SUSTAINABLE COFFEE PIONEERS | UC DAVIS COFFEE & TEA RESEARCH | BARISTA UNION | BOOK REVIEWS
#TRENDING April 2018 Â» freshcup.com
Coffee Liqueurs PAGE 20
T H E M AG A Z I N E F O R S P E C I A LT Y CO F F E E & T E A P RO F E S S I O N A L S S I N C E 1 9 9 2
FEATURES APRIL 2018 | VOL. 27, NO. 4 | FRESH CUP MAGAZINE
The Price of Green Coffee Breaking down the various factors that add dollars to the cost of every container of specialty coffee.
BY RACHEL NORTHROP
New Life for Decaf Gone are the days when decaf meant dead flavors in the cup.
BY MICHAEL BUTTERWORTH
Thailand: Ready for Takeoff A new generation of importers and roasters is helping Thailand’s specialty coffee industry get off the ground.
BY RACHEL NORTHROP
Costa Rica Harvest Report 2017–18 Farmers and their families gear up for the busiest time of year.
BY PERRY CZOPP
Ho Chi Minh City Café Crawl Vietnam’s young coffee professionals drive quality in the city’s cafés and on the country’s farms.
BY DAN PETRISOR
8 | APRIL 2018 » freshcup.com
DEPARTMENTS APRIL 2018 | VOL. 27, NO. 4 | FRESH CUP MAGAZINE
Post Your Roast
#Trending: Coffee Liqueurs
Coffee roasters showcase their latest, greatest single origins and blends.
Roasters and distillers join forces to generate buzz between beans and booze. BY JODI HELMER
The Freshest Goods, Gadgets & Gizmos
People, News & Café Openings
Bar Termini, London
Palm Springs Coffee Crawl
BY ELIZABETH HOTSON
London’s Afternoon Teas & The Monk of Mokha
BY QUINTAN VALLES
BY PETER SZYMCZAK & JORDAN JOHNSON
FROM THE EDITOR , Page 12 | CONTRIBUTORS, Page 16 | C ALENDAR , Page 70 | AD INDE X , Page 72
10 | APRIL 2018 » freshcup.com
FROM THE EDITOR WHAT’S YOUR STORY?
CONNECT WITH US
ON THE COVER: Coffee harvest in Costa Rica Photo by Cheyanne Paredes PETER SZYMCZAK, EDITOR email@example.com
12 | APRIL 2018 » freshcup.com
EDITOR P HOTO BY CHAR L ES GUL LUNG P H OTOG R AP HY; PH OTO OF MOKHTAR COUR TES Y OF P OR T O F MO K H A ; TO P RIGH T PH OTO CO URT E SY O F SH IN CO FFE E
stopped by Powell’s Books, eager to pick up the new one by Dave Eggers, titled “The Monk of Mokha.” It tells the true story of a young American named Mokhtar Alkhanshali, who sets out on a mission to revive the coffee industry in Yemen. His story starts out in San Francisco’s Tenderloin District, where Mokhtar grew up the oldest of seven siblings. Intelligent and wily, he thrived as a “corner cutter,” although his prospects seemed to narrow with each passing year of unfulfilled promise. Seeking to correct his course in life, he journeys to his family’s ancestral homeland, Yemen, on the Arabian Peninsula, just across the Red Sea from Ethiopia, birthplace of coffee. “The whole planet drinks coffee, but it was born here,” Mokhtar says. “We should be proud of this. The world should know this.” MOKHTAR His back story is a real-life faiALKHANSHALI rytale and provides a fitting foundation for his specialty coffee brand—and it doesn’t stop there. Mokhtar and Eggers set up a fund for Yemeni farmers with proceeds from sales of the book. I would not be surprised at all to see Mokhtar’s story on the silver screen someday soon. Inspiring, powerful, impactful, Mokhtar’s story goes to show that a good brand story will resonate with consumers, while a great one—as Mokhtar’s most certainly is—can create actual change and propel the next chapter in coffee’s history. Read more about Mokhtar on page 74. Coincidentally, the SCA Expo plays a big role in Mokhtar’s story. He debuted his coffee at the 2016 event in dramatic fashion—you’ll have to read the book to find out just how dramatic—and the rest, as they say, is history. Suffice to say, we’re looking forward to the 2018 SCA Expo in Seattle, taking place April 19–22, to see what history will be made at this year’s event. And if you can’t make it to the expo, follow us @freshcupmag on Twitter and Instagram and like us on Facebook for all the latest news and other web-exclusive content.
FRESH CUP MAGAZINE | 13
FRESH CUP MAGAZINE FRESH CUP FOUNDER WARD BARBEE 1938-2006 FRESH CUP PUBLISHING Publisher and President JAN WEIGEL firstname.lastname@example.org EDITORIAL Editor PETER SZYMCZAK email@example.com Associate Editor JORDAN JOHNSON firstname.lastname@example.org ART Art Director CYNTHIA MEADORS email@example.com ADVERTISING Sales Manager MICHAEL HARRIS firstname.lastname@example.org Ad Coordinator DIANE HOWARD email@example.com Marketing Coordinator ANNA SHELTON firstname.lastname@example.org CIRCULATION Circulation Director ANNA SHELTON email@example.com ACCOUNTING Accounting Manager DIANE HOWARD firstname.lastname@example.org EDITORIAL ADVISORY BOARD DAVID GRISWOLD
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CONTRIBUTORS MICHAEL BUTTERWORTH is a coffee educator and consultant living in Istanbul, Turkey. He cofounded thecoffeecompass.com, mostly as an excuse to visit more cafés. He’s also a licensed Q grader and a two-time USBC competitor. His article “New Life for Decaf” (page 48) details how decaffeinated coffee is securing its place in specialty coffee thanks to new technologies and practices.
JODI HELMER is a North Carolinabased freelance writer covering the intersection between food and business. In this month’s trending story “#coffeeliqueurs” (page 20), she uncovers how distilleries and roasters across the nation are collaborating on projects that pair beans and booze to expand their offerings.
ELIZABETH HOTSON is a radio and online reporter for the BBC in London, and she can also sometimes be heard on NPR. She specializes in business and economics, but tries wherever possible to incorporate food and drink into her reporting. She enjoys travelling, especially where coffee is involved, and is always on the lookout for the next new thing. In this month’s Café Crossroads, Hotson talks with the founders of “Bar Termini” (page 36), one of the world’s top cocktail and coffee bars.
In the first of her three-part series on green coffee procurement, RACHEL NORTHROP breaks down the various factors that add dollars to the cost of every container of specialty coffee—see “The Price of Green Coffee” on page 40. She also writes in this issue about the new generation of farmers in Thailand who are changing the country’s coffee reputation— see “Thailand: Ready for Takeoff” on page 54. In addition to freelance writing, Northrop serves as communications manager with Ally Coffee and is the author of When Coffee Speaks.
16 | APRIL 2018 » freshcup.com
CHEYANNE PAREDES has lived in Arizona, Italy, and Brazil, and now resides in Portland, Oregon. She is a professional photographer with specialty coffee clients including Cartel Coffee Lab, Groundwork Coffee, as well as several other food and beverage artisans. Paredes photographed Costa Rica’s coffee farmers and pickers for the story “Costa Rica—Part Two: Harvest Report 2017–18” (page 60).
DAN PETRISOR is a former “corporatist” who quit his desk job and set out on a quest to improve his knowledge about specialty coffee. In one year of traveling in southeast Asia, he visited specialty coffee shops and coffee plantations, documenting everything on his blog, www. misternomadcoffee.com. In this issue, he takes us on a “Ho Chi Minh City Café Crawl” (page 66) and explores how the Vietnamese city’s coffee culture is flourishing as farmers and cafés begin to value quality over quantity. Back home in Romania, he sells specialty coffee from local roasteries.
PERRY CZOPP is a coffee professional from Phoenix, Arizona, currently exporting coffees from Costa Rica. He documented the country’s 2017–18 coffee harvest (see page 60) for the second chapter of his ongoing series, which aims to show how local farming communities manage every aspect of production while struggling to sustain their way of life.
QUINTAN VALLES is a freelance writer based in southern California. He also works as a relationship builder for Wild Goose Coffee Roasters, where, aside from the occasional gibraltar, he loves documenting advancements in coffee culture. He takes us on a tour of stylish desert cafés in “Palm Springs Coffee Crawl” (page 32), noting how attendees of the Coachella Music Festival make a massive economic mark on the region.
POST YOUR ROAST
HAPPYROCK COFFEE ROASTING COMPANY Darkness of Divinity. A dark roast coffee that you’ll want to drink all day, every day. Voted Best Coffee in Oregon at the 2011 Oregon State Fair. happyrockcoffee.com | 503-650-4876
HENRY’S HOUSE OF COFFEE
MANZANITA ROASTING COMPANY
The Armenian word for coffee is “soorj” and the way it is made is similar across most Balkan and Mediterranean countries. However, one thing that sets them all apart is the way they are ordered. In Armenia they call it “haygagan soorj.” In Greece, you order an “elliniko.” If you were in Lebanon you would say “gahwey arabi.” Regardless of what you call it, we take great pride in making sure the taste is universal. Enjoy.
Meet Weston and Samantha Nawrocki, owners of Manzanita Roasting Company and Coffee House in San Diego. Weston was a chef and sommelier and Sam brings experience from the wine business. Their palates united to start a craft coffee roaster two years ago. Sam and Wes work directly with small farmers and roast light to medium with an enviro-friendly Loring roaster. Their latest varietal coffee hails from the Long Miles Project in Burundi, supporting local farmers with local washing stations and fair prices. This natural Burundi displays fruity and floral notes, balance and complexity, much like a French Châteauneuf-du-Pape. Oh Oui!
henryshouseofcoffee.com | 650-678-4727
manzanitaroasting.com | 858-376-7335
NAPA VALLEY COFFEE ROASTING COMPANY
SACRED ACRE HEIRLOOM COFFEE
Pull Caffè is a heritage brand that celebrates the art of historic coffee roasting using wood fire on a 100-yearold German coffee roaster. The infused flavors of alder, cherry, and maple wood combined with barrel aging not only enhance the essence of the bean, but ultimately create an experience like no other. Pull Caffè has revived the traditional coffee blends of the late 1800s. The genuine blends are ideally balanced for all coffee brewing methods, including espresso. Pull Caffè also celebrates the time-honored craft of “vacuum packed canning” to preserve the ultimate freshness of the beans.
Scarcity and rarity are not to be taken lightly. We collaborate with farmers who have heirloom plants, and grow some of the world’s most unique and flavorful coffees. Every step of the process is considered to ensure the plants remain healthy and the land remains vital. Their knowledge of how to harvest, select and deliver these extremely rare beans has been passed down for generations, and now we pass the results on to you. Sacred Acre coffees are composed of heirloom varietals, and different single-origin coffees are featured throughout the year. For current offerings, please visit our website.
pullcaffe.com | 360-686-3643
sacredacrecoffee.com | 1-888-273-8684
SEVEN VIRTUES COFFEE ROASTERS
WILD GOOSE COFFEE ROASTERS
Seven Virtues Coffee Roasters in Portland, Oregon, is a family-owned small-batch coffee roaster. With a focus on single-origin coffee, we seek out traceable coffee by building relationships with community oriented sustainable farmers. Ethiopia Tegene is our current favorite! Tegene Abebe is a farmer in Harar district and this entire microlot of coffee originates from his farm. He strives to perfect his coffee by using nitrogen fixation in the soil, intercropping for plant health, biodiversity, and irrigation techniques. Tegene is a naturally processed coffee which we gently roast with notes of cherry pie, rhubarb, and maple.
