Roasters / Tostadores

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.

Living Our Values 2017


It’s that time of year when we pause to review our past and plan for our future. At CCS, we have taken this time to consider why this company was founded, its successes and frustrations, and our hopes for the coming years.

The report, “Collaborative Coffee Source, Living Our Values 2017,” is an attempt to highlight the work we are doing to achieve our mission to “source the right coffee, the right way.”

With this document we aim to hold ourselves accountable to our producers, partners, and customers, and everyone working in specialty coffee.

Before the end-of-year celebrations begin in earnest, we hope you find a moment to read this report. We invite you to question, comment and respond. Please email us at with your thoughts.

Read the report: Collaborative Coffee Source, Living Our Values 2017

Co-Roasting Spaces — Building Coffee Communities

Announcing the first in a quarterly series of cuppings at Bay Area CoRoasters, Berkeley, California: Tuesday Dec 5, 10am. See below for details and reserve your space on our Facebook page.

Co-roasting spaces such as Bay Area CoRoasters (or CoRo for short) are crucial businesses in the specialty coffee industry, providing an entry into the expensive business of roasting. Co-Ro offers memberships to coffee companies who then receive scheduled time on one of the four roasters on their production floor of their West Berkeley space.

An affordable beginning for new roasters

Co-roasting spaces give young companies time to practice, learn and build their business, before making the large investment of time and money in finding their own space, setting up machines, and acquiring the necessary permits. 

“Our goal is to provide all of the infrastructure and capital intensive equipment for you to start a coffee business,” said Floy Andrews, co-founder and CEO of CoRo. “All of that investment is shared by different brands.”

One of four roasters available on the CoRo production floor. Image courtesy of  Bay Area CoRoasters .

One of four roasters available on the CoRo production floor. Image courtesy of Bay Area CoRoasters.

CoRo is also in a position to keep their roasting space up to date. “We’re really focused on having the newest technology,” Floy said. For example, “we’re switching out the afterburner with a thing called a Vortex which is a water quench mechanism. It collects the dirt in the smoke, and its strained into a bucket. It’s not toxic - it’s actually good for your plants. Afterburners release a lot of CO2 and [the Vortex] aligns more with the values of Co-Ro.”

Building a Coffee Community

But CoRo is so much more than simply an affordable way to roast. In keeping with the spirit of the Bay Area where they are located, CoRo has a mission to create a community. In addition to the four roasters available, the CoRo space offers members a QC lab and a cupping room. Here they hold events and offer their members training and development on their journey as coffee professionals.

CoRo offer classes in roasting and production. Image courtesy of  Bay Area CoRoasters .

CoRo offer classes in roasting and production. Image courtesy of Bay Area CoRoasters.

Regular cuppings are held in the CoRo Cupping Room. Image courtesy of  Bay Area CoRoasters .

Regular cuppings are held in the CoRo Cupping Room. Image courtesy of Bay Area CoRoasters.

Then there’s the “Green Wall”, a space for importers to leave greens samples of their coffee for roasting, cupping and comparison. “The way green coffee is distributed, traditionally, is sort of out of sync with the way these small roasters operate,” Floy explained. “Our Green Wall is our first endeavor in connecting small roasters to a range of importers. It plays into the community space function of Co-Ro.”

The Green Coffee Wall at CoRo. Image courtesy of  Bay Area CoRoasters .

The Green Coffee Wall at CoRo. Image courtesy of Bay Area CoRoasters.

CCS and CoRo Community Events

At CCS we believe strongly that community is essential to the growth and sustainability of the specialty coffee industry, so we're excited to announce two initiatives:

CCS Quarterly Cuppings at CoRo

Colleen will be running quarterly cuppings in the cupping room at CoRo! The first will be next Tuesday December 5 at 10am. Join us for a cupping of Late Harvest Hondurans from Santa Barbara, plus Colombian coffees from Huila and Tolima. Contact Colleen to learn more, or sign up on our Facebook page.

