Meet the Regulars: Kenie (and C)

Kenie and Catherine Richards, who began their love affair at Irving Farm.

Kenie and Catherine Richards, who began their love affair at Irving Farm.

We recently learned of an Irving Farm love story from Kenie Richards, who is a regular at our 79th Street cafe and soon relocating to Seattle. We’re sad to see her go but we firmly believe, “Once a regular, always a regular.” Next time you visit one of our cafes, take a moment to look around and consider that couple chatting in the corner, or those ladies out front standing and crying over their bikes. Something extraordinary could be taking place. Good things happen over coffee…

Occupation:
Director, Content Marketing at Teach For America

Hometown:
New Port Richey, FL

Other places you think you could live:
Seattle—at least I hope I can live there. We’re moving on September 8!

Name of spouse:
Catherine Richards —I like to call her C.

Names/breed of “kids”:
We have two handsome men in our life—our sons, Sir Estherhouse and Kevin Bacon. (Both Boston Terriers. Both dapper in bow ties.)

Favorite/standard drink at Irving Farm:
My go-to drink is a simple cup of black coffee—but a drink I like to treat myself to once in a while is a soy latte, either iced or hot (depending on the season).

Item you have to resist (or treat yourself to) at Irving Farm:
Biscuits!

Do you brew at home? If so, what device/method do you use?
I’m typically a French Press girl, but I’m considering a Kalita Wave Dripper for Sunday mornings. There’s something fun about pour-overs (or maybe that’s just pop coffee culture getting to me).

Favorite non-coffee beverage:
Seltzer. (Fun fact: C’s vows included the line, “I promise to always bring you coffee in the morning and seltzer in the evening.”)

What did you do on your first date?
We met at Irving Farm on 79th Street for coffee after work—a dinner date would have been too much too soon, but coffee was just right. We hit it off almost immediately, even though I asked C if she was into zombies after she told me that she was wrapping up her PhD in Epidemiology at the time. Her answer was a quick “No,” followed by an awkward silence, in which I was convinced I had blown it.

Tell us your engagement story:
C and I are both really into bikes. Because of this, I really wanted to somehow include a bike ride in the proposal, but I also needed to get C to Irving Farm in a way that wasn’t obvious. (We had already asked permission from both sets of our parents to marry each other, so she knew it was coming.) I arranged a dinner with some friends on the UWS, and of course we biked there. On the way home, I steered us past Irving Farm on 79th, then slowed way down. I let C pass me and then called to her saying I had a flat tire. She rode up, looked at me and then at my tires, and realized there wasn’t a flat after all. Once she looked up and saw where we were, she blurted out, “Holy shit, this is happening right now isn’t it!?” I answered yes, started to cry, and pulled out a list of 33 reasons why we were perfect for each other from my pocket. (I had given her a similar list to explain why I loved her earlier in our relationship, and 33 is C’s favorite number.) After we got through the list, I pulled the ring out of my other pocket and asked her if she’d marry me. She said yes and we stood there taking pictures, crying, kissing, and hugging—all while standing over our bikes and wearing helmets. A stranger on the street had seen the whole thing and congratulated us, and it was easily the happiest moment of my life up until the day we got married.

crappyquality-engagement

Wedding date/location:
We got married on May 24, 2014, at a friend’s weekend house in New Paltz, NY. When we first saw the house we couldn’t believe the view—fields, mountains, and the tower at Mohonk. We fell in love with it and the town of New Paltz, and began spending most weekends there through the winter and spring. Our friends rarely used the house anymore, and we traded house and yard work for weekends upstate.

Tell us about the food:
The food was really important to us—we wanted fresh, local food, but also variety and comfort offerings so that everyone had something good to eat no matter their preferences or palate. We ended up with the perfect caterers (Main Course based in New Paltz) who gave us a harvest table full of Hudson Valley cheeses, fruits and veggies, delicious hors d’oeuvres, and stations of food for the main dinner—comfort foods kicked up a notch (grilled cheeses and sliders made in front of you, truffle mac and cheese) and a taco station with fish, chicken, and tofu (also prepared and grilled in front of you). That was all rounded out with a salad table featuring fresh green salads, but also quinoa, beans, etc. For dessert, we did have a wedding cake and cookies, but also invited everyone around a bonfire where we all made s’mores. It was perfect. To this day, our guests tell us it was the best food they’d ever eaten at a wedding. Mission accomplished!

Photo by Prisca Edwards.

Photo by Prisca Edwards.