Single-origin, farm-fresh, specialty Colombian coffee. Sourced from micro- and nano-lots from small familyowned farms with generations of experience, roasted with incredible care by professionals, and shipped to your doorstep. Green beans or custom roasted, for home or business, packed by pound or wholesale, we offer our expertise in both micro-exports and bulk exports so you can either enjoy an amazing cup of coffee at home or offer your clients truly fresh specialty coffees, directly from the mountains of Colombia. Our bean to your door in seven days or less!
superbiacoffee.com | 407-982-4618
The Iona Blend is a commemorative blend celebrating food donations provided by Wild Goose customers through its 1equals10 business model: for every pound of coffee sold, 10 pounds of food are provided to local food banks. To date, customers have donated 1.5 million pounds of food through this model. To recognize this milestone, Wild Goose has developed a sweet, rich blend named after the Scottish island of Iona, where the culture’s history of philanthropy and goodwill has inspired the team. This approachable, yet complex blend is a testament of Wild Goose customers’ generosity and the powerful vehicle of change that coffee is.
We’re second-generation roasters and have been smallbatch roasting specialty coffees in Napa Valley since 1985. Check out our Napa Valley Blend—a smooth and rich blend with sweet and nutty flavors. Made from a lighterroasted Guatemalan and a medium-dark roasted Papua New Guinea. Use the promo code “FRESHCUP1” on your web orders and receive 15% off your entire purchase! napavalleycoffee.com | 707-963-4491
wildgoosecoffee.com | 909-478-0497 FRESH CUP MAGAZINE | 19
TRENDING CARDINAL SPIRITS co-founder Jeff Wuslich (left) and head distiller Justin Hughey sample the fruits of their labor.
#coffeeliqueurs Roasters and distillers join forces to generate buzz between beans and booze.
en Houtkamp knew nothing about distilling craft spirits, but that didn’t stop the operations manager for Metric Coffee from experimenting with different coffee beans and roast profiles to make a coffee liqueur.
20 | APRIL 2018 » freshcup.com
Bloomington, Indiana-based Cardinal Spirits approached Houtkamp in 2017 about sourcing coffee beans and working together to achieve the right flavor profile for a regional version of Songbird Craft Coffee Liqueur. Houtkamp was thrilled about the partnership.
“We learned a lot about distilling, and it gave us additional perspective on roasting coffee,” he explains. Metric Coffee is no stranger to collaborations. The Chicago roastery has worked with multiple restaurants, craft breweries, and even a Christian metalcore band to create
P HOTO COURTESY OF C AR DINAL SP IR ITS
By Jodi Helmer
custom coffees. Working on a craft coffee liqueur with Cardinal Spirits was another chance for the roastery to get creative with coffee beans. “We love opportunities to roast great coffee, introduce new farmers, and promote our craft,” Houtkamp says. SPIRIT OF COLLABORATION Coffee liqueurs bring together regional roasts and craft spirits—two of the nation’s hottest beverage trends, according to the National Restaurant Association’s 2018 Culinary Forecast—and the widespread interest in local brews and booze has led to some imaginative partnerships between roasters and distillers. “Distillers and coffee roasters have similar visions and values,” notes Jeff Wuslich, co-founder of Cardinal Spirits. “We both take processes that have been done on a grand scale and bring them back to their roots, and we both take a lot of pride in our craft.” Wuslich acknowledges that he could have purchased a five-gallon bucket of coffee-flavored syrup and added it to Songbird Craft Coffee Liqueur. Instead, he chose to work with a roaster to select the best beans and roast profiles for each regional version of the craft spirit. “We want the coffee to be a signature part of the liqueur, and we couldn’t get that with generic coffee flavoring,” he says.
FRESH CUP MAGAZINE | 21
#TRENDING: COFFEE LIQUEURS
PICK OF THE LIQUEURS CAFFÈ CORRETTO “It’s just coffee and booze,” says Andrea Loreto, founder of Elixir distillery. “Drink it after dinner straight, or anytime with ice and a splash of cream.” Caffè Corretto takes its name from the Italian practice of “correcting” espresso by adding a splash of grappa, sambuca, brandy, or other amaro or alcohol. This coffee liqueur is a collaborative effort between two Pacific Northwest-via-Italy brands—Elixir in Eugene, Oregon, and Caffè Umbria in Seattle, Washington. Distillery owner Andrea Loreto specializes in making “historical herbal liqueurs” that hark back to his homeland of Florence, Italy, while Caffè Umbria’s roasting heritage traces to Perugia, Italian capital of the Umbria region. At first, Loreto was against the idea. “I didn’t want to do a coffee liqueur. It’s too predictable,” he says. Loreto has been distilling in Oregon for the past decade. His products include an infusion of Iris root, his family’s fernet recipe, and Calisaya, made from cinchona calisaya, a Peruvian shrub brought to Rome by missionaries in 1632. But after meeting fellow countryman, Caffè Umbria co-owner Pasquale Madeddu, Loreto was persuaded to make a coffeebased concoction. “I ended up using just coffee [medium roast Bizzarri Blend], syrup of pure cane sugar, and cane alcohol. It’s the best liqueur I’ve ever made!” No GMOs and gluten-free, to boot. caffecorretto.net
NOLA COFFEE LIQUEUR
COLD PRESS COFFEE LIQUEUR
St. George Spirits sourced Ethiopian coffee beans,
It took nine months of trial and error for Australian
chicory root, and Madagascar vanilla to create its
distillery Mr. Black to launch its coffee liqueur, but the
NOLA Coffee Liqueur. The New Orleans distillery
wait was worth it. The award-winning spirit is made
worked with friend and professional roaster Brad
with cold-pressed arabica beans from Brazil, Ethiopia,
Joyce to bring out the fruity flavors in the Yirgacheffe
and Papua New Guinea. Predominant flavors are
coffee beans. www.stgeorgespirits.com
citrus, toffee, and chocolate. www.mrblack.co
ARROSTA COFFEE LIQUEUR
RED WING ROAST COFFEE LIQUEUR
Cold-brewed coffee is the main ingredient in this
Portland, Oregon’s Marigold Coffee roasts coffee from
award-winning small-batch spirit. The Unseen
El Salvador and Yemen. Fellow Portlandians Stone Barn
Bean roasted organic, Fair Trade coffee beans
Brandyworks add the freshly roasted beans to a house-
from Peru, and Boulder, Colorado-based Vapor
distilled Pinot noir brandy. The collaboration results in
Distillery blended cold-brewed coffee with Mada-
a liqueur with notes of chocolate, citrus, and tobacco.
gascar bourbon vanilla beans and pure cane sugar.
www.vapordistillery.com FIRELIT COFFEE LIQUEUR FRENCHPRESS-STYLE AMERICAN COFFEE LIQUEUR Coffee liqueur might be on trend now, but Leopold Bros. has been making spirits from roasted coffee beans since 2002. The distillery sources freshly roasted coffee beans and processes them through a waterpress. The liqueur is bottled while it’s warm to lock in the coffee flavor and aroma. www.leopoldbros.com
Freshly roasted coffee from various microroasters (Blue Bottle, Verve, and Weaver’s) is cold brewed for 18 hours before it’s blended with a brandy–coffee infusion. Introduced in 2009, the inaugural coffee liqueur was so popular that a second iteration, F-80 High Strength Coffee Liqueur, was created. The successor is an 80-proof spirit dubbed “the only shot fit for breakfast.” www.firelitspirits.com
NEW ORLEANS COFFEE LIQUEUR
CAFFE DEL FUEGO
Bittermens combines the classic flavors of chicory and
Austin, Texas-based Remington Family Distillers brews fresh,
coffee to create a sweet liqueur made from locally roasted
hot coffee for every batch of its Caffe del Fuego—“fire coffee”
Brazilian coffee beans, organic roasted French chicory
in Spanish—featuring a blend of coffee, cane sugar, bourbon
root, vanilla, cacao nibs, and a hint of candy syrup.
vanilla, and charcoal-filtered grain spirits. Don’t be surprised to a
find a little sediment in the glass; the distillers opted to skip fine filtering to preserve the flavors. www.rfdistillers.com
22 | APRIL 2018 » freshcup.com
A successful roaster–distiller relationship requires a significant investment of time. Houtkamp experimented with multiple coffee beans and roast profiles, while Wuslich tested several batches of coffee liqueur, before the two mutually agreed on dark-roasted Peruvian coffee beans with notes of chocolate and nougat.
WE THINK IT’S IMPORTANT TO WORK WITH LOCAL ROASTERS WHEN WE ENTER COCKTAIL RECIPE
A NEW MARKET. IT ALLOWS US TO GET A
MORNING IN MEXICO
WONDERFUL FLAVOR PROFILE THAT IS
Makes one cocktail.
1 ounce Wahaka Mezcal Joven Espadín
UNIQUE TO THE REGION.
1 ounce Caffe del Fuego Reserve 1 ounce Campari Dash of Xocolatl Mole bitters Pinch of salt Combine all ingredients together in a mixing glass with ice cubes. Stir well. Strain into a cocktail glass over a large rock of ice. Garnish with orange peel.
“We needed a roast that fit well with spirits, and a roaster willing to work with us to develop it,” Wuslich explains. “We passed on working with several roasters because their signature roasts didn’t translate well.” Before collaborating with Metric Coffee, Cardinal Spirits worked with Hopscotch Coffee in Bloomington and
FRESH CUP MAGAZINE | 23
#TRENDING: COFFEE LIQUEURS Good Folks Coffee in Louisville to create regional versions of its coffee liqueur. Although Wuslich has streamlined the process since those initial collaborations, he still considers “methodical and intense” research and development an essential element of creating craft coffee liqueur. “We think it’s important to work with local roasters when we enter a new market,” he says. “It allows us to get a wonderful flavor profile that is unique to the region.” TURNING BEANS INTO BOOZE In Boulder, Colorado, master roaster Gerry Leary went through a similar process during the initial stages of a partnership between The Unseen Bean and Vapor Distillery. The roaster experimented with beans from multiple coffee-growing regions, including Ethiopia, Malawi, and Zambia, before settling on organic beans from Peru as the base for Arrosta Coffee Liqueur.
“There are no set rules. It’s all experimentation to figure out what works,” Leary says. “It’s an expression of the art of coffee roasting.” In Portland, Oregon, New Deal Distillery partnered with Water Avenue Coffee to source up to 300 pounds of beans at a time for its New Deal Coffee Liqueur. “Ten years ago, we worked with a lot of roasters who could provide small batches of beans to do fun
24 | APRIL 2018 » freshcup.com
experiments but couldn’t do enough volume to sustain a big production run,” explains owner and head distiller Tom Burkleaux. “When we were ready to stop playing in the lab and commit to a product in the market, we needed to work with a roaster that could support our production needs.”
