Latest Posts

  1. How to Roast Coffee (circa 1850) !

    How to Roast Coffee (circa 1850) !

    When roasting at home was the primary method, and buying from a shop was your plan b !

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  2. The Fifth Wave of Coffee

    The Fifth Wave of Coffee

    Fifth Wave Coffee. I stake a claim on where it will come from, even while I don't like this whole "wave" thing ...

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  3. Sumatra: Some Things I Have Learned About Aceh, Perhaps.

    Sumatra: Some Things I Have Learned About Aceh, Perhaps.

    Thoughts on Acehnese coffee and the trading system here, written from Banda Aceh, October 2019.

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  4. Podcast Episode #25: The Global Trade/Burundi Discussion

    Podcast Episode #25: The Global Trade/Burundi Discussion

    Some very informative audio from last month's discussion

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  5. The Flores Factor

    The Flores Factor

    Crowd pleasing coffee from a promising origin.

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  6. Discussion: Burundi & Global Coffee Market Issues

    Discussion: Burundi & Global Coffee Market Issues

    Sign up for this informative talk about issues surrounding global coffee pricing and small holder farmers.

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  7. Video: Sample Roasting with an Aillio Bullet R1

    Video: Sample Roasting with an Aillio Bullet R1

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  8. Video: Guatemala 2019 Coffee Clips

    Video: Guatemala 2019 Coffee Clips

    A few fairly low tech clips and some thoughts on coffee processing and coffee buying in Guatemala.

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  9. Video: Kenya Koffee Klips (& Kupping)

    Video: Kenya Koffee Klips (& Kupping)

    New video starring Tom, goats, farmers and coffee....in Kenya.

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  10. Video: Dry Process Coffee & Quakers

    Video: Dry Process Coffee & Quakers

    How we grade for the quality of our dry process coffees

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  11. Podcast Episode #24: Kafa in the Morning, Ethiopia

    Podcast Episode #24: Kafa in the Morning, Ethiopia

    Tom's thoughts and various experiences from his recent travels in Kafa, Ethiopia, near the town of Bonga.

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  12. Ethiopia - Road Dust and Deep Ruts

    Ethiopia - Road Dust and Deep Ruts

    A post from the road ... about our trip through southern and western Ethiopia coffee lands in late 2018.

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$caa in hotlanta

$caa in hotlanta

We're off to the Specialty Coffee Association of America (scaa) conference in scintillating "Hotlanta" today. In a way, I wonder why I go. I count among the disaffected, I suppose. At one time "Specialty Coffee" really meant something, defining itself in opposition to commercial/industrial grade coffee. Now there are so many things crammed under the roof of Specialty, it's hard not to feel squeezed out. I don't know what we are ... Fourth Wave, Micro-Lot Specialists, DIY ... it always seems silly to think of such terms and even sillier to apply them. Maybe it's my history. Since I am from an artsy background, it reminds me of photography, which was (supposedly) my field of focus. Photography as a technical skill gives you a lot to talk about with other photo geeks, bracketing half-stops, and backlight compensation. But when it comes to the ideas, what you really do, well, you might be better off talking to your pet dog than most photo people; just because you share a method doesn't mean you have shared goals. It's like that with the coffee trade. You could sit next to a fellow coffee buyer on a plane trip to an origin country, and have nothing substantial to talk about but the weather. Of course, the opposite can be true to, which is why I still go to the $caa, armed with a dim hope. In reference to my crafty use of the $, I have to consider this: what furthers our ability to find better coffees to offer our customers, $3000 spent going to the scaa (Josh comes too), or $2500 spent on a great origin trip, cupping, visiting farms, understanding local issues, forming new relationships. For sweet maria's it's the later, of course. Two footnotes to this grumpy post: a. I volunteer to help roaster trainings and cupper trainings at scaa and I find that worthwhile for me and others, and b. the branch of the scaa called the Roasters Guild, especially the intensive RG retreat each year, is very, very worthwhile.
Incidentally, I will try to send a couple pictures to the web log from there 1. an image of the stupidest coffee product I find (there will be a lot of competition in this category) and 2. something new that is actually sensible and of good quality. That might be tough.

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