Side note: Our wedding favors were bags of coffee—displayed next to a sign that read “Good things happen over coffee”. We also took inspiration from the Irving Farm brand for our wedding colors—we went with white and black for most everything, tossing in a pale yellow and purple (our favorite colors) here and there. I’m detail-oriented like crazy, so I really wanted the coffee that started it all front and center, even if C and I were the only two that knew the significance!

Favorite memory from the honeymoon:
We spent two weeks in the Pacific Northwest for our honeymoon with a last stop in Seattle. I had never been there but was pretty blown away by the city almost immediately. It’s gorgeous! On our second day there, Catherine actually interviewed for a job, and when she came back a few hours later I knew the look on her face said that it went well and that she was excited. I asked her, “Are we moving to Seattle?” and she smiled and I knew.

Personality traits necessary for marriage:
Courage and patience. There is a James Baldwin quote that comes to mind—“Love takes off masks that we fear we cannot live without and know we cannot live within.” So, you’ve got to be willing to go all in, or you’ll never be happy. And the patience part is all about being completely willing to give up selfish habits, and to realize that not everything is on your timing any longer. It’s about staying calm in tough situations even if they lay outside of your comfort zone.

Personal heroes when it comes to successful/inspiring relationships:
Edie and Thea come to mind—their story and persistence is inspiring.

Life philosophy in one sentence:
Can I borrow a Steve Martin Quote? “Be so good they can’t ignore you.” I don’t borrow this in an arrogant way—rather, I keep it close as a reminder to keep at it (whatever it is), to be persistent, to always keep going. You can’t give up too easily or be swayed by the inevitable roadblocks in life. A line I might add—if you are that good, and you do gain attention, you’ve got to do something good with that attention. Invest it in making a difference.

Love philosophy in one sentence:
Be brave. I say this here because that’s what it takes, I think. You’ve got to be brave to be your best for that other person, you’ve got to be brave to keep trying new things together, and you have to be brave every day to love them fully even when it scares you.

Thanks, Kenie! Best of luck to you and Catherine in Seattle; we’ll miss you!

On the Road: Lay’s Cappuccino Flavored Potato Chips

In the line of duty, we who work at Irving Farm are occasionally sent to the far reaches of civilization in pursuit of our coffee passions. Here’s a dispatch from Josh Littlefield, who came upon a highly unusual specimen while traveling this week.

Cappucino Lay's Potato Chips

Variety: Lay’s Cappuccino Flavored Potato Chips

Origin: Gas station, northeast corner of Tennessee.

Tasting notes: Essence of scrapings from crusty cappuccino cups from bus tubs all across America, potato chips soaked in airy milk foam, chemical cinnamon.

When I ate the first Lay’s Cappuccino chip in front of the gas station attendant, she asked me if I was alright and if I wanted to trade them for something else.

Also, I was offended that there was no latte art on the chips or in the bottom of the bag as the packaging has advertised.

If you don’t believe me try for yourself but I wouldnt wish this evil upon any of you.

Have a great week,
Josh

We’re off to the Races at the United States Barista Championship!

tam_competition_newsletter

 

Coffee stories may start at the farm, but those aren’t the only adventures we love in this industry. This week, we’re packing our bags (and demitasses!) in excitement for an annual gathering of coffee fans and pros in Seattle, Washington: the United States Barista Championship.

This competition pits the best of the best in the nation against one another in a battle of espresso-based deliciousness. Baristas will compete in front of a panel of tasting and technical judges to prepare the nation’s best espresso, cappuccino and signature drink creations, all vying for the chance to become the United States Barista Champion and compete representing the United States of America in the World Barista Championship this June in Rimini, Italy.

Tamara Vigil, who works out of our Manhattan headquarters as our Coffee Educator, is one of the best things that ever happened to us. Her enthusiasm and coffee smarts have raised the game for everyone who works at, and brews coffee roasted by, Irving Farm. She’ll be competing with one of our favorite coffees from Ethiopia, and you can catch her contagious charm (and see serious skills) online next week at the official USBC website at 7:28 PM EST, this Friday, April 25, at this live-streaming link!

What’s more, we’re sending other members of the Farmily, like coffee director Dan Streetman, Teresa von Fuchs and Liz Dean, to volunteer at the competition as judges—and, well, when Tamara is competing, as cheerleaders.

We hope you’ll join us in cheering on Irving Farm—and the whole world of specialty coffee—as we celebrate the professionals who deliver the message of truly wonderful coffee through their talent and passion.