Sourcing coffee beans from local roasters comes at a cost, according to Burkleaux. “It takes a lot of coffee to produce coffee liqueurs, so the margins are much narrower. But we wanted to let flavor—not cost—drive the process. The product is more a matter of pride than a matter of profit.” Selling coffee beans to distillers can be profitable for roasters, but the bulk purchases are just one of the benefits to roaster–distiller relationships. Roasters also benefit from co-branding opportunities. When Cardinal Spirits released its coffee liqueur collaboration with Metric Coffee, the distiller sponsored a launch party at the café. The event brought a lot of attention to the roaster, Houtkamp notes. “There were a lot of people who came out to sample the coffee liqueur who we wouldn’t have connected to otherwise,” Houtkamp says. “All of our successful collaborations have helped us enter new markets and widen our audience so we can tell more people the story of our coffee.” FC
FRESH CUP MAGAZINE | 25
fresh businesses & products
POLLINATION NATION Just like people across the world are different, so are honey bees. Hives near yellow clover in Colorado yield a sweet, syrupy honey that bears little resemblance to the malty, crystalline honey made by bees buzzing around buckwheat fields in Washington state, whereas New York pollinators feast on the flowers of basswood trees to produce a mildly herbal honey that lets teas shine. The climate, water, and food in a bee’s environment affect how honey feels, tastes, and smells, which is why the folks at Bee Raw have created a line of single-origin honeys that showcase how bees across America create flavors unique to their environment. Bee Raw works to preserve honey bee populations through wild and organic sourcing, beekeeping education, and support of the artisanal beekeeping community. beeraw.com
GOT COLD MILK?
SERVING UP SHAMROCKS
Keep dairy and milk alternatives cold for hours
Matcha is everywhere these days,
in the Zojirushi Stainless Vacuum Creamer/
but finding a well-made cup is like
Dairy Server. The one-liter vacuum-insulated
looking for a shamrock in a field of
carafe is made of durable 18/8 stainless
clover—everything’s green, but rarely
steel with superior vacuum insulation. It is
magical. Proper mixing technique
easy to clean, thanks to its electro-polished
takes time and skill that many baristas
SlickSteel® interior and minimally-threaded
don’t have, and tea quality varies,
one-piece lid. An “always open” insulated lid,
too. Lucky for us there’s Matchaful.
easy-pour handle and spout are all designed
Not only are their powdered green
for maximum control while minimizing drib-
teas creamy, delicious, and sourced
bling. NSF certified. www.zojirushi.com/
directly from Japan, but they are also
the only US distributor of the Shaka Shaka Electric Whisk. The motorized version of a traditional bamboo stirrer (aka shaka) whips up a cup of matcha in seconds. matchaful.com
STRAWS THAT DON’T SUCK Plastic has become the bane of the world’s existence, with an estimated eight metric tons of the nonbiodegradable material entering oceans and landfills each year. Plastic straws, in particular, have been targeted as an avoidable form of plastic. In their place, Aardvark offers a brand-able, durable, and bendable paper straw that doesn’t get soggy when sipping through them. Even better, they can be composted, taking a month or two to decompose, and they are marine degradable. aardvarkstraws.com
BEER ME From frosty cold pints to warm plates, beer syrup adds an extra buzz to your beverage and food menu. Since 2004,
COFFEE OFF THE GRID
The Beer Syrup Company has been
For those who appreciate coffee and love plunging headfirst
turning craft beer and cider into sweet
into the wilderness, the Espro Ultralight combines French
syrups that can be used in a variety of
press and hydration functions in a 9.5-ounce canteen that
ways around the café, from sweetening
keeps beverages warm or cold for hours. Whether parachuting
cold brew to mixing up unique cocktails,
into the middle of the Amazon or spearfishing for salmon in
or even pouring over ice cream, waffles,
Alaska, the Espro goes where you go. espro.ca
and pancakes. Flavors include Pecan Nut Brown, Chocolate Porter, Semi-Dry Cider, and Bourbon Barrel Aged Stout. thebeersyrupcompany.com
JUST FONDUE IT To the ranks of vinyl
KEEP YOUR LID ON Ill-fitting lids can turn even the best-tasting cup of coffee or tea into a day-ruiner in a matter of moments. Coollids make sure liquids stay in the cup, thanks to a patented double-walled design. An extra chamber in the lid allows beverages to cool faster before drinking, so customers no longer need fear unwanted drips or accidental spills while conquering their day. coollid.com
26 | APRIL 2018 » freshcup.com
records, Polaroid cameras, and macramé plant holders we add fondue, which has made its way back into vogue. PG Fondues has developed a next-generation chocolate fondue—no Sterno needed. Simply warm the porcelain container in a microwave, stir, and serve with fruit or pastries for dipping. They’re perfect for cafés with limited counter or kitchen space. Available in nine decadent flavors, including Dark Belgian Chocolate, Dark Chocolate Espresso, and Dark Cinnamon Cayenne. pgfondues.com
Darren Marshall + Smith Teamaker Portland, Oregon-based Smith Teamaker announced the hiring of Darren Marshall as its new CEO. Company co-founder and board member Kim DeMent-Smith praised Marshall: “He is the right person to lead Smith Teamaker through the next stage of growth.” Marshall’s 25-year career has focused on growing consumer-oriented businesses across the globe, through roles at The Coca-Cola Company, PepsiCo, Procter & Gamble Company, and piano manufacturer Steinway & Sons.
Ellen Starr + Grounds for Health
The Coffee Quality Institute announced the honorees of its 2018 Leadership Medal of Merit. Sustainable Harvest founder David Griswold and the Colombian Coffee Growers Federation were honored for their commitment to improving farmers’ livelihoods, fostering sustainability, and increasing coffee quality. Griswold has long been a champion of transparent trade relationships in the coffee supply chain. Through his work with Sustainable Harvest, the coffee import company he founded in 1997, and as host of the annual “Let’s Talk Coffee” symposium, Griswold has helped more than 200,000 small coffee farmers around the world increase income and gain access to premium markets. For more than 90 years, the Colombian Coffee Growers Federation has worked to improve the quality of life for Colombian families involved in the coffee industry. In 1938, the FNC founded CENICAFÉ, Colombia’s national coffee research center, which seeks to find innovative methods to increase sustainability, raise yields, and improve quality. The awards will be presented April 21 at the CQI luncheon in Seattle, Washington.
28 | APRIL 2018 » freshcup.com
Gordon Tredger + Loring Loring, the California-based manufacturer of low-emission, high-tech roasters, appointed Gordon Tredger as its new president. His 30-year career includes work for Advanced Energy Industries, Argonaut Technologies, Varian Inc., and Motorola Canada.
Guido Bernardinelli + La Marzocco International Espresso machine manufacturer La Marzocco International appointed Guido Bernardinelli as its new CEO. Kent Bakke, the company’s CEO for the past 13 years, moved into a new role on the board. Bernardinelli has been with the company since 2002, starting in sales then in 2009 becoming managing director of La Marzocco S.r.l.
DAV ID G RIS WOLD P HOTO BY BRYA N CLIF TON, IL LUST R ATIONS BY JOR DA N JOH NS ON
CQI Honors Sustainable Coffee Pioneers
After eight years of volunteering, serving as clinical director, and establishing quality assurance protocols for use in the field, Ellen Starr has well earned her role as executive director of the non-profit Grounds for Health. The organization works to provide cervical cancer prevention and treatment programs in coffee-growing communities. Starr is a licensed nurse practitioner with a 30-year career in women’s health, including serving as vice-president of health center operations at Planned Parenthood of Northern New England.
Industry News, Café Openings + People on the Move
ALLY COFFEE Swiss roaster Ally Coffee opened a new Global Specialty Headquarters office and education lab in a former steel factory in Greenville, South Carolina. The remodeled 7,000-square-foot space includes a service-ready coffee bar with stadium seating for classes open to the public and professional community, a roasting room equipped with Diedrich IR-2.5 and Brazilian Atilla 5kg roasters for roasting classes and production, and a cupping lab designed to CQI Q-Grader specifications. Ally is also developing a company retreat program that will combine specialized sensory learning and business issues in the coffee industry. 1801 Rutherford Rd., Greenville, South Carolina | allycoffee.com
A LLY P HOTO BY TONY ABBOT T, FOX TAIL PH OTOS BY GR IZ Z LEE MAR TI N
CAFÉ POÊTES Native Parisian Karine Favre-Massartic opened Café Poêtes in Houston, Texas. The menu features sweet and savory éclairs in artistically creative flavor combinations, such as Rose and Litchi, Salted Caramel, and Brisket Pho. Beverages include espresso, batch brew, a signature lavender almond latte, and a ganache hot chocolate. Beans are supplied by Houston roaster, Geva Coffee. The café is located in a new building that FavreMassartic designed in the 19th century French architecture style. 22 West Gray St., Houston, Texas | www.cafepoetes.com
FOXTAIL’S FARMHOUSE Foxtail Coffee Company opened its third retail location, Foxtail’s Farmhouse, a new concept for the growing Florida chain. The café will serve a rotating seasonal menu of craft coffees, cocktails, small bites, and feature experimental items such as the Café Palmer—a drink that combines espresso, lemonade, and sparkling water. Three more Foxtail café locations are planned to open soon in Southern Florida. 1282 N Orange Ave., Orlando, Florida | www.foxtailcoffee.com
JORY COFFEE CO. Aiming to show that quality doesn’t have to be compromised in the name of service, Jory Coffee Co. only serves pour overs, Japanese iced coffee, and seasonal bubbly coffees. The café features a variety of Pacific Northwest roasters, including Heart, Upper Left, Nossa Familia, Sisters, Case Study, and others, and a small menu of toasts and pastries. 3845 N Mississippi Ave., Portland, Oregon | www.jorycoffee.com
TACTILE COFFEE Brothers Eric and Mike Yi started Tactile Coffee in early 2016, serving espresso and cold brew out of a refurbished tool truck throughout the Los Angeles area. The mobile coffee concept has transformed into a bricks-and-mortar operation with the opening of its first permanent digs in downtown Los Angeles and sale of the original truck. The menu will still include Tactile’s popular blackstrap latte with housemade syrup and hand-blended chai tea mixes. 3109 Beverly Blvd., Los Angeles, California | tactilecoffee.com
TEASCAPES Kathleen Edinger worked as a tea consultant on the East Coast for several years before opening her new tearoom, TeaScapes, in Atlantic Highlands, New Jersey. Edinger created a menu of more than 50 teas and 15 signature blends, and light bites including gluten-free options. 68 First Ave., Suite K, Atlantic Highlands, New Jersey | www.enjoyteascapes.com
THE CAFÉ MEOW Minneapolis’s first cat café opened in the city’s Lowry Hill neighborhood. The café and cat lounge welcomes patrons to sip on lattes while hanging out with adoptable rescue cats for a $10 fee. Owners Jessica Burge and Danielle Rasmussen supplied their café with locally crafted products from Bootstrap Coffee Roasters, Northern Lights Tea Company, and pastries by My Sister’s Sweets and Fox Cakes. 2323 Hennepin Ave., Minneapolis, Minnesota | thecafemeow.com
VINTAGE CAFÉ Coffee shop, eatery, and retail store, Vintage Café opened in the remodeled Regions Bank building, with pieces of the old bank still remaining, such as safe deposit boxes, an original vault, and a depository slot. Stumptown Coffee Roasters cashed in as the shop’s official roaster, while teas have been deposited by Smith Teamaker. The food menu is invested in fresh salads and baked goods, grilled paninis, and various grab-and-go items. 416 Cloverdale Rd., Montgomery, Alabama | vintagecafemgm.com
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Espresso machine manufacturer La Marzocco announced the donation of $750,000 to the UC Davis Coffee Center, bringing their total donation to date to over $1 million. The funds will go toward the renovation of an existing 6,000-square-foot facility, which will feature “La Marzocco Brewing and Espresso Laboratory,” a pilot roastery, green bean storage, sensory and cupping laboratory, THE COFFEE LAB at the University of California Davis will get a advanced chemical analytical laboratory, major upgrade thanks to a sizable donation by La Marzocco. classrooms, and an outdoor event space. One of the first university-level coffee research facilities in the world, founded in 2013, the Coffee Center provides education into a permanent Global Tea Institute, on par with the UC into different academic fields that coincide with coffee, Davis’ renowned viticulture and enology program. such as sensory science, sustainability, microbiology, and The new tea institute would function as an umbrella proregulatory law. gram, bringing together educators from disciplines such It appears tea will also receive its own research facility at as health sciences, agriculture, environmental studies, UC Davis. During the opening remarks of the 2018 UC Davis humanities, and social studies for graduate and underGlobal Tea Initiative Symposium, Katharine Burnette, a UC graduate programs. Burnette said the initiative is three Davis professor and founding director of the initiative, anyears into a decade-long timeline, but she anticipates the nounced that the university intends to develop the initiative institute will launch much sooner.
