company - education - coffee - tea - equipment

Friday, August 14, 2015

Coffee Sourcing Transparency

A few weeks ago we were discussing our current projects with a customer who has been with us since the very early days of barismo. Looking back on where we have come since 2008, they noted one of our defining qualities has been that we've never settled with where we are, and always are working on the next project. That pursuit and advocacy of quality has taken many forms over the years and has helped push our local & national coffee market.

Still, in some ways the coffee market today is harder than ever for a consumer to navigate; alongside genuinely great coffees on the market there are cheap coffees dressed up in the same way, packaged and marketed to mimic progressive quality coffee. No matter how many pictures of farms and slick branding accompanies the coffee, at the end of the day they're still the same "black box" blends that don't tell you what's in them, roast dates hidden or unlabeled, and the coffee itself simply being cheap & poor quality.

The best way we can respond to this is by becoming even more transparent; this year, we are making a move to full pricing transparency for our coffees. We're proud of the prices we are able to pay farmers & how they have increased each year. We fully own that we don't sell the cheapest coffee in the market by a long shot; our business is in quality coffee, and in order to get quality you have to pay farmers more money for their coffee. We have made a concerted effort over the years to build our business in a way so that we can reward producers for their work & the risks they take in pursuit of quality. We've often shared this information casually across the counter when talking coffee sourcing with customers, and we have taken the step this year to fully publish what we pay for coffee.

The coffee prices we paid for this year's arrivals are listed below. The prices are per pound green coffee. Every country we work in and source coffee from has a different dynamic between farmers, millers, exporters and contracts; based on that, we have listed one or two different prices: Free On Board (FOB), which is the price for the coffee delivered in a container to the ship dock, and Exit Warehouse Price, the cost to us once the coffee leaves the warehouse in the United States on its way to us.

After the coffee arrives, we have to pay for the cost of origin travel, truck freight, handling, rent, gas, electricity, equipment, bags, labels, QC, and labor (in addition to extra costs of running a business — accounts receivable/collections, accounting, insurance, taxes, etc). During the roasting process itself, green coffee loses 17% of its mass during the roasting process as water weight. In this light we believe that quality coffee is an incredible value in light of all the hands and expenses that are involved from the coffee nursery to the coffeebar.

Our average Landed Price in 2015 is $3.90 per pound. In comparison the commodity coffee price (C-market price) today ranges from $1.20 - $1.60 per pound, the same price that was being paid in the 1980’s; everything has gotten more expensive over the past 30 years, but the majority of coffee farmers are still making the same amount of money.

CoffeeRelationshipOriginFOBExit WarehousePounds Green Coffee
Buena Esperanza (Hacienda Santa Rosa)DirectGuatemala $4.25$4.543,800
Pena Blanca (Hacienda Santa Rosa)DirectGuatemala $2.75$3.0421,432
Cerro Verde (Hacienda Santa Rosa)DirectGuatemala$3.00$3.296,080
Finca Santa AnaDirectGuatemala $4.25$4.853,040
El XalumDirectGuatemala $4.00$4.585,420
El BosqueDirectGuatemala $3.95$4.5110,100
Jardin De AromasDirectCosta Rica$3.25$3.603,040
La Bandera El QuetzalDirectCosta Rica$4.00$4.352,280
La Lia Santa Rosa 1900DirectCosta Rica$4.25$4.60760
Genesis OscarDirectCosta Rica$4.75$5.10760
Meridiano AADirectColombia$4.003,040
MataharaImporter ContractEthiopia$4.183,800
Abysinian MoccaImporter ContractEthiopia$4.403,040
Gitare ABImporter ContractKenya$4.101,980
Finca Santa Leticia PamonImporter ContractEl Salvador$4.251,520
Mario Doroteo Perez AAImporter ContractHonduras$3.903,040
Manuel Adan AAAImporter ContractHonduras$4.351,520
Tupac AmaruImporter ContractPeru$4.401,824
Average Exit Warehouse Price: $3.90

Friday, February 13, 2015

For love of coffee

2015 marks our 7th year offering up fresh roast and per cup.  While a lot has changed (see dwelltime, Cambridge Cold Brew), a lot of our core love of coffee is still there.  The weather is just dreadful right now but it's a great time to look back before we look forward to the rest of the year.

I started in coffee a decade ago at a time when there were nearly all dark roasts being offered at local cafes. Mystery blends without roast dates made it pretty hard to find great coffee.  That doesn't even cover the lack of good tools and equipment back then.  These days, things have changed a bit and the equipment is getting to be a non issue and it shows.  More coffee shops are doing latte art and the execution has become better in our scene.  These days, there are still mostly dark roast blends at coffee shops in town and while you hear and see 'single estate' used a lot, there isn't that much of it actually being served.  Shops and roasters are really laying into 'freshly roasted' but it is surprisingly hard to find whole bean that's less than ten days off roast.  The messaging has evolved but there is a lot of room to grow in terms of the quality.  Meanwhile, the national 'indie' coffee scene is obsessed with venture capital, acquisitions, aggressive expansion, and (quietly) exit strategies but those topics are less discussed locally.  It's easy to be overwhelmed by it all.

In some ways, I am back where I started when I founded this company.  I find myself asking some of the same questions.  How do we (continue to) do what we do in a community of shops where so many shop owners may be pulling in the opposite direction?  After a lot of thought, I realized that we just have to acknowledge that barismo is on a mission.  We love coffee and just happen to also be lucky enough to have found a community of coffee drinkers that let's us be a little nerdy and obsessed about great coffee.  We have a complex business and a bit of an uphill trek but sometimes you just have to focus on what matters.  So, here's a break down of what our core goals are for 2015:

Fresh Roast  We will continue to strive to be the only coffee brand you will consistently see on shelves locally that is delivering coffee 24 hours off roast. We want you to take it home and enjoy it in the first two weeks while it is fresh.

Fresh Brew  We will push for, wrangle up, and argue for the most attