was charged with introducing, promoting and selling coffee from SOGESTAL Ngozi to international markets.

The East African Fine Coffee Association (EAFCA, now simply African Fine Coffee Association, AFCA) exists to first, increase quality of coffee in participating countries and second, to promote and present coffee from participating countries to international buyers. Burundi became a member in 2000, as one of six of the earliest members of this body. From 2003-2004, Emile acted as Burundi’s country coordinator to EAFCA.

From 2004 to 2007, Emile worked with a variety of associations and organizations in Burundi aiming to increase knowledge and best practice of high quality coffee production. He has worked to implement UTZ certification with SOLIDARIDAD, has consulted for the Regulatory Authority of Burundi’s Coffee Sector (ARFIC) and various other groups, in order to develop training materials on best agriculture practices in coffee.

Beginning in 2007, Emile started working solely on the Burundi Agribusiness Program, as Coffee Value Chain Manager. In this capacity, Emile oversees improvement in production, productivity and quality from grower to exporter. He works with coffee actors at all levels with the overarching aim of linking quality in the field to quality in the cup. In addition, Emile works with growers, cooperatives and certification bodies to obtain certification and also helps develop new grower cooperatives.

 Emile will be joining us to speak in Paris.  We still have a few places left, click here to purchase. 

When processing coffee cherries... What happens?

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As professional coffee roasters, as professional coffee tasters, as professional baristi we often wonder: What is the relationship between the flavor attributes in the coffee beverage and what has actually happened to the cherry while processing. And beyond that: What did the coffee genotype (varietal) contribute to the flavor in the first place?

These topics are what the research work of Prof. Flávio Borem from University of Lavras in Brazil is all about. At the Collaborative Coffee Source Event in Paris Oct. 26-27 2012 he will present his groundbreaking work in this field. As you can understand, we are very excited!

CCS: We're curious! What exactly happens during natural and washed coffee drying?

Prof. Borem: In my presentation I will show that differences in the quality between natural and washed coffees during drying go beyond a simplified explanation that the sweetness of the natural coffee comes from the sweet mucilage.

CCS: Oh, Radical stuff! How about the interaction between the Genotype, the Environment, and the Processing?

Prof. Borem: Basically, I’m planning to show some results from the studies of space/time distribution of natural and pulped natural coffee quality. After that, we will be cupping samples from this study!

CCS:  Can't wait. See you in Paris!

Prof. Borem: I am very pleased to go to Paris to meet you, cupping and speaking about coffee. This is an amazing opportunity. Thank you!

...

You:  Coming ?

Honestly! Why Paris?

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With all due respect, as much as Paris is the food capital of the world, it used to be a joke to even think of Paris as a coffee destination. Well that was until just a few months ago.

For two days we want to make Paris the Coffee Capital. And as a matter of fact, things are changing quickly – and Paris IS on its way to becoming a coffee destination too and that is why we want to be here now.

We are in Europe after all. And Paris is at the center of it. Geograpichally it’s obvious. It’s Convenient. Its Beautiful.

CUTTING EDGE(S)

Lets start with talking about the fringes.

Any movement usually starts as a marginal thing. Even in marginal places. Just like Seattle once was the specialty coffee hub (deserved or not) it is at least geographically not at the center of the US market. And as we know, the cutting edge coffee places were not seen in NYC until recent years.  Japan´s most influential Coffee company is in a mountain hill town, Kentaro Maruyama moved into Tokyo last week. Scandinavia is an outpost on this continent, but in specialty coffee it has become a destination.

THE EVENT. THE IDEA. PARIS 2012

For one weekend we want to share. We want to facilitate. We want to participate.

The ambition is to build a community. Many eager and competent coffee roasters around the continent have received coffees through the Collaborative. On behalf of the coffee farmers we are proud to say that we have found good homes for their lots. Now that the coffees are ”out there” we want to ask for samples of it back that we can cup together.

We are gathering a bunch of roasters – you – from all over Europe, to get together as proud craftsmen and women. We’ll talk about our craft and proudly share the coffees that we have roasted with such skill and care.  Sourced by The Collaborative, roasted by you, all together on the same table. We are organizing a cupping where you’ll get the rare opportunity to compare you roast style with other ambitious roasters and craftsmen and women of Europe.  Not for competition, but for cultural interaction and education. Other professional coffee cuppers and Baristas from all over the continent (and further) have signed up to come as well. Thus this is a unique chance to get a truly interesting feedback and discussions on the regional, company or personal culinary craft of roasting coffee. (even coffee from same farm, but roasted, thus approached with different craft. Then cup it comparatively. On the same table, the same day). For collegial interaction and fun.

We have carefully restricted the number of attendees at the event.  We want there to be time and space for interaction and access to the coffees and the people who grew them.

THE COLLABORATIVE COFFEE SOURCE

It lies in the name. The Collaborative Coffee Source´s ambition is to be a source, and we want to do it in a collaborative way. We strive for making the coffee trade a transparent interaction between equally important partners; the maker, the importer, the roaster.

We source the coffees from the origins we work with that are outstanding the every meaning of the word. It goes without saying that the cup needs to speak for itself, thus beyond that – or better said – before that, there is a place and people who we want to learn about. The collaborative model is not to take ownership of that, but share it with you – the roaster. After all, it is your coffee.

There is no coffee trader around who’s ultimate goal is to connect you directly with the Place and the People who actually made the coffee you’d be roasting. The Collaborative doesn’t stock green coffee. We find it and we make sure it finds good homes, in Europe, and further afield. If you liked one coffee in the first place, you might be willing to stick to working with a farmer who has committed himself to making awesome coffee for you.

We want to make sure that that happens. And we want to make sure that you get it in a timely fashion.

Welcome to the collaborative!

THE NEWEST CROP: SOUTHERN BRAZIL

We are presenting and cupping the freshest lots of coffees right now.

BRAZIL finished their harvest in the highest growing regions a few weeks ago, the coffee lots are resting and getting ready to be shipped. We were there to preselect the cream of the crop from the highest merited regions - and now we’ll present them to you.

BURUNDI. We are thrilled to present to you this East African gem. It is like the new promised land. A new star from the African continent, wonderfully clean and sweet-tasting. We can’t wait to share our findings and our excitement.

HARD CORE EDUCATION:

VARIETALS

All of the coffees that we are getting from Carmo de Minas in Brazil and all of the coffees from Burundi are Bourbon coffees, thus this is a unique chance to taste & talk about and attributes of Bourbon as a varietal.  To further enlighten and enhance our understanding of varietals, we have invited some of the highest merited coffee farmers on the Planet, the person who has had the fortune, curiosity and skill to work out a strategy for this is what has driven the roasting end of the industry more than anything else in the last few years.

PROCESSING NATURALS

Flavio Borem is a big deal.  He´s never shown his work in Europe before and we are flying him over to share his work with us.  His investigations at the University of Lavras in Brazil are about how processing affects the quality and the taste profile of the coffee in the cup.  This is what we have all being dying to know for so long.  And here he is to tell us.

SO WHY, AGAIN?

Because it is a unique opportunity to choose coffees you wish to purchase.  And to mingle with your European counterparts.

Because it is educational and informative thus giving you a better understanding of what is happening in the coffee world – directly from source.

Lofty ambitions? Sure, why go for less.

So we have found a sexy loft for it.

- Robert