If you aren’t visiting Renato Correia at the Espresso Lab in Cape Town, South Africa in the next few days there are only two places in the world where you can get it.  da Matteo in Göteborg, Sweden and Barefoot in Santa Clara, California USA. Above picture stolen with permission from Renato’s flickr, check it out  to see a beautiful roastery that is all white – leaving coffee to be the natural focal point.  If you do happen to be in SA, Tribeca is currently carrying some fvh as well as El Paternal.

Upon searching through the daMatteo blog I found a photo of Soren Stiller 2008 Danish Barista Champion in Milan last week who seems to be pouring fvh honey whole bean into a cup on a skinny version of the uber boiler’s scale.  I don’t know how he finds the time to do this between holding a full time job in Copenhagen, etching Barak Obama in the UK and his Growers Cup side project.

HOST Milano09 009

While I love experimenting and am willing to take risks, I also hate to mess up a good thing.  Andy Newbom requested we do a honey lot, and so we did.  Only because it was Andy.  And maybe it is because he has a chef’s personality.  Chef in french means BOSS, but in the culinary trade, chef’s tend to be known for being obsessive and sometimes perfectionists.  Not sure if Andy is a perfectionist, but he certainly is obsessive about trying something every which way imaginable until discovering something beautiful and perfect.  He will be coming back to Guatemala this harvest for the 4th time.  My conclusions on our honey is that it yields everything I expected.  The acidity is tapered down a bit and their is more body and incredible molasses sweetness.  My problem with this is that I think this is attainable with many other coffees around us and giving our coffee a honey process means loosing some of what I like most in our coffee.  The sparkling super clean and sweet juicy acidity.  While our coffee is mild bodied it is actually refreshing to where you don’t crave something else in between sips, you just want to chug it.  Yes, chug it.  I must give credit for this descriptor to Ben Kaminsky who on rare occasion is known to refer to a coffee as “chuggable”.  While fvh honey is not chuggable, it is a great fit for those with a sweet tooth.  Pair this with a nice dry unsweetened buttery pastry.  Yes, this is a Guatemalan coffee with enough body to stand up to butter.

Despite adamantly requesting the entire lot, thank you for sharing Andy.

Yes, it is true.  After years of hearing roasters say, “I wonder what a natural from your farm would taste like” we finally caved in.  Linus Törsäter from The Coffee Collective, Chad from Evo and Madcap along with the crew from BFCT agreed to do some of the work for a very small batch.  So they will reap the rewards of their work and if you want to taste this, you’ll have to track one of them down in the coming months because we are only doing about 600 lbs of cherry.  This means each of the above will only have enough to do ONE small batch roast to play with.  I will have to personally drive the dried natural cherry to a micro mill that has a SCOTTISH or IRISH dry mill to then clean and sort by hand.  Dry milling naturals is actually much more work in the the dry mill stage… and of course, potentially much less in the preceding stages.

Jake put together a wonderful video of kids interacting with his beard, some soccer and some coffee.

Photo and video by Jake Liefer.  Click on here to see video

2008 Harvest at FVH

April 15, 2008

Usually when one is busy time passes quickly. The last 2 months have seemed an eternity. Carlos and Edwin Garcia Martin continue to be missed tremendously. In their absence many relationships have grown stronger.

I have learned much about how we all process differently. And different is not wrong. Grieving takes many forms. With out means to preserve a body, funerals take place with in 24 hrs. There were a few hundred at the funeral that mourned loudly for a few days. Sometimes it is most difficult to deal with the present reality, and anything outside of denial seems impossible.

At such a time everything else seems so unimportant, yet distractions seem to be so comforting. Two months ago we were right in the middle of harvest with full patios and Diego, Carlos’ oldest stepped forward and chose to take his fathers responsibilities. Juana and most of her kids have since been in San Juan their home town to be close to their extended families despite not having lived there for 20 years. Diego spends half his time at FVH and chooses to sleep in the bodega alone with the coffee rather than in his home, the managers home. Life is different for many of us.

Early March on a layover in LA I went to visit John Gozbekian at LAMILL where the food is unreal and their culinary approach is mind blowing. Then before leaving I had to pay a visit to TONX as well. Soon after arrival I met up with Ryan Brown from Ritual along with Ben and Jaime from Barismo to embark on a new venture. We cupped at 7 of the largest exporters in Guatemala along side many CoE judges. I will post more on this later… possibly on a different blog. Since then Jaime has written a piece that is thought provoking and hopefully inspiring any reader to get back to the basics. The post is dated March 31, 2008.

started with Ryan, Ben and Jaime

And we picked up a few more friends along the way…

OCEANS 13 - click on pic for more info

Lindsay, Mike, Mark and Perry - Victrola Kelli and Aaron - ONYX COFFEE

Klaus, Aaron, Mark and Ben have also posted pics on flickr.

To read more detail on the latter part of this trip please check out:

Klaus Thomsen (TCC) PART1, PART2 AND PART3

Victrola PART1, PART2 and PART

DSCF0026, originally uploaded by edwinfvh.

I thought I would comment a little more on some of the details people often enquire about. This place seems quite secure and has a fenced area the size of an indoor soccer field that is locked internally to keep the CoE coffees separate from the general “run of the mill”…. literally.

There is no signage on the main road, and you have to drive into a gated yard to weigh in, then exit and re-enter on the back side off a narrow gravel road to unload. I asked the plant manager about this, and it will change soon as it makes sense for accountability reasons to weigh immediately before and after a load or unload. Regardless the facility seems quite secure and very UN marked. You just about need GPS coordinates and exact milemarkers to find this as the only place I saw a sign is this scratch on the back door 2 blocks back from the main road. Otherwise you’d never know that this plant can process over $200,000 of coffee a day.

This is the next to the last article I’m writting for now. The May/June titled “Identity Crisis” just came out as well in time for SCAA. Click on the title below for March/April article.

coffee is humbling

This explains alot!

April 4, 2007

My cousin Chino in Guatemala just sent this to me, and I couldn’t resist posting it.  Don’t criticize me for being unprofessional.  It’s just a blog!  Follow these directions and click on link below.


A few have asked me lately where they can go for more info, is there a website for more on SCAJ 2007.  Anyone can become a member of SCAJ for about $250 bucks.  If you don’t see value in SCAA, I doubt you’ll be prompted to become a SCAJ member.  But it’s worth considering if you plan to do busn in Japan.


WBC AND SCAJ 2007 SITE – july 31, 2007 -august 2, 2007

more later