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PH OTO CO URT ESY O F UC DAVIS
UC Davis Doubles Down on Coffee and Tea Research
PH OTO CO URT ESY O F TO MPK IN S CO UN T Y WO R K E R S’ C E N T E R
Baristas Brew Up Union Contract Labor union membership has declined steadily since the Bureau of Labor Statistics first began collecting data on it in 1983. According to statistics, workers in the food and beverage industry are one of the least unionized workforces in America—only 1.8 percent of the industry’s 8.9 million workers were represented by a labor contract in 2017—and trail only the finance industry’s 1.6 percent.1 Bucking the trend, baristas of upstate New York’s Gimme! Coffee made history on February 7, 2018, by unanimously voting to ratify what is thought to be the first-ever barista union labor contract in the United States. The vote came seven months after the baristas officially formed Workers’ United Local 2833 with help from Tompkins County Workers’ Center and Workers United Rochester office. Union organizers and Gimme! Coffee’s management spent months negotiating contract details and finding common ground. “From very early on, we decided to not share unsolicited management perspective which might undermine their process,” says Kevin Kuddeback, Gimme! Coffee’s founder and CEO. “My sense is there was a desire to demonstrate that unionization is possible in this day and age, and a hope that it could result in a stronger, better company in all respects.”
The resulting contract, which took immediate effect upon ratification, included a union “just cause” clause that protects workers from unfair discipline or discharge, a union grievance and arbitration procedure to resolve any workplace problems, wage increases, establishment of a paid sick-day program, and monthly joint labor and management meetings. “We’re hoping these changes in the employment relationship will help us retain and attract great people. If the premise is proven, our turnover and training costs will be reduced, and morale will be ever-improving,” Kuddeback says. “Whether in response to a unionization effort or not, I would encourage café owners to regularly solicit input from everyone—especially baristas—for how to continually improve, and to make space to act upon that information.” FC
“Table 3. Union affiliation of employed wage and salary workers by occupation and industry,” U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, January 19, 2018, accessed March 07, 2018, https://www.bls.gov/news.release/union2.t03.htm. 1
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CAFFEINATION DESTINATION COACHELLA MUSIC FESTIVAL
Palm Springs Coffee Crawl Where to find fun, sun, and the best sips on iconic Palm Canyon Drive in the California desert oasis
By Quintan Valles
alm Springs is a place to kick back and relax, go ahead and do it. The stylish city combines desert culture and classic SoCal vibes, mid-century modern architecture, and outdoor activities galore—from rock climbing to raving pool parties, spectacular stargazing, and the Coachella Music Festival, which takes place this year from April 13–22 at the Polo Grounds in nearby Indio. According to 2016 statistics, Coachella attendees spent over $403 million during the festival’s two weekends, with area restaurateurs and hotels reaping the most benefit. Palm Springs has a sporting specialty café scene, although there aren’t nearly as many places as compared to Los Angeles and Orange County. Hybrid shops like coffeehouse-by-day/bar-by-night Ernest Coffee/Bootlegger Tiki, located in the city’s ultra-chic Uptown Design District, and others show why Palm Springs is becoming an oasis for coffee and tea lovers. ERNEST COFFEE/BOOTLEGGER TIKI
Ernest Coffee opened in 2013, with groundbreaking team Gregory Mandallaz and Chris Pardo transforming the site of what was formerly Don the Beachcomber’s restaurant. Mandallaz brought years of restaurant experience, dating back from his home in Southern France to owning his own café in Burbank, California. He thought Palm Springs could use some LA flare and French sophistication. The tiki décor left by Don the Beachcomber’s provides the foundation for Ernest’s interior design aesthetic. 32 | APRIL 2018 » freshcup.com
COACH ELL A P HOTO BY ANDR EW R UIZ
1101 N Palm Canyon Drive (760) 318-4154 www.ernestcoffee.com Hours: 6 a.m.–7 p.m. daily
Towering tiki torches stand outside, serving as a beacon for the café’s location. Inside, the bar is equipped with a two-group La Marzocco Linea 2EE and Mazzer Luigi grinder. The café is suffused with natural light, creating a radiant glow on polished wood tabletops, bright red chairs, and eye-catching splashes of nautical décor. Guests on the patio outside can take in the breathtaking natural beauty of the desert and browse the windows of local shops that line the street. At night, Ernest transforms into a speakeasy bar—Bootlegger Tiki—with serious mood lighting and cocktail menu to match, including Mai Tais and decadent drinks
like “Bananas in Pajamas,” mixing classic flavors of peanut butter and banana with deep toffee and caramel notes of Stumptown’s Hair Bender cold brew, complimenting the spicy vanilla notes of bourbon. The drink is then topped with creamy half-and-half and garnished with a flower. BANANAS IN PAJAMAS 1 oz bourbon ½ oz banana liqueur ¼ oz allspice liqueur 2 oz Stumptown Hair Bender cold brew Splash of half & half
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PALM SPRINGS COFFEE CRAWL
CUSTOMS COFFEE 1551 N Palm Canyon Drive (760) 507-1650 customscoffee.com Hours: 7 a.m.–5 p.m. daily
KOFFI 515 N Palm Canyon Drive (760) 416-2244 www.kofficoffee.com Hours: 5:30 a.m.–7 p.m. daily
One of the first independent coffee shops in town, Koffi is the complete package: great coffee, rock-solid menu, and speedy service. Since opening 15 years ago, Koffi has built a loyal clientele of vacationing snowbirds and native sun-worshippers alike. Co-owner Troy Neifert recommends their blended drinks: “They are very rich, everything is made from scratch, nothing is packaged.”
Located in the swanky Arrive Hotel, Customs Coffee has it all—great coffee, friendly service, and an amazing pool. “You can’t go wrong with a maple old-fashioned donut alongside a cortado,” says Jesse Sells, Arrive’s director of restaurants, as I ponder what to order, still chuckling at the “Quote of the Day” on the chalkboard menu. Today it reads, “I’m upset that a group of squid isn’t called a squad.” “They’re just fun sayings, sometimes they have to do with coffee,” says barista Austin Meglonakis, noting that he comes up with most of the quotes. “It helps create engagement and is an easy talking point that we can joke about with customers.” One thing Customs takes serious is its coffee. “Our baristas are serious about coffee. We don’t make anything too outside the box,” Meglonakis says. The café switched over to Intelligentsia Coffee Roasters at the start of the year and “customers are really liking it,” he adds.
ROCCO’S ELECTRIC 1800 E Palm Canyon Drive (760) 459-2575 thesaguaro.com/palm-springs/ Hours: 7 a.m.–3 p.m. daily
Located in the fabulously hip Saguaro Hotel, this café features Verve Coffee Roasters and a wildly popular brunch menu. Hotel manager Sang Apranndh says, “People come here to have a good time. It’s very laid back and comfortable. That’s what we want. We want people to just enjoy themselves—its uncomplicated fun.”
500 S Palm Canyon Drive (760) 656-7352 the500ps.com/ristretto.html Hours: 6 a.m.–6 p.m. daily
Tourists and local business professionals fuel their day of work and play in the desert at Ristretto, located in the marvelously modernist Five Hundred Building. True to its name, this café knows how to pull an exquisite shot of espresso, in addition to serving a drinks menu of ice-blended coffees, affogatos, Italian sodas, teas, and smoothies. The environment is casual yet sophisticated, with a sleek interior featuring dark wood accents and an aqua-tinted glass wall that sections off the café. FC FRESH CUP MAGAZINE | 35
Bar Termini 7 Old Compton St., London, United Kingdom bar-termini.com Hours: Monday–Thursday, 10 a.m.–11:30 p.m.; Friday–Saturday, 10 a.m.–1 a.m.; Sunday, 11 a.m.–10:30 p.m.
CO-OW NER P HOT0 BY L EE S TR ICKL AND, EX TER IOR P HOTO BY ELIZ ABETH H OTSON
By Elizabeth Hotson
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ondon is on a caffeine and booze high. The city’s coffee festival (which runs April 12–15) is one of the biggest and most influential in the world, and London’s bars are rated among the very best on the planet. Bar Termini in Soho, one of London’s main entertainment districts, combines both sides of the beverage coin in a simple package deemed worthy of ninth place on the World’s 50 Best Bars 2017 list. CO-OWNERS Marco Arrigo (left) and Tony Conigliaro
The brains behind Bar Termini belong to Tony Conigliaro and Marco Arrigo, two second-generation Italians who grew up in London. Both have reached the pinnacle of their respective beverage professions. Conigliaro is a master mixologist who has set up a string of cutting-edge bars in London, and he’s also a James Beard Award-winning drinks writer. Meanwhile, Arrigo is Illy coffee company’s UK head of quality, and he runs Illy’s University of Coffee in Islington, where he has taught Italian coffee traditions to countless baristas.
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CAFÉ CROSSROADS: BAR TERMINI Friends for over a decade, the former flatmates finally decided to collaborate professionally for the first time in 2014 to create Bar Termini. Conigliaro looks after the liquor and Arrigo’s in charge of coffee, and it suits them just fine. On the outer edge of Soho’s main artery, Old Compton Street, the premises are a bijou version of something you might stumble into on a flying visit to Rome, with 25 seats, a bar, and a Faema E61 Legend coffee machine. The staff, dressed in simple white, single-breasted jackets, round off a studiously retro vibe. So how authentic is this slice of Italy? “It’s our twist,” says Conigliaro. “When it comes to the cocktails, we do Negronis but serve them in a small stemmed glass. In Italy, they’d come in a tumbler with ice. So, ours isn’t totally traditional but it works for us.”