Roasting Q&A with Matt Hassell

Matt Hassell, Buyer, Sample Manager and QC Director at Collaborative Coffee Source, and former roaster for George Howell Coffee, will be answering your roast questions starting immediately after the cupping at CoRo next week. The Q&A will begin at midday Tuesday Dec 5 and run until midday Tuesday Dec 12. Whatever your roast quandary, Matt is here to help. Post your question on Twitter to @collaborativeCS and use the hashtag #ccsQandA.

Roaster Profile: Belleville Brulerie


IMG_5413 Name: Belleville Brulerie People: Thomas Lehoux & David Nigel Flynn Location: Paris, France Services: Roasting, retail and wholesale sales Equipment: Giesen W15 Opening Date: September 2013




Thomas and David have been active in the Parisian coffee community for the last four years, working with different people, projects and within various capacities. They started Belleville Brulerie in 2013, finding that none of the then current roasted options in the city served what they were looking for. Paris is an espresso-loving city and being filter coffee lovers, Thomas and David want to provide Paris coffee drinkers with great filter options.

Belleville’s roasting concept is simple: to use high quality green coffee and roast it in such a way that highlights sweetness and leads to an overall tasty experience for the drinker. This means that rather than highlighting a particular roasting style, the goal is to roast in such a way that the coffee’s own merits come through. Underlying all this is the notion that drinking great coffee should be a simple endeavor. Coffee is a complex enough product on its own: brewing tasty coffee need not be. To this end, Belleville doesn’t push its customers to adopt complicated and wide-ranging brew methods: espresso and batch brews can and should produce tasty coffee.

Matching its service concepts, Belleville’s purchasing is based on working long-term with producers that are themselves working hard to ensure a high quality from season-to-season. David envisions working with the Moreno family long term, for example. When the roastery first opened, Jesus Moreno’s coffee was in the initial lineup and the reception of his coffee was overwhelmingly positive: Jesus’ coffee consistently sold out first on the days the roastery opens for retail sales (Saturdays). Evidence that Parisian coffee is more than just about espresso allongé.

IMG_5403 IMG_5361 IMG_5313

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.


Roaster Profile: da Matteo

da Matteo Roastery

da Matteo Roastery

da Matteo opened in 2003 after previously operating under the name “Caffè Espresso”. There are currently three locations – all within walking distance of one another, in Gothenburg, Sweden. Each space is unique: the original is a charming “hole-in-a-wall”, the second boasts a big open courtyard with many food options and the last, a combination roastery/bakery/café, is rustic, with stone walls and cobblestoned flooring.

Matts Johansson, founder of da Matteo, is a coffee pioneer in Sweden. He previously worked as a chef and opened his first café in the early-90s. Coffee represents an exploration of flavour and the meeting of people to Matts, and this is what inspired his move into coffee.

da Matteo Courtyard

da Matteo Courtyard

From the very beginning, Matts’ aim was to make roasting the core of da Matteo’s business and in 2007, a café/roastery was added to da Matteo’s line-up. The roasting side of the business quickly outgrew the location’s capacity, so in 2010, roasting operations moved to its current location, a large old 19th century stable. This facility also houses a bakery/café, which is separated from the roastery. 2010 also marked the year da Matteo’s slogan “Craftsmanship, Meetings and Stories” was released and this philosophy emphasizes da Matteo’s focus on freshness, quality and honest and simple products. As quoted (then translated) from da Matteo’s website: “We want more people to drink good coffee. We do that through craftsmanship, openness and sharing. These are the ways we build a good coffee culture.”

When da Matteo began roasting, the micro-roastery movement was just taking off in Sweden – they were one of the first quality-focused roasteries in the country. da Matteo continues to be a leader within specialty coffee in Sweden and it aims to push as well as build and develop this community.

Cupping at da Matteo

Cupping at da Matteo

May 10 Cuppings in Gothenburg


Last Thursday Da Matteo roastery graciously hosted Collaborative cuppings for roasters interested in buying incoming coffees from Honduras and Panama. Since Giancarlo was also in Sweden at the time, Virmax took the opportunity to present on varietals in Colombia - specifically in the Santander, Valle del Cauca and Huila regions. El Roble is a state-of-the-art farm Kaffa started buying from last year and during this cupping, we presented three varietals from this farm (caturra, bourbon and typica), as well as a geisha from Cerro Azul Estate and a caturra from Omar Viveros' farm.

In attendance were representatives from Åre Kafferosteri, Johan & Nyström, Kahls kafferosteri, Dear Coffee, I Love You, Coffee and Memories, First Degree Coffee and Kaffemaskenin. From Santa Barbara in Honduras, 18 lots were cupped; 6 lots from the Los Angeles, Helsar and Don Mayo Mills in Costa Rica were selected; 1 lot each from the Yukro and Hawa Yember washing stations in Ethiopia were sampled; and finally, a variety of coffees from the Don Pepe, Lerida and Esmeralda farms in Panama were presented.

In general, cuppers were very excited about the Honduran and Ethiopian lots and felt that the Costa Rican lots were very clean but perhaps lacking in distinctness and character, in comparison to some of the others. Also of interest, and leading to much discussion, were the differences in cup profiles of the different varietals coming from El Roble, as well as the naturally processed geishas from Panama. Cuppers felt the Honduran coffees presented cleanly, distinctly (i.e. varietals as well as locations), with many exotic fruit notes, intensity and sweetness.

With respect to the geishas, we decided to dedicate a table to coffees from Esmeralda, specifically from the Jaramillo farm. Back in 2006, Robert asked the Petersons to begin separating lots from different areas of Jaramillo and year after year, he has preferred coffee from "Mario's area" (Mario is one of the people who live on this part of the farm). Even more specifically, Robert has cupped at various times this year and is most interested in pickings from February and March.

So, based on feedback we've received from last Thursday's cuppings in Gothenburg and in addition to prior organizing, we are in the process of finalizing shipments from Honduras and Panama. To allow for further contribution, we are hosting a cupping in London this Friday at Prufrock so that UK roasters can participate. News from this event to follow...

Until then,


Collaborative Cuppings: Oslo - Malmö - Paris

Cupping at Kaffa

Cupping at Kaffa

A couple of weeks ago, we had the opportunity to cup some of our samples from Kenya together with roasters and members of the coffee community in London. Soon after we started planning another cupping at KAFFA in Oslo, where we cupped more samples from Kenya. This time we included samples from Guatemala, Costa Rica, Panama, Ethiopia and Brazil, as we are working on bringing coffee in from these regions. Again we managed to invite not only roasters from Norway, but also roasters from Sweden, Finland and Russia. Quite an international cupping! We decided to do more Collaborative cuppings not only because it is important for us to meet roasters and share our coffees but also because it is very important for roasters to get together, cup together and share their thoughts and ideas.

So, after the Oslo cupping and on quite a short notice, we managed to put together two more cuppings the following week. First in Malmö, Sweden and then in Paris, France. Several enthusiastic roasters got together on both occasions and cupped some very interesting lots. I especially enjoyed cupping the coffees from Bella Vista in Antigua, where I was able to taste the fruit of Bjørnar's work during his visit to Guatemala.

Overall, the cuppings were interesting. Some lots received more attention than others but I personally enjoy every coffee we carry. I also truly appreciate meeting with engaged roasters and to hear feedback on the Collaborative Coffee Source.

I would like to thank all the roasters that took the time to come and cup with us in Oslo, Malmö and Paris. And special thanks to Dan, Johan and Jonas at Solde kafferosteri and David and Nicolas at Télescope for hosting the cuppings for us!

Where will we cup next time? We don’t know. Maybe you do?