Bikes + Coffee with Red Hook Crit’s David Trimble

 

Bikes + Coffee at 88 Orchard

Photos by David Trimble

 

We’re kicking off this season with a race!

Spring may be struggling to find its footing in New York, but we have friends—and some friendly cut-throat competition—to keep us warm. This Saturday, March 29, 2014, we’ll be at the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal with coffee and snacks to fuel racers and spectators at the seventh iteration of the Red Hook Criterium. This year is the first time there will be a separate women’s race, and there will also be men’s and women’s 5k foot races. Lots of action all around!

Earlier this week, we met at 88 Orchard with race organizer David Trimble and one of this year’s first-time RHC participants, Michael Biastoch of Germany. Although there’s still much to do as the race nears, David had a moment to share with us his thoughts on how RHC got started and on the beautiful relationship between coffee and bikes. Check out the conversation, below.

Red Hook Crit's David Trimble with competitor Michael Biastoch at 88 Orchard

RHC’s David Trimble with competitor Michael Biastoch at 88 Orchard

Bikes + Coffee at 88 Orchard with Red Hook Crit competitor Michael Biastoch

Competitor Michael Biastoch with IFCR’s Ugo Aniukwu at 88 Orchard

 


Bikes + Coffee: Our conversation with David Trimble

Tell us about Trimble Racing + the Red Hook Criterium?

Trimble Racing encompasses all of my family’s activity in cycling. My father and (many) siblings all ride and race bikes. We have competed all over the world on many different formats of racing (alleycats, downhill, cross country, road, track, etc). Under the Trimble Racing name I have organized races in Alaska and The Catskills in addition to the RHC. The Red Hook Criterium is a race I first organized in 2008 as part of my birthday party. Since then it has grown into what it is today.

How did you get started in the cycling industry?

My father and uncle were frame builders who invented the modern carbon monocoque frame. Their bikes have won world championships and Olympic Gold medals. I have been around cycling my entire life.

What got you interested in great coffee? And what made you want to have great coffee at your events?

The Red Hook Crit is held at the end of March when it is cold and windy. Qualifying starts in the afternoon with the main races at night. It is a long, long day. We start setting up at 6am. Spectators, volunteers, and athletes need a good warm cup of coffee to keep themselves moving.

What connection do you see between coffee and cycling?

Riding bikes makes you tired. Drinking coffee makes you feel better. The correlation is very strong. Almost every cyclist I know is obsessed with coffee.

Do you have any funny coffee-related stories?

It is always funny speaking to Europeans who are convinced good coffee doesn’t exist in America. Coffee may be consistently better in Italy but the absolute best cup can be found in New York.

 


We wish Michael and all of the competitors the best of luck this weekend. And we hope to see you at the crit. Admission is free for spectators, so check the rest of the details at redhookcrit.com to make sure you don’t miss all the fun!

Remember to come see us at the sidelines near the start and finish line for hot cups of our Monte Cristo, BrazilLa Bendicion, Nicaragua, and of course espressos and macchiatos made with our signature Blackstrap Espresso. Go bikes and coffee!

Peak Organic + Irving Farm Launch Espresso Amber Ale

peak_newsletter_alternate

As coffee people, we’re naturally drawn to those who brew—the other stuff. Imagine our delight when our friends at Peak Organic Brewing Co. in Portland, Maine, tapped us to participate in a collaborative beer. Working together with their brewers, we helped them select from our finest organic coffee offerings to home in on the key ingredient (besides beer) in their new Espresso Amber Ale.

Jon Cadoux, founder and brewer at Peak Organic, is a longtime fan of collaborating with those who produce fine organic ingredients. When looking for a coffee component for their newest brew, “we let Irving Farm handle the coffee, while we handled the beer,” Cadoux said. “We respect their commitment to deepening relationships with the growers of their beans.”

While most coffee beers tend to focus on the darker shades of coffee, ending up in heavier beers like stouts and porters, Peak Organic wanted something a little bit on the lighter side. Malty, complex, and a little fruity. We guided them towards an organic coffee we really love from the Capucas cooperative in Honduras that would harmonize wonderfully with an amber style of beer. We roasted it to bring out precisely the notes of citrus, green apple and cinnamon Cadoux fell in love with, with a firm backbone of robust, toasty espresso.

The result? Espresso Amber Ale, an absolutely delicious crossover that we can’t wait to share with you.