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Like all joint ventures, the owners have their differences. “We disagree on some things,” confides Arrigo, taking a break from drawing a Venn diagram of how to construct the perfect macchiato. “When we opened, Tony insisted on having a one-pound (£1) espresso to be drunk at the bar. I wasn’t sure but Tony persuaded me and so it stayed. It’s been really successful and means we get a great mix of people. Latenight doormen come in, stay for 20 seconds, drink their espresso, and then they’re back out again.” The rest of the drink menu is short but idiosyncratic. “You have to try the Bianco,” insists Arrigo. “What you’ll notice is how we do the milk.” The espresso-based drink, a unique take on a flat white, arrives with a peak of milk like I’ve never witnessed before. It’s a blend of full-fat and
P HOT0S BY M AT TIA P EL IZZ A RI
ultra-high-temperature processing, and the effect is stunning—my spoon stands upright with not even a hint of give. A bicerin is up next, a beguiling mochalike drink but with a beautifully grown-up twist. “Bicerin was first served in Caffè Fiorio in Turin in the 1700s and it’s still being served today. The secret for us is the chocolate,” says Conigliaro. “It’s
80 percent good liquid chocolate from Paris and 20 percent from some of the world’s top Criollo cacao. With a bit of added milk it’s got the perfect viscosity, and it’s that difference in viscosity between the chocolate and coffee that keeps them separate in your mouth.” Surprisingly—shockingly even—for an Italian café, there’s no cappuccino on the menu. “We don’t need to spell it out on the menu. It’s just assumed that if people want a cappuccino they can get one,” says Arrigo. FC
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Green Coffee: Part One
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disconnected from the actual communities, people, and realities on the ground where coffee is grown. Specialty coffee, however, is increasingly taking into consideration the local costs of production when determining price. This is true particularly in the segment of specialty coffee concerned less with cup score and more with purchasing coffee as a financially and ecologically sustainable investment. In this scenario, price is influenced by politics, government regulations, labor markets, climate conditions, and cost of all inputs required to produce coffee—from truck fuel to fertilizers—at origin. Being connected to origin means the costs of doing business with individual farms and geographic regions will ultimately impact the price paid by specialty coffee and its consumers. This price still needs to account for the normal market factors of scarcity
and perceived value, which will continue to drive negotiations between all vendors and sellers. To see how pricing varies from origin to origin, let’s take a look at two very different countries—Ethiopia and Nicaragua. FACTORS AFFECTING PRICE: ETHIOPIA “The price of Ethiopian specialty coffee can be affected by several factors,” explains Adham Yonis, manager of Testi Coffee, a family-owned Ethiopian specialty coffee producer and exporter. “The main factors include weather, which includes droughts, insufficient rain, and not enough sunshine on time. When there are negative weather factors, the volume of coffee goes down, which makes the market go up locally.” Testi Coffee, established in 2009, owns a farm and several washing stations. The company participates in
P HOTOS COURTES Y OF TES TI COF F EE
nderstanding the price of green coffee requires accepting—for now— that the C market futures contract price is the benchmark. Most pricing is derived from it. Like all economic and financial tools, agricultural futures markets have complex histories. Today, these markets remain liquid due to the mix of physical stakeholders, coffee exporters, importers, and roasters who deal in actual green coffee. Speculators also participate in the market out of financial interest alone. If this sounds abstract, that’s because it is. Global markets reflect global averages of supply, demand, currency exchange rates, and general sentiments. Coffee pricing can be closely tied to quality differentials based on origin and physical specifications, such as screen size and defect count, yet completely
Coffee cherries travel from the farm to washing stations and drying beds at TESTI COFFEE a family-owned producer and exporter in Ethiopia.
the local market as a buyer of coffee and as a grower. Changes in weather affect production levels, and fluctuations in production levels affect how much the washing stations in the local market will pay smallholders for the cherries they deliver. “Another factor is unrealistic speculation at the washing station or farm level when purchasing red cherries to process,” Yonis explains. Speculation is the anticipation of an outcome; how much coffee the region is expected to produce. The third factor is disease. “When coffee trees are affected, it drastically reduces production volume,” Yonis says. If cherry prices were low because the harvest was expected to be large, but ultimately was tiny, then producers could receive a low price for a reduced total harvest. It is not uncommon for the combination of speculation and disease to lead to lower total revenue.
Informed sourcing can sometimes correct for losses as a result of weather, speculation, or disease. But in the end, pricing is still very tightly linked to quality. At the Ethiopia Commodity Exchange (ECX), quality is expressed in both physical and sensorial terms. “The ECX plays a big role in determining price, because the price that farmers are paid for their coffee is largely determined by grade, and that grade is determined by the ECX,” explains Micah Sherer, green buyer with Ally Coffee. “The exchange evaluates coffee based on color, physical defect, green aroma, screen size, moisture content, and cup score, then gives it a grade. When the coffee is sold on the exchange, it is paid for based on how it was graded. The ECX is supposed to ensure that farmers are paid a fair market price for their coffee based on its quality.”
All specialty lots must be graded by the Ethiopia Commodity Exchange and then sold for at least that grade’s price. In Nicaragua, however, there is no national system for assigning value based on quality outlined by standardized parameters. FACTORS AFFECTING PRICE: NICARAGUA Jorge Lagos Calix is a coffee farmer from Dipilto, Nicaragua. He outlines the differences between the costs of producing specialty and conventional coffee in a country where there is no guarantee what a given quality will be sold for. Unlike farmers in Ethiopia, Nicaraguan producers must carefully calculate their production costs to set sustainable prices when offering coffee to buyers. “Even though the specialty coffee sector affords more opportunities to get higher prices than C contract
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Green Coffee: Part One
NICARAGUA: Jorge Lagos Calix (left and center right) at Finca Santa Teresa in Dipilto, Nicaragua
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P HOTOS COUR TES Y OF JORG E L AG OS C AL IX
NICARAGUAN SPECIALTY COFFEE COST PROPORTION 25% 19.53%
10% 6.79% 5.44%
Dry mill process
Equipment, tools, infrastructure, vehicles, depreciation and no variable costs
NICARAGUAN CONVENTIONAL COFFEE OPERATIONS COST 25% 21.49% 19.25%
10% 4.76% 2.94%
dollar amounts across categories are increased threefold. QUALITY VERSUS COST IN THE CUP The coffee commodity market is driven by market pressures and, ultimately, what buyers are willing to pay for it. Whereas the specialty market is driven by the desire to procure the best quality possible, ideally for the lowest possible price. But a new method for assigning value to green coffee is evolving. This method accounts for not only the costs of production—for instance, specialty coffee from a farm
Dry mill process
0% Equipment, tools, infrastructure, vehicles, depreciation and no variable costs
pricing, we also face higher costs than conventional operations,” Lagos explains. “To get quality to fit our customer’s expectations, we have to manage less productive varieties. These varieties are also vulnerable to coffee leaf rust, which means we need to establish a program to control the disease. Conventional disease control is not as intensive as specialty.” Factors influencing price begin with the trees and continue through processing. “Specialty coffee has a high cost of processing at the dry mill because of the pursuit of the perfect cup,” Lagos notes. “To control, manage, and process coffees separately from conventional, we use specialized personnel and equipment, and we meet customer specifications.” Paying skilled labor for selective manual picking adds yet another layer of costs. To better understand this difference in his community, Lagos conducted a survey of neighboring producers. He evaluated two cost scenarios for coffee operations: specialty versus conventional. (See graphic.) Lagos gathered data from nine specialty operations in Dipilto and four conventional operations in Matagalpa and Jinotega. He calculated costs from the first day after finishing harvest to the last day of next year’s harvest (April 2017–February 2018). He found that to produce twice as much commercial coffee as specialty coffee results in only a 14 percent increase in costs. A bag of specialty coffee costs 74 percent more to produce than a bag of conventional coffee. Specialty coffee’s pursuit of exceptional quality comes at almost double the cost. But the reality is that even if exceptional quality is not achieved, as reflected by high cupping scores and sensorial profiles, those initial costs still remain. In both conventional and specialty coffee production, the percentages of cost categories are similar, but the
in Dipilto, Nicaragua—but also for the administrative and labor costs of keeping coffee separate during its international journey. In this scenario, producers put in supreme effort to improve traceability, though higher prices are far from guaranteed. Not every lot that was expensive to produce will cup at 90 points. Should producers who put in the extra effort be underpaid, often for reasons beyond their control, such as when roasters score their product too low to justify a higher price tag? The answer to that question will test specialty coffee’s commitment to quality and to the people who help achieve it. FC
PART TWO of this series on green coffee procurement will outline ways in which roasters can ask themselves questions about how they determine worth and value—through cup profile alone or through a comprehensive review of production techniques—prior to sampling green coffee. When a coffee’s price is easier to dissect and its decisive parameters are clear from FC the outset, each coffee can find a buyer who will pay its full price and pass its comprehensive value on to final consumers.
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Gone are the days when decaf meant dead flavors in the cup. These decaf advocates are proving that coffee sans caffeine can be delicious indeed.
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New Life for Decaf
eath before decaf.” Whether screen-printed on a t-shirt or tattooed on a barista’s body, it’s a mantra all too familiar in the specialty coffee community. But why is it that decaffeinated coffee is so frequently maligned by self-professed coffee connoisseurs? After all, decaf drinkers might be considered the true coffee lovers. “Your customers who are buying coffee for the taste of coffee, not the caffeine, wouldn’t they want some variety and some interesting taste?” says Ruth Ann Church, president of Artisan Coffee Imports in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and former lecturer on decaffeination for the SCAA’s educational Pathways classes. For Church, the problem with decaf lies not with the decaffeination process, but the coffee that is normally used to make decaf. “The supply chain does match the interest of specialty coffee,” she says. “The mentality of the older coffee industry is if you have past crop or damaged beans, just send them to be decaf.” A growing number of importers and roasters are out to prove that decaffeinated coffee can be better than passable. In fact, it can be delicious. “Specialty roasters are not okay with plain old decaf,” Church says.
RUTH ANN CHURCH (above) of Artisan Coffee Imports says the problem with decaf is the coffee, not the process.
One of those companies disrupting the decaf industry is Swiss Water Decaf, a Canadian company that purchases green coffee from origin and decaffeinates it with a patented non-chemical process. “If you’re buying good coffee, you can make really good-tasting decaf,” says Mike Strumpf, Swiss Water’s director of coffee. “We look to it as a similar way as a roaster would buy green coffee,” Strumpf says. Whether the coffee is from Brazil, Colombia, or Ethiopia, Strumpf primarily looks for high-quality coffee with a certain flavor profile.
