August 24, 2007
On my way to Tokyo I had a direct flight from Seattle, but my return had a 9hr layover in Hawaii (where I went surfing and got burned) before arriving in San Francisco. Here I boarded an Alaskan Airlines flight and soon after boarding I’m reading Alaska Airlines Magazine and I’m see an article titled “True Brew” – Small roasters take coffee to a new level. And then a close up cupping pic with that beautiful new cupping table at Victrola, their roaster, pics of stumptown and vivacce. A clip from the article:
“The growing emphasis on single-origin coffees demonstrates that coffee’s flavor is deeply influenced by it;s place of origin – its terroir, to borrow a winemaking term. In searching for flavorful coffees, roasters develop a rich understanding of coffee-growing regions and become very speific in their choices. Victrola and Barefoot, for example, have both determined that they’ll be purchasing coffee from small parcels of Finca Vista Hermosa in northern Guatemala.
Newbom visited the farm in February and spent several days working with the growers to identify the four microlots he wished to purhase. “Some of these microlots can be as small as one hectare [roughly 2.4 acres], and we’re selling the coffee with the name of that farm and microlot. They’ll all be separately labeled and sold, and this is the first year they’ve had a reason to separate them from each other.”
Well we have separated them since the begining, but this is the first year we’ve had a realized a demand for this and are pleased that people are taking interest and actually working with us in differentiating our micro lots. As many roasters like to share what coffee they’re drinking… I sometims sample roast our own and enjoy different microlots each morning. This won’t have the same meaning for everyone, but when you KNOW the work that has gone into each bean, including details of soil types and amounts of sun each plant receives, the varietal and age of the plant… the steepness of the mountain side, the honey jasmin smell of the flowering and the feel of the inside of the washing channels and wooden pannels etc… tasting microlots really is taking coffee to a whole new level.
Keep you’re eyes open for the new crop now at Victrola and Barefoot. Barefoot actually has purchase 4 different microlots and a almost all of our peaberry.
August 20, 2007
I got a call last week from Aaron Blanco of Brown Coffee. I can’t describe how rewarding it is to have great communication with people that are doing great things with our coffee. I have had the priviledge to stay with Aaron and his family in his home a few days and he has reciprocated and spent a few weeks with us on the farm. These are the things that are hard to put a price on. I like to think there are 2 types of marketing whether you’re selling coffee, cheese or carpet cleaning services. First the kind that get people in the door (even if you have no brick and mortar location). This isn’t always, but can be very gimicky. This is what get’s people to check you out the first time, or maybe give you another chance. Then there is marketing that keeps you in the door or keeps you coming back. This is where the perceived value is equal to or greater than what is paid. And so you go back because of good experience and value received, and this is where the best kind of natural contageous marketing takes place…. word of mouth. Hopefully it’s good. Thank you Aaron for representing.
Also check out the Tshirts Aaron has made celebrating FVH’s 50 year anniversary! I happen to be wearing one today. This was originally born out of Aaron wanting to find a creative way to partner with FVH and maybe raise some funds to help purchase some more sheep or some Cloppers (cows) for improving local diet providing milk and of course for their ferrtilizer contributions. Unfortunately we didn’t want to commit to a “program” until we were 100% sure and had all our ducks in a row. We have had some problems with the sheep of and on. But things seem to be going very well now. Stay tuned.
August 16, 2007
I’ve captioned most of the photos, so I won’t put many of them directly onto blog unless I have something of interest to share beyond the caption. Enjoy.
Thank you Gabe Rodriguez for walking me through getting set up on flickr.
August 13, 2007
August 1, 2007
Yesterday I had lunch with Mr. Shuji Akimoto, President of the Fadie Corporation and director of Membership development for SCAJ. He played a key role in aquiring our coffee through the CoE for a co-op of 16 micro roasters from all over Japan who I had the priviledge to have breakfast with this morning. Last night I attended the Gala dinner party that was the most amazing display of music and art representing many countries in Asia I have ever seen in my life. I’ve also enjoyed sharing meals with World Barista competitors/champions even though the conversation get over my head. Tomorrow the finals take place and I’ll be scouting out Tokyo with an old friend hunting down and checking out some strictly siphon coffee bars. Japanese seem to have the best of everything, and for some reason Vac Pot brewing has taken off. It is probably one of the best methods to prepare a great cup with phenomenal clarity, but the costs associated with this brew method – primarily labor make it a tough match for commercial use. In Japan however this hurdle is not as big. In fact an overlooked event that I made sure to set aside time to observe is the Japanese Barista Competition which ran simultaneously yesterday. This is completely different that the espresso based competition most of the world would associate a barista competition with. It is a siphon only competition!!!!! The tendency was to highlight unique traits in single origins and talk about them with acurate descriptors, which of course makes me happy. My wife bought us a new camera last week, and I’ve made the effort to shamelessly take many pictures. I’ll up load some of them with in the week.