The beer launches this weekend to our excitement and fanfare. But somehow that didn’t seem like enough, so on Friday, March 7…we’re throwing it a party!

peak_organic_party

We hope you’ll join us to raise a glass of Peak Organic Espresso Amber Ale at our 88 Orchard Street cafe in New York City, Friday, March 7 from 6–10pm. We’ll have food, music…and, of course, plenty of Espresso Amber Ale for you to try!

Go Big or Go Home at the Big Eastern

Tamara Vigil competing at the 2013 United States Barista Championship in Boston, Mass. Photo by Liz Clayton.

Tamara Vigil competing at the 2013 United States Barista Championship in Boston, Mass. Photo by Liz Clayton.

Do you ever wish coffee were more like sports? That it had the drama of reality shows? That you could root for your favorite coffees and baristas as they go neck and neck, head to head, portafilter to portafilter against one another, to the death, in a battle of skill, cleanliness, flavor and charm?

You can!

Starting today through Sunday, baristas up and down the eastern seaboard will be facing off at the Big Eastern Barista Competition and Brewer’s Cup, in Durham, NC, one of three regional run-ups to the United States Barista Championship to be held this April.

And of course, we’ve got a pony in the race: our Director of Education, Tamara Vigil, will be competing in the Barista Competition with one of her (and our) favorite coffees, the Ethiopian Amaro Gayo. This coffee, from the birthplace of coffee itself, is uniquely sweet and balanced, and we feel a deeper connection to it from Irving Farm’s own trips to visit Ethiopia.

If you don’t happen to be near enough to Durham to attend the event in person, you can cheer Tam on like most of us here will be, live, over the internet! Follow this link to watch live-streaming coverage of the entire competition. Tamara will be performing her competition routine at 1:01pm Eastern on Sunday, January 19th.

 As a bonus to help you get pumped up, we’ve gotten Tam to reveal her psyche-up soundtrack for competition. What’s in those headphones while she tamps and trains? Thin Lizzy “Bad Reputation”, “Wild One” and “Don’t Believe a Word”, Graveyard “Hisingen Blues”, Black Mountain “Evil Ways” and “Queens Will Play”, Black Sabbath “Supernaut” (of course!), Betty Davis “Steppin High in Her I. Miller Shoes”, M.I.A. “Born Free”, John Lee Hooker “Boom Boom”, and Roky Erickson’s “Bloody Hammer”. 

Go team Tam!!

Blue Hill’s Chef Dan Barber on the G9…and the Perfect Cup of Coffee

Blue Hill Chef Dan Barber

Blue Hill Chef Dan Barber

The G9 Chef’s Summit, an annual meeting of the  International Advisory Council of the Basque Culinary Center, aka nine of the world’s top chefs, met close to our home this year in Pocantico Hills, NY, at the revered Blue Hill at Stone Barns farm and restaurant. We spoke with Blue Hill chef and G9 member Dan Barber about what the meeting was all about…and how the world’s top chefs liked our coffee.

What was this year’s G9 conference all about?
This year’s G9 was about bringing together the original producers of grains and seeds together with chefs to get them to think about the products and produce we use before they even hit the field. We all think about sourcing ingredients, and the further back along the chain we go when we think about it, the better. If we get to know the people who are imagining the flavors and textures of the future, we can work together to create that future.

What thing struck you most about this years’ conference?
Mostly the recognition that we may have overlooked breeders in our pursuit to eke out specific flavors and textures. That, and the chance to facilitate the meeting of so many incredible artisans.

So we have to ask, as we talk about the specific ingredients you choose to use at Blue Hill, how does coffee fit into your master plans?
The same way it fit into the conference this year. You have a collection of incredible chefs, breeders, this room full of incredible tasters and people driven by the pursuit of great flavor and we wanted to fuel them with great flavors in their cups. In our restaurant, it’s the diners who we want to provide the best possible tastes. And when we don’t screw it up, I think that’s what we do with your coffee.

 I was really happy at this year’s conference to be able to introduce so many people to Irving Farm and the work you all do. So many people came up to me and said they couldn’t believe Irving Farm Coffee tasted like that.

What’s on your mind, and what are you most excited to work on for this coming year? In terms of seeds/your restaurant/anything?
I’m most excited for good coffee!

Here’s to that!

Read more about some of the farms Blue Hill is inspired by here on their website.