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“Our process will make decaf that tastes like that coffee beforehand,” he says. To prove the point, Swiss Water offers roasters a chance to receive samples of lots before and after decaffeination. “It’s a fun thing for people to taste. You can see that the process doesn’t have a big effect on the coffee,” he says. A commitment to high-quality decaf also inspired Cafe Imports’ Origin Select Premium-Quality Decaffeinated Green Coffee program. “Decaf drinkers
like good coffee too,” says Andrew Miller, founder of Cafe Imports. Rather than importing coffee that has already been decaffeinated, Cafe Imports selects coffee from their producer partners and decaffeinates it in country. “That means we can buy more coffee from our farmer partners in Colombia,” Miller says. “If we’re doing decaf too, we can do more of it and pay better money to producers.” In Miller’s experience, most coffees drop one to two cup points in the
P HOTOS COURTES Y OF R UTH A NN CHURCH
PROCESS MAKES PERFECT
New Life for Decaf
decaffeination process. “Junk in gets you junk out. It’s certainly not going to improve,” Miller says. So far, Cafe Imports is happy with the results. “People keep asking us for the certification of decaffeination because they don’t believe they’re decaffeinated. They’re just so good,” Miller says. GREAT DECAF STARTS AT ORIGIN
Swiss Water is able to decaffeinate microlots as small as 50 bags, allowing for unprecedented levels of traceability for decaf. Traceability and cup quality are two factors that led Mark Barany, founder of Seattle, Washington-based wholesale roaster Kuma Coffee, to partner with Swiss Water Decaf. “Any information on the coffee, when it was processed, we can get that information on demand,” Barany says.
Strumpf is seeing a shift in focus from caffeine content to the producers. “The new trend that is coming up is focusing on the quality of the coffee, but also the traceability of the coffee.
OF THE FOUR MAJOR WAYS COFFEE IS DECAFFEINATED, ONLY WATER PROCESS DECAF CAN BE CERTIFIED ORGANIC.
For Barany, the push to provide better decaf was a personal decision. “As I was trying to grow the company, my wife and I were having our first kid, and then our second kid, so a decaf option was something we were really interested in having around the house,” he says. “It was really nice to have a similar level of quality around for her during those times.” The experience also made him realize that there are other consumers like his wife who actually need a decaf option. “All of a sudden you go, ‘If we needed this option for nearly two years, there’s got to be people wishing for the same thing.’ ” Barany also likes that Swiss Water Decaf uses a nonchemical process. Of the four major ways coffee is decaffeinated, only water process decaf can be certified organic. “We want our consumers to have trust in what they’re buying,” he says. Although Cafe Imports includes Mountain Water decaffeinated coffees out of Mexico in their Origin Select decaf program, their Colombian coffees are decaffeinated with ethyl acetate, a naturally occurring ester of acetic acid. Ethyl acetate is a byproduct of molasses production, which makes it readily available in Colombia.
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P HOTO COURTESY OF M AR K BA R ANY
It’s important to be able to find out where your coffee is coming from, so that you can tell the story,” Strumpf says. Although most decaf is made from large lots, often including hundreds of farms across large geographic areas,
“I was pretty impressed they were using the local sugarcane to make the solvent,” Miller says. For Miller, the process is less important than the quality of the green coffee. “They all use a similar process,” he says. “I can’t say one is better than another.” DEALING WITH DECAF IN THE CAFÉ
P HOTO BY A NG IE BORN
For roasters and cafés interested in improving their decaffeinated offerings, Barany cautions that decaf needs a different sourcing strategy than regular coffee. “Very few roasters understand how damaged the decaf becomes. You’re really working against time,” Barany says.
In a similar way, decaf often requires a different approach when brewing. “The decaffeinated bean is a really different animal. It’s a brutal process, essentially almost brewing the bean already,” Church says. “The coffee is very brittle, so you have more fines when you grind it. It can take a lot more time as a pour-over.” Despite these differences, decaf advocates encourage cafés and roasters to give decaffeinated coffee a chance and devote the same care and attention as their other coffees. “Treat your decaf like regular coffee,” Strumpf says. FC
The process of decaffeinating coffee destroys the cell structure of the coffee. “The process literally is sucking the solubles out, removing the caffeine, and putting the solubles back in,” Baranay explains. To compensate, Kuma only keeps a given decaf in stock for three months, rather than the six months to a year a well-processed regular coffee can stay fresh. “Our goal is to do everything in our power to preserve the coffee. We’re really working against time,” Barany says.
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igh in the mountains of Doi Pangkhon, a tank of coffee beans of the Chiang Mai-80 varietal has begun to ferment with the addition of winemaker’s yeast. But the journey is just starting for this experimental, four-kilogram nanolot of coffee, grown and processed in Thailand. Once processed, the coffee beans will be transported halfway around the world to a roaster in The Netherlands, then on to Manhattan, where it will appear on the stage of the New York Coffee Masters competition. The time has come for Thailand to take off in the global specialty coffee industry. “We’re looking for partners who aren’t afraid to take a risk on an origin that has zero reputation,” says Fuadi Pitsuwan of Beanspire Coffee, Thailand’s first and only specialty coffee exporter. Since launching his business in 2013, Fuadi has been on a mission to fill the void of knowledge about Thai coffee. He would like to see the specialty coffee industry recognize the region’s quality, and he does his best to help build that reputation—one exportable bag at a time. “People in coffee tend to be prejudiced against Asian coffee,” Fuadi says. “But once we get it past importer and roaster, it’s always a consumer favorite, and Thailand already has the name recognition from tourism.” While Thailand has earned renown as a vacation destination, the country has kept its coffee production largely to itself. The domestic demand for specialty coffee consumes most of the country’s coffee production, leaving just a fraction for export.
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IN BLOOM: Cherry blossoms act as shade trees for the coffee shrubs below.
“We grow more arabica than Panama and more total coffee than Kenya,” Fuadi says. “When people think of the micromill revolution, they think of Costa Rica, but it’s happening in Thailand.” Conditions for coffee production are ideal in Thailand, unlike other countries, which are near crisis with the rapidly advancing age of coffee farmers, a lack of rural infrastructure, and a dearth of education to equip rural residents with the skills necessary to meet the processing and logistic demands of specialty coffee. “The city of Chiang Mai is the Seattle of Asia, but with all local coffee! Thailand is the only place you can see a closed supply system with such high-end shops so close to farms,” Fuadi says. YOUTH MOVEMENT According to one of Fuadi’s first import partners, Lennart Clerkx, founder of This Side Up in The Netherlands, “Concepts like processing diversification, branding, direct exchange with roasters, and the importance of social media are second nature to Thailand’s new generation of coffee entrepreneurs.”
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That’s because the average age of Thai coffee farmers is 25. This young, savvy generation of Thai farmers sees opportunity to develop an export market for high-quality, differentiated products. “They’re the same age as the barista and the consumer. Coffee is a way for the elites in Bangkok to build connections to farmers who grow coffee in the north,” Fuadi says. He notes that families from the mountain regions are the only ones to own and farm land. As a result, Thailand has no absentee gentlemen farmers, and land owners are also land administrators and workers. “We’re more expensive than [neighboring coffee-producing countries],” Fuadi explains. “But with the price, you get farmers who have completed university, are former accountants, have worked in the city, and have chosen to come back to the farm, because the quality of life is better in the mountains, where they can make more income as a coffee farmer than as a government employee with a PhD.” Thai farmers and micromill owners are in a uniquely lucrative position, where agriculture and responsible
land management can coexist. In almost every other coffee-producing country, producers are at serious risk of losing money by growing coffee, often relying on debt cycles to maintain their farms. “To see an origin where passionate coffee lovers and baristas actually go to the countryside to buy and upgrade coffee farms is inspiring,” Clerkx says. Thanks to these favorable cultural and economic conditions, agriculture is financially viable in Thailand. The country’s young farmers—themselves also coffee consumers and students of global markets—understand the balanced, complex cup profiles the specialty coffee sector wants. “This is exactly the type of agro-entrepreneurship that we need to keep coffee alive. It is comforting for some of my other origin partners to know that such a utopian coffee future, however small and distant, is already in the making in Thailand,” Clerkx says. “Each farm is basically its own side of the mountain, and we have the ability to pair each farmer with a roaster,” Fuadi says. “It’s so new—everything is up for grabs.” While exporting microlots is a new strategy being promoted by Fuadi,
Thai coffee production is already quite developed and includes varietals not grown elsewhere. Coffee cultivation in Thailand started as a crop migration project to replace opiates and came with the guaranteed domestic buyers needed to sustain it. Named after the 80th anniversary of the former king, the Chiang Mai-80 varietal, an SL-28 back-crossed with Catimor, was released in 2007. (Fuadi notes that it is more commonly known simply as “Chiang Mai,” so that the “80” is not misinterpreted to indicate a low point score. Chang Mai coffees regularly score in the mid to high 80s.) “With so many Catimor strands, we have to do everything perfectly to get to 85. We work with what we have. We can’t rely on soil or varietal to get us the best final cup,” Fuadi says. The Chiang Mai varietal is rust resistant and, when processed as a honey or natural coffee, delivers desirable attributes in the cup.
YOUNG FARMER Ata (left) with Miguel Meza, Darrin Daniel (ACE’s executive director) and Fuadi Pitsuwan.
Beanspire’s dry mill buys parchment on quality-based consignment from 25 farmers and is working to make Thailand the next Hawaii, Jamaica, or Panama—a niche origin with coffees priced to be sold as single origins to discerning customers.
AN ORIGIN EMERGES As Thailand works to establish its status on the world stage, several curious roasters have already dug in. Miguel Meza of Paradise Coffee Roasters in Minnesota started working with Fuadi five years ago. “Arabica
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from Doi Pangkhon and robusta from Ranong Province are our foremost direct-trade projects,” Meza says. “As a company, we are focused on highlighting and helping to develop emerging origins. My partners and I are all coffee producers ourselves [in Hawaii], so this gives us a unique perspective on and understanding of how to improve coffee quality at the farm level and through the supply chain,” Meza says. Paradise has found Thai arabicas to work quite well as espresso—no big surprise, given how widespread espresso culture is in Thailand. On a more macro level, Allegro Coffee is a Whole Foods Market subsidiary accustomed to importing large quantities. Allegro coffees are roasted in small batches and hand-packed at six roasteries located across the United States, with limited distribution to local markets. Stephanie Kiernan, Allegro’s digital and experiential
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marketing manager, explains how the company sources meaningful volumes of Thai coffee. “We have been thrilled to include Thailand Doi Pangkhon AA [and support] the involvement of the youth in the specialty coffee sector there. They just needed a market to sell to. We came in as a larger roaster with the ability to buy a full container,” Kiernan explains. Joe Coffee Company last year showcased a small lot of honeyprocessed heirloom Typica from Thailand’s Doi Saket area—grown on trees older than the farmers who now tend it—at 19 of its New York City cafés during a one-day Bonus Track offering. The Big Apple got another taste of Thai coffee when Rob Clarijs, a barista from The Netherlands, competed at last year’s New York Coffee Masters with Doi Pangkhon-grown Chiang Mai-80 varietal processed using wine
FAMILY LEGACY Fuadi Pitsuwan (far right) at a micro mill where the son is learning to run the family coffee farm.
yeast in a controlled fermentation method. Clarijs was the only competitor to represent a producer group with his featured coffee. “Usually people think of Thai coffee as really rough, not specialty coffee style. But this coffee was super bright and rich in tones of light
citrus, nuts, apple, and crisp flavors like minerals,” Clarijs says. “This coffee was just so balanced that I could drink it every day.” Thai coffee’s youthful production sector, combined with its appeal in the final cup, make Thailand an exciting origin to explore. FC
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arvest is about to begin. There are those, like me, who cannot wait for it to start, and others who dread its arrival. Yet, it is a hopeful time of transition for everyone. The weather changes, the holidays have come and gone, school is out, tourism spikes, and everyone is that much busier. Timing of harvest varies. This year’s picking will start a little later than usual; however, it is expected to end earlier than normal, since the crop is expected to come in all at once. Production yields also vary. Annually, the average is 1,650,000 69-kilo bags per harvest. Last year’s production was lower than the previous one, and this year it is expected to be a little bit lower again.
