The joys of cupping

February 27, 2007

Some things never get old. We’re getting ready to partner up with an old friend on a new educational venture which will include a cupping lab in Bellingham. Lease hold improvements have not yet been made. This didn’t stop us from having our first informal cupping on Feb the 24th. I stationed triangulations in different spots. We had family and friends visit from Guatemala, Colombia, Panama and Argentina. We at FVH have ordered a bunch of custom “FVH” stainless steel cupping spoons, however they will never be quite as cool as the limited run ordered at the local market in Huehue given to each attendee on the FVH barista trip in Jan. CLICK HERE TO SEE A CLOSE UP PIC AT BARISMO.

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Visit to the Elysian Room

February 26, 2007

Last week I somehow managed to convince my wife Nina that we should celebrate our anniversary by visiting Aaron De Lazzer and his wife Heidi at the Elysian Room. Aaron has retired from the luxurious lifestyle of a free agent consultant and now he calls Ethical Bean his home. Behind the bar Mathew made me a cup of Hache and then brewed up 12 more oz on the clover for us of our own Finca Vista Hermosa (roasted by anacafe the week before).

Aaron and Heidi sharing coffee with us at the Elysian Room

Nina and I at Elysian celebrating our anniversary

Mathew brews up Finca Vista Hermosa on the Clover

Pictured below are Bruno’s legs, Ric Rhinehart of Groundwork, Rachel Peterson, Nina Martinez and Price Peterson.

Bruno Ric Rachel Nina Price

Last month Nina and I had the privilege to get to know Rachel Peterson. Most of you are probably familiar with Hacienda La Esmeralda. It’s one thing to be born into a family and another to be part of the family business. Rachel is now both!. She took the Q grader exams with us and was 1 of 3 to get the Q grader certification, and although we have not received our final scores back, I would be willing to bet she came out on top. Rachel has 2 kids, plays soccer competitively and is now representing her folks and siblings selling her family coffee. Despite the press and the phenomenal prices the Petersons are getting for their coffee, Price shared with me that it’s the dairy that keeps the operation stable. Being a coffee grower is so romanticized. I know so many in north america that have bought land having been enamoured with the idea of being a coffee grower, and many growers who have moved to north america to develop a market for their coffee. Both noble causes, but with out quality you need quantity to do well on a good year. And what about the bad years? Well, survival equals success. This is why quality is the #1 determining factor in increasing sustainability. This is a value that people will always pay for.

If you would like any of their coffee you can track rachel down through their website, and as of today Feb 20th, the kind folks at Atlas have about 140 lbs remaining of the especial.

A few years ago I read an article in Entrepreneur magazine about a man who had networking down to an art and a science. It’s much like roasting – a full science OR a full art approach won’t cut it. It takes both. Anyway the interview addressed how he managed to foster and maintain so many relationships while developing new ones. Although it was never spelled out, I picked up that he was not afraid of collaboration. He made it a goal to help others be successful. It takes a lot of energy, passion and sometimes a very big heart to pull this off. From the day I met Bruno I was overwhelmed with his Bruno-ness. Those of you who know him are smiling this very second and you know exactly what I’m talking about. Those of you who don’t are missing out =). Below he tells the story of how he got shot and rushed to a hospital in a funeral wagon in Minas Gerais, Brasil. If you want to purchase some of his coffee visit BRAZILIAN COFFEE ESTATES. Currently their coffee can be picked from Costa Oro not to far from Bruno’s home in Beaverton, OR. Bruno this post is for you today. Happy Birthday Bruno!

Bruno standing still

New addition at Victrola

February 13, 2007

Edwin and Victrola

These photos were taken at Finca Filadelphia in Antigua which is like the disneyland of coffee farms. Photos courtesy of Simon Thompson at Cravens Coffee

close up of victrola Edwin and Victrola

Chris Sharp was originally scheduled to join us on this roaster trip. But he had more important matters to tend to: CLICK HERE TO SEE THE NEW ADDITION TO VICTROLA. Congradulations Chris and Jen!

Yesterday Monday Feb 12th, I stopped in un-announced as usual (It’s fun to keep folks on their toes). Davida and Shawn gave me both a very warm welcome and the machiatto was… well PERFECT! It’s really nice to be back in the northwest for a few weeks.