Out and About This Fall With Irving Farm

If you’ve tasted Irving Farm coffee being served at a food event, charity food event, farmer’s food event or anything in between, chances are you’ve met our Directof of Wholesale, Teresa von Fuchs. Sometime in between working directly with those who proudly brew and serve Irving Farm, and attending all of these amazing events, Teresa managed to write a little recap for us of what she’s been up to. Suddenly the rest of us feel like massive underachievers.

 

Fall in Millerton, New York

Fall in Millerton, New York

Fall is a busy time of year for us at Irving Farm. It’s a time of bounty and harvest and celebrating the ripening of all the the seeds sown during the spring and summer. Though we don’t actually ‘grow’ our coffee on our farm, we’re pleased to be invited to participate in celebrating the bounty of harvest time with our many partners and friends in the food community. Here’s a quick wrap up of the celebrations we’ve been proud to share in—and share our coffee at. We started summer off right, making coffee for the Chef Farmer Brunch, hosted by No 9 to benefit the North East Community Center in Millerton. We made Kalitas of the fruit-forward Amaro Gayo in the beautiful Silver Barn—though we missed the evening barn dance, we’ll be there next year with our boots on!

Taste of Hudson Valley Bounty

Taste of Hudson Valley Bounty

The next weekend, also near our upstate roastery, we were featured in the delicious art installation Pancakes and Coffee by one of the Wassiac Project’s founders Jeff Barnett-Winsby. The annual weekend long Summer Festival showcases work by the artists in residency at the Wassaic Project as well as other artists, musicians and dancers from the community. The same weekend we were pleased to present some delicious pourovers at the annual Taste of Hudson Valley Bounty event and meet some more of our neighbors in farming and food. All of this inspired us to host one of our own events: in September we held our first coffee launch party, featuring the Ortiz Herrera and Mendez families and their coffees, Natamaya and Talnamica, at our 79th street cafe. There were specialty Salvadorian snacks, lots of coffee and wonderful family.

Harvest in the Square 2013

Harvest in the Square 2013

The next night we made merry with our longtime neighbors around Union Square at the Union Square Partnership’s annual Harvest in the Square. One of the first neighborhood-based tasting events in the city, Harvest in the Square connects the farmers of the city’s many farmers’ markets with the chefs and food artisans who use their beautiful produce and other foods. We felt right at home making coffee for the crowd of 1,000 attendees, vendors and volunteers on a beautiful night in Union Square, just around the way from our flagship cafe at 71 Irving Place. Irving Farm coffee was also fuel for the the James Beard Chef Bootcamp at Glynwood. Attendees enjoyed 71 Irving House Blend during the course of the conference and then selected coffees from some of our closest farm relationships to close out the chef’s signature meals of the final evening.

G9 Summit at Blue Hill at Stone Barns. Photo by Kirra Cheers.

G9 Summit at Blue Hill at Stone Barns. Photo by Kirra Cheers.

We were also honored to be invited by Blue Hill Chef Dan Barber to this year’s G9 (now G11) summit held at Stone Barns. One hundred and twenty chefs, seed breeders and journalists from the around the world were invited to a day of discussion at Stone Barns about “The Future of Flavor.” We were there to keep the crowd energized and delighted with the unique and varied flavors of coffees. We selected coffees from our offerings that showcased a range of varietals, processing methods and terroirs, and the quality and variety of our coffee selection was not missed by the audience.

Fast forward to later that same week and we sent a cadre of Irving Farmers to the annual MANE conference in Pawtucket, RI. Our team taught and attended classes and ruled the dance floor—and I was honored to present on the “How Did You Get Here?” panel, revealing the secrets of how I got where I am today (in coffee—not dance moves).

Kai holding down the fort at Taste of Gramercy.

Kai holding down the fort at Taste of Gramercy.

This fall also marked the inaugural Taste of Gramercy event, held on a beautiful sunday in October on our home turf of Irving Place. We mingled with Gramercy Tavern, Casa Mono and many of our well-known neighbors and met some new ones at well. That same day (!) we packed up our brewing gear and headed out to the Catskills to work with our partners at Table on Ten in Bloomville, NY on a blend that represents their community-driven spirit. We brewed three coffees, each roasted with two different expressions and gave tasting flights all day to anyone and everyone who stopped in. We then created a blend with the two coffees that received the warmest receptions and played best together. We were also so warmed by their community. Everyone made us feel right at home.