Leading up to harvest an extraordinary amount of rain fell—something the producers are hoping ends up increasing the quality, if not the quantity, of their coffee. While it may be a good thing, it also brought challenges in October, when a strong tropical storm named Nate unleashed an amount of water the likes of which Costa Rica hadn’t seen for the last decade. Nate caused landslides, rivers to rise, and floods. As a result, many roads became impassable, structures were damaged, and there was loss of crop. Normally harvest begins in mid-to-late November, when the southern growing region of Brunca, central region of Turrialba, and northern growing region of the West Valley begin making the first selective pickings of the harvest. The more recognized regions of
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Costa Rica: Part Two
Central Valley and Tarrazu catch up in January and the picking goes all the way until the end of March or beginning of April. To pull off the tremendous feat of harvesting the entire crop, producers need a lot of helping hands. Costa Rica relies heavily on seasonal migrant workers, who come from Nicaragua and Panama to pick the coffee cherries for harvest. There is always a bit
of political controversy around this practice, but for now these workers receive all the rights a citizen would while they are working in Costa Rica. They have health coverage, a minimum wage, and legal entry into the country. For some producers, the same people return to their farms year after year; however, it is not uncommon for new workers to come to the fields. THE MONTERO FAMILY OF DON ELI MICRO-BENEFICIO Up the mountains in Tarrazu, Carlos Montero does things typical of a farmer getting ready for harvest. He tours his micro-mill and shows us a nearby area where he is preparing a large campground for 40 students to stay at while they observe the coffee harvest over a week’s time. His farm becomes a very busy destination for visitors during the harvest, and so his family needs to do a lot of gearing up. Carlos’s wife, Lucia, keeps the house neat, stocked, and prepares food for visitors during their stay. Meanwhile, Carlos shows us his nursery, where one-year-old coffee plants now reside, soon to be planted in fields and ready to produce and be harvested in another three years. We tour another farm in the area where they have dry milling equipment for him to finish some of his leftover production from the year before into a final product ready to roast.
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He stops in at the local coffee roaster and picks up coffee he and his son, Jacob, had toll roasted in order to sell in the local market. The next day we get up very early to visit his farm on a prestigious mountain in the area called La Pastora. On the way up, we pick up one of his employees, Javier, who works with Carlos year round. There was fertilizer, rich in magnesium, sodium, and phosphate, in the back of his truck. When we arrived at his newest plantation, Carlos and Javier loaded up bags of fertilizer around their shoulders and began to spread it around each individual coffee tree.
We then walked through his crop to check on the plantation, how the pruning of his trees turned out, and saw that most of the cherries were still green and not mature enough to begin picking.
To see harvest in action, Carlos tells us to go to Chiripo Mountain and visit Ricardo Urena in the mountainous Brunca region.
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Costa Rica: Part Two
THE URENA FAMILY OF BRUNCA We head south on the Inter-American Highway towards San Isidro de General, up the mountain on a beautiful drive. The Urena family greets us outside their home and farming operation. We hop in Ricardo’s truck and meet his brother Esteban further up the mountain where one of their microlots is being picked. A group of seasonal workers coming from Panama appears out of the coffee fields, returning after a brisk morning of hand picking on the extremely steep slopes of plantation. They congregate around a tarp and box the brothers have placed on the ground. The box is called a cajuela, which measures 4.5 gallons by volume. It takes 20 cajuelas to make 1 fanega, which becomes about 100 pounds of green coffee. This is a standardized sized box by which farms must pay at least $2 per full box of coffee cherries
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by volume, according to Icafe, the “public non-governmental organization that enforces law #2762 for coffee production in Costa Rica.” Many farms pay $3 or more for perfectly selected cherries. Each picker compiles their day’s picking into one sack and empties out their coffee cherries little by little until the amount of full boxes is counted
by the Urena brothers, who then pay out the pickers. During the peak of harvest, a good picker can amass about 20 cajuelas of selectively picked ripe coffee cherries. Once the picking and counting of cajuelas is done, the work for the seasonal employees is over. But it is just beginning for the brothers, who now must wet mill and dry the cherries.
THE FRUITS OF HARVEST During harvest, a palpable sense of ripeness and opportunity fills the air. Costa Rica’s coffee crop helps support the economic growth and stability of the country. It generates income, accounting for 20 percent of its exports and employing about 10 percent of its citizens.
The coffee production of this small country meets the demands of many people around the world. Some look forward to the arrival of harvest, such as those who depend on coffee’s economic impact, and those, like me, who are passionate about the industry. Meanwhile, there are others who do not look forward
to harvest as much, including those family members and employees who must lend a helping hand during the crazy-busy time. Then there are those who cannot wait to get their hands on the in-demand coffee beans that grow only in this region. It’s not just a harvest of coffee, but also of hope. FC
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ietnam is the second largest producer of coffee in the world after Brazil. However, the marketability of Vietnamese coffee has been limited by the quality of its beans. Over 97 percent of production is dedicated to robusta coffee, making Vietnam the biggest robusta producer in the world. Ho Chi Minh City, also known by its former name of Saigon, is the largest city in Vietnam by population. The city center and surrounding areas are literally packed with coffee shops, stalls, bikes, and decked-out cafés. The most common drinks are made with the cà phê phin, a small metal Vietnamese drip filter using dark roast robusta coffee, cà phê đá (coffee on ice), and cà phê sua đá (coffee on ice with condensed milk). Most Vietnamese drink their daily coffee in these traditional ways. But now a new wave of coffee artisans is serving up contemporary versions of specialty coffee for locals and international tourists alike. This new generation of Vietnamese cafés extols quality over quantity and maintains close connections with farmers from the Dalat coffee-producing area in central Vietnam.
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Ho Chi Minh City
SAIGON COFFEE ROASTERY 1st Floor, 151 Dong Khoi Street, District 1 saigoncoffeeroastery.com
Located in the center of Ho Chi Minh City, this little shop is a must-visit. Vo Phap, the owner, opened the café because he was tired of all the low-quality coffee sold on every corner. Phap uses a two-kilogram Vietnam-made roaster, made by Vina Nha Trang, and he pulls shots on a two-group Slayer espresso machine. Most coffee on the menu comes from Dalat, where Phap does direct business with the farmers, and some imported coffees are also available. A V60 pour-over of Dalat was simple and good, with honey-like sweetness and low acidity, while an espresso made from Vietnam-grown Typica beans revealed peanut and almond aromas. For traditionalists, Phap serves his version of cà phê phin using freshly roasted robusta. SHIN COFFEE 18 Hô Huãn Nghiêp, District 1; 13 Nguyên Thiêp, District 1; 57 Hòa Bình, Hoà Thanh, Tân Phú, District 2 www.facebook.com/ShinCoffee
Shin’s founder, Nguyen Huu Long, supplies coffee around Vietnam and also serves as a coffee consultant, barista trainer, and coffee trader on Vietnam’s stock exchange. Long also owns four coffee farms around Vietnam, with 100 hectares under cultivation (60 percent robusta, 40 percent arabica). Since 2015, Long has opened three coffee shops, two of which are located five minutes walking distance from each other in downtown Ho Chi Minh City. All cafés are equipped with two-group La Marzocco espresso machines. Shin’s biggest shop is located in a building across the street and around the corner from some of the city’s busiest hotels, ensuring that visiting foreigners get a good first impression of Vietnamese coffee. Spread over three floors, the shop features a five-kilogram Vietnamese roasting machine, a one-kilogram Giesen, and two smallbatch roasters for tests. The ground floor features a welcoming bar and main sitting area with a roasting space in the back, and a training center on the top floor. [A] COFFEE HOUSE 15 Huynh Khuong Ninh, Đa Kao www.facebook.com/Acafein/
One of the coziest places you’ll find in Ho Chi Minh City is owned by Truc Nguyen, who opened the café in 2011 mainly as a place for friends. But word soon got out. Today, Nguyen serves specialty coffee to all comers, and he especially takes pride in serving Bourbon beans from La Viet farm in Dalat. When he first opened, Nguyen bought V60 and Chemex equipment. He was curious to try out these modern coffee makers but had no clue how to properly use them, until coffee consultant Will Frith (see opposite page) taught him how. Now, [a] Coffee House has a two-group Rancilio espresso machine and a three-kilogram coffee roaster. Truc direct trades with Dalat and occasionally features coffee from other origins. THE WORKSHOP 27 Ngô Đuc Ke, Ben Nghé, Quân 1 www.facebook.com/the.workshop.coffee
Located in an old, now restored building with industrial décor, The Workshop helped pioneer Ho Chi Minh City’s specialty coffee scene. Co-owner of The Workshop, Tran Nhat Quang also owns La Viet farm in Dalat. Quang mainly uses local beans to promote Vietnamese specialty coffee as much as possible. Through his dual work in the fields and city, Quang maintains a constant connection between the farming community and local customers. The Workshop is equipped with a five-kilogram Vietnamese roaster and a La Marzocco rests on the bar. Customers have many coffee options, including espresso, V60, AeroPress, and Syphon. BOSGAURUS COFFEE ROASTERS Saigon Pearl, Phưòng 22, Binh Thanh bosgauruscoffee.com
Located in the suburbs, in a newly developed area on the Saigon River’s shore, Bosgaurus gets its name from the tallest species of cow in the world—white cattle that originated in Southeast Asia. But Bosgaurus has gained more acclaim for its bar, behind which stands Tran Han, Vietnam’s National Barista Champion and the Vietnamese AeroPress champion. Bosgaurus is the official Giesen distributor in Vietnam, as evidenced by two roasters in the back of the innovative floating bar. Hung Nguyen Canh, the owner of Bosgaurus, designed the coffee shop to be a clean laboratory. There are two coffee bars, one of which is used as an educational space where anybody can try to make their own coffee, be it brew method or espresso-based drinks.
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Will Frith: Vietnamese Coffee Whisperer
Plus, the price of Vietnamese green beans is influenced by higher labor costs compared to other coffee exporters: Africa, South and Central America…
ill Frith believes in Vietnamese coffee. Why Vietnam? “Well, my mom is Vietnamese and that’s what brought me there in the first place,” Frith explains. “But what keeps me engaged is its potential for producing great coffee—and a fascinating café culture that is growing quickly.” Frith first moved to Ho Chi Minh City after finishing college in 2004. He moved back to the States from 2007–2013, and worked for Batdorf & Bronson Coffee Roasters and Olympia Coffee Roasting Company, both in Olympia, Washington. He returned to Vietnam in early 2013 on a quest to find high-quality arabica in the mountains of Dalat. During this second stint in Vietnam, he consulted with several specialty coffee businesses in Ho Chi Minh City, and encouraged best practices for specialty arabica coffee production in Vietnam. These days he serves as the Portland, Oregonbased Western US representative for Modbar.
