Last week, I took Su and Ed with me for Royal Coffee NY's Costa Rica & Honduras MicroLot Cupping. While most of the coffees we serve are sourced personally in-country by yours truly, sometimes we do rely on importers for some of the coffees we serve. The basic reality is that as much as I'd like for us to source 100% personally, we just can't be everywhere in the world!
And importers like Royal Coffee NY are great partners because they also source high quality specialty coffees and sometimes, you find some really great stuff from them. For the past several years, we've sourced the coffees of Oscar Omar Alonzo and his Finca Cual Bicicleta from Royal and loved every drop of it!
But tasting coffee in the retail environment or even as a barista reviewing our current inventory is a bit different than cupping in a professional setting. There are international protocols that we follow and it can be grueling - especially when you're tasting four samples each of 24 coffees in a matter of a couple of hours. In other words, the perfect environment to throw Su and Ed into the deep end of the cupping pool!
To go from the workday of a barista into the midst of green coffee buyers is a challenging undertaking and I remember when I first made that transition ten years ago in Addis Ababa at the Taste Of Harvest Ethiopia. It's an exciting time - even though it's a bit intimidating, but you learn quite a lot and get to discuss coffee in an environment different than your own with a whole new group of people. I couldn't think of a better way for Su and Ed to expand their coffee knowledge.
At the end of the day, we came away from the event with a new coffee for all of you to taste. Sadly, it wasn't a coffee from Cual Bicicleta but a new coffee from Finca Pacaya and we'll be offering that real soon.