It was hard to leave, but we were welcomed back to the Hudson Valley to kick off Hudson Valley Restaurant Week! This is our second year as the official coffee sponsor and we were pleased as punch to spend the day brewing coffee at the Millbrook Winery and warming our bellies with veggie stew from Chef Eric Gabrynowicz of Restaurant North. And so we wrapped up the exciting season appropriately—at our upstate home in Dutchess County. It was our first year at this event and we were struck by how beautiful and bountiful and far-reaching our community is. As fall winds down into the holiday season we are most thankful for our fellow families of artisan producers and lovers of tasty things grown and crafted by hand!

Harvest in the Square is Upon Us!

Getting ready for Harvest in the Square!

Getting ready for Harvest in the Square!

 

It’s that time again! Irving Farm is once again an excited part of Harvest in the Square, one of New York City’s most esteemed food events, and an integral part of supporting our Union Square community.

This will be the eighteenth year of this memorable evening that celebrates the finest chefs and foods surrounding Union Square Park, the neighborhood where Irving Farm began. Welcome in New York’s most beautiful season, fall, with this evening of exquisite food and drink pairings, music, and celebration.

Harvest in the Square
Tuesday, September 17, 2013
Enter from the South Plaza at 14th Street
Union Square Park, Manhattan

Nice is Nice, and so are Coffee People

The French Riviera beckons. Photo by Dan Streetman.

The French Riviera beckons. Photo by Dan Streetman.

Our Coffee Director, Dan Streetman, recently traveled to Nice, France, for the 2013 Specialty Coffee Association of Europe conference. While he wasn’t tanning on the beach, he took the time to meet with some coffee colleagues and producers and to judge some rigorous competitions. Here is his recap of the week.

The South of France might be one of the most universally exciting travel destinations in the world, especially in June. When I was invited to attend this year’s Specialty Coffee Association of Europe show, I jumped at the chance. Spending a week in the Riviera was just too enticing, even if it meant a week of trade show activities.

Arriving in France, the plane took a sweep off the coast of the city. Nothing but crystal azure water and terracotta roofs extending from the beach to the foothills in the distance. Even a view of the distant Alps made for quite the introduction. After dropping bags at the hotel and a quick breakfast, I headed over to the convention center for judges’ calibration for the World Latte Art and World Coffee in Good Spirits competitions. We do not conduct national competitions for these events in the United States, so I was especially interested to participate.

The next few days would prove to be a whirlwind of activity, just like every other trade show. I was observing SCAE education classes, judging Coffee in Good Spirits as a sensory judge and walking the show floor in between. I was a little skeptical about Coffee in Good Spirits—a contest involving signature drinks combining coffee and alcohol—because as a coffee purist I have never been a fan of people putting things in my coffee. However the drinks in the competition made me a believer, as all of them were far superior to anything I had tried before in the way of coffee cocktails. This was especially true of the drinks in the final round, with some especially delicious drinks.  France took home the crown with their competitor making a drink that included coffee, Cognac, and a cigar whose smoke was trapped under a cloche and released just before drinking.

Working with SCAE Education folks was equally rewarding, as being so heavily involved with the Barista Guild and SCAA espresso curriculum it is always nice to share war stories with another group that faces similar challenges.

The best surprise of the show however was running into a few of our friends from producing countries. Andres Salaverria, whose family owns the farms of Guadalupe and El Molino in El Salvador was in attendance to facilitate some cuppings at the show with their European clients Nordic Approach. It is always great to see Andres, and especially so when it is unexpected. He informed me that the farms are doing very well, and they have almost defeated the leaf rust scare, reducing the infection from 40% of the farms to 1%. This news came as quite a surprise to me, as there has not been any news like this out of Central America in regards to the leaf rust epidemic.  Andres explained however that careful pruning and a lot of management had been the secret to their success—along with favorable weather.

I was also lucky enough to see Omar Rodriguez, who is President of the Capucas Co-op. He was excited to hear that we had just received our coffees, and that we were looking forward to releasing them (our fresh crop of Capucas is now available). Omar also had surprisingly good reports in regards to leaf rust in regards to our other producers from Capucas: Jose Francisco and Jose Luis who own Los Plantanares and Los Lirios.

My third encounter was with Tsion Taye who was my guide in Ethiopia this year.  We chatted business briefly, and talked about the complexities of Ethiopia. I also got some advice on how to get some very exciting coffees for next year.

Judge Streetman rigging another contest...

Judge Streetman rigging another contest…

After the event, I was energized by the interactions of the show. Volunteering at these events always drives home that coffee is about people—particularly those people who  you may not even expect to run into but who make all the difference. Working and collaborating with these people is my favorite part of working in coffee.

 

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