WF: All coffee-producing countries recognize the fact that coffee is being sold too cheaply compared to production costs. It will take a while to calibrate buyers and the consuming market to this reality, but the impetus lies on buyers’ willingness to pay fair prices for coffee. The fact that coffee farming is usually done by communities living near or in poverty is something that begs several questions about what we’re willing to pay for their crops. Vietnamese specialty arabica producers are very aware of the value of their crop, and they have a small but steady stream of customers confirming this for them. Why should producers be the ones who have to make “price corrections”? Also, as a percentage, specialty arabica production is still very small. Until we can increase the volume, the supply-demand ratio will continue to price it above coffees of comparable quality. This can only be accomplished over many years with the entire supply chain working together to realize that potential.
How did you get into the coffee industry? Will Frith: I grew up in Texas City, on the Gulf Coast of Texas near Galveston. My first coffeerelated job was at Mod Coffeehouse in Galveston from 2001–2004. In 2004 my partner Kelly and I moved to Ho Chi Minh City to begin our first three-year stint in Vietnam, which didn’t involve any work in coffee beyond drinking it every day. In early 2007, we moved to Olympia, Washington, and I found a job at Batdorf & Bronson Coffee Roasters. This is where my specialty coffee education and my passion for coffee began. I held a few positions there: production and shipping, roaster’s assistant, barista trainer. In late 2010, I went to work for Olympia Coffee Roasting as production roaster, wholesale customer support, and quality control specialist. They really value and support coffee education, so in addition to learning about roasting and QC, I learned about growing, processing, storage and transport, varieties and lot separation, and their effect on cup quality.
When and why did you move to Vietnam?
P H OTO COUR TES Y OF WIL L F R ITH
WF: In 2013, after a few years in Olympia, I began to think about Vietnam again. It kind of became an obsession. I kept coming back to the same line of thinking—second largest coffee producer in the world, 97 percent robusta … What about that remaining three percent? What potential does Vietnam have to produce specialty arabica? Can a niche be carved out for it? What would it take to even begin?
What were the projects that got you involved in Vietnam? WF: I met Quang Tran (La Viet), Duy Ho (The Married Beans Project), Michael Wood and Cana Little (filanthrope), Josh Guikema and Rolan Co Lieng (K’Ho Coffee), and Truc Nguyen ([a] Coffee House), among others, and we shared the common goal of growing both the production and awareness of specialty coffee, via events, trainings, seminars,
Have you experienced difficulty in changing the mentality of farmers to be more attentive to specialty coffee?
and by meeting as many growers as we could. We’d begun to plant the seeds during this short time and this would lead to some successes later on. Soon the specialty coffee scene was beginning to pick up. I still keep in touch with everyone and provide remote support as needed.
While there is big potential for Vietnamese coffee, it’s a hard fight for quality and global marketability. The country’s coffee industry has built its name on being the biggest Robusta producer in the world. WF: Everyone involved is doing a great job at helping the big picture to improve, but the reality is that it’s going to take some time to steer and grow the specialty market. Domestic roasters are paying high prices for most of the available specialtygrade arabica, in addition to importing specialty coffee from more well-known producing countries. There are definitely enough international roasters willing to try Vietnamese specialty coffee, but the high prices that domestic buyers already pay for every level of quality will keep it out of the international market for more years to come. Until we can increase the supply of Vietnamese specialty arabica, most of it will never see export.
WF: Why does this question always fall onto the farmer? Many of them know what specialty production demands, but until buyers can pay them enough to justify the extra labor, it just isn’t feasible. We have to show them through what we’re willing to pay and provide that it’s worth the effort to do business with us (the specialty industry), because it’s much easier to produce commercial coffee at volume than tiny quantities of a high-labor product. It’s partially about correcting what we’re willing to pay, and partially about reorienting our efforts away from the coffee itself and towards the type of grower who is a good fit for a specialty coffee relationship.
How does the Vietnamese specialty coffee industry look today from your perspective? WF: It’s doing great and learning very fast. When I visited in May of 2017, there was an SCAcertified training lab (Golden Cup Coffee, which has hosted multiple CQI Q & R Grader courses, among others), Vietnam had their first WCEsanctioned National Barista Championship, and so many specialty shops have opened that I don’t know how many there are anymore.
Are you planning to return to Vietnam? WF: I’ll always come back to Vietnam as much as possible, and if some projects work out I can return more frequently. I intend to always work with my friends in the Vietnam coffee industry in any way that I can be useful. FC
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TRADE SHOW & EVENTS CALENDAR APRIL
JUNE APRIL 5–8 COFFEE EXPO SEOUL Seoul, Korea coffeeexposeoul.com APRIL 12–15 LONDON COFFEE FESTIVAL London, United Kingdom londoncoffeefestival.com APRIL 18–19 RE:CO SYMPOSIUM Seattle, Washington recosymposium.org APRIL 19–22 SPECIALTY COFFEE EXPO Seattle, Washington coffeeexpo.org APRIL 22–23 NW FOOD SHOW Portland, Oregon nwfoodshow.com
MAY MAY 10–14 CHINA XIAMEN INTL. TEA FAIR Xiamen, Fujian Province, China teafair.com.cn/en MAY 19–22 NRA SHOW Chicago, Illinois show.restaurant.org
JUNE JUNE 8–10 COFFEE FEST Denver, Colorado coffeefest.com JUNE 12–14 WORLD TEA EXPO Las Vegas, Nevada worldteaexpo.com
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JUNE 19–21 WORLD OF COFFEE Amsterdams, Netherlands worldofcoffee.org
AUGUST AUGUST 19–21 COFFEE FEST Los Angeles, California coffeefest.com
AUGUST 19–21 WESTERN FOODSERVICE & HOSPITALITY EXPO Los Angeles, California westernfoodexpo.com
AUGUST 30–SEPTEMBER 1 EXPO CAFE MEXICO Mexico City, Mexico tradex.mx/expocafe
SEPTEMBER SEPTEMBER 5 TEA MASTERS CUP Riga, Latvia teamasterscup.com
SEPTEMBER 6–8 FLORIDA RESTAURANT & LODGING SHOW Orlando, Florida flrestaurantandlodgingshow.com
SEPTEMBER 8–9 MIDWEST TEA FESTIVAL Kansas City, Missouri midwestteafest.com
SEPTEMBER 15–17 CAFE SHOW CHINA Beijing, China www.cafeshow.cn
SEPTEMBER SEPTEMBER 19–22 GOLDEN BEAN Portland, Oregon goldenbean.com
SEPTEMBER 20–24 LET’S TALK COFFEE Huila, Colombia letstalkcoffee.org
SEPTEMBER 23–24 CANADIAN COFFEE & TEA SHOW Toronto, Canada coffeeteashow.ca
SEPTEMBER 29–OCTOBER 1 ATHENS COFFEE FESTIVAL Athens, Greece athenscoffeefestival.gr/en/
OCTOBER OCTOBER 10–12 COTECA Hamburg, Germany coteca-hamburg.com/en/
OCTOBER 16–17 CAFFÈ CULTURE SHOW London, United Kingdom caffecultureshow.com
OCTOBER 18–22 CHINA XIAMEN INTL. TEA FAIR Xiamen, Fujian Province, China teafair.com.cn/en
OCTOBER 25–27 TRIESTESPRESSO EXPO Trieste, Italy triestespresso.it
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Go to freshcup.com/resources/fresh-cup-advertisers to view the Advertiser Index and the websites listed below.
1883 Maison Routin
Academy of Coffee Excellence
Art of Tea
Barista Pro Shop
Café Femenino Foundation
The Canadian Coffee & Tea Show
The Chai Co.
Custom Cup Sleeves
Empire Tea Services
Fresh Cup Magazine
Gosh That’s Good! Brand
Grandstand Glassware + Apparel
Grounds For Health
Healthy Kids Concepts
Malabar Gold Espresso
Monin Gourmet Flavorings
Organic Products Trading Co
Peerless Coffee & Tea
Theta Ridge Coffee
World Tea Expo
Your Brand Café
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BOOKS London’s Afternoon Teas: A Guide to the Most Exquisite Tea Venues in London By Susan Cohen (IMM Lifestyle Books: ©2014, 2018) London-bound or simply love tea? This newly revised and expanded second edition reveals more of the quintessentially British custom of afternoon tea, where pomp and circumstance and cheeky fun are treated with equal reverence. Susan Cohen presents a jolly-good guide to 54 of the city’s most notable tearooms. In the preface, she explains how afternoon tea started over 150 years ago at The Langham, one of London’s oldest venues which still puts on the kettle daily. In the pages that follow, she shares insider tips (who knew elegant smart casual was a dress code?) and recipes from several establishments, while noting places of interest nearby so that tourists can make the most of their tea adventure. Cohen’s catalogue is not only informative but also beautiful. Lavish photography captures the spectacular sitting rooms, pastry towers galore, dazzling Wedgwood china, crisp linens, sparkling drinkware, and elegant entryways found seemingly everywhere in the city on the River Thames. More than just an arena for tea service, each tea venue offers a place to escape from everyday chaos and be transported to another world. The Ampersand, for instance, takes its inspiration from science museums and serves dinosaur fossil biscuits in a parlor that looks as though it was decorated by Indiana Jones’ stylish aunt. At Egerton House Hotel, dog lovers can bring along their pooches and enjoy special treats, such as homemade chicken and beef meatloaf, doggy biscuits, and “doggylicious ice cream.” The hotel even hosts doggy birthday parties and employs a pet concierge, who will walk your dog so you can enjoy your tea and trifle uninterrupted. Name the niche and chances are that there’s a London tearoom to serve its clientele. Cohen includes many of the city’s finest examples in this well-appointed book. —Jordan Johnson The Monk of Mokha By Dave Eggers (Penguin Random House: ©2018) This is the incredible story of Mokhtar Alkhanshali, a second-generation American of Yemeni descent, and his implausible journey from aimless adolescent to resuscitator of a country’s coffee industry. His tale illustrates the feats one person can accomplish when driven by undeterred passion, fully trusting his instincts—and receiving a few lucky breaks along the way. The book begins with our hero recapping the worst day of his young existence. Mokhtar, in his mid-20s, lacks direction. In an absent-minded moment, he loses a great sum of money entrusted to him, along with other material possessions that hold the promise of putting him on a clear path in life. From this humiliating personal low point, Mokhtar eventually rises to a position of global recognition—thanks to coffee. Eventually his way leads him to receive a 97-point cupping score from James Freeman and selling said coffee for $16 a cup at Blue Bottle, but first Mokhtar must reconnect with his Yemeni heritage and learn about the country’s significance in coffee’s history. Located a short boat ride across the Red Sea from Ethiopia, the birthplace of coffee production, the Yemeni port of Mokha is where coffee first set sail on its way to becoming one of the world’s most traded commodities. Mokhtar discovers there are Yemeni farmers who grow coffee, although their beans are all but nonexistent in the specialty marketplace due to their generally poor quality—not to mention the extreme difficulty of exporting containers from a country that has experienced eons of civil war and strife. Awakened spiritually and culturally, Mokhtar sets out on a mission to restore Yemen’s standing in the coffee world. Award-winning writer Dave Eggers traces Mokhtar’s dazzling trajectory, from melancholy to sheer triumph, in a pageturner that holds universal appeal. Whether specialty coffee professional or firm believer in the American Dream, readers of all stripes will enjoy this educational, inspirational, and entertaining biography of Mokhtar, the superstar of today’s Yemeni coffee industry. —Peter Szymczak 74 | APRIL 2018 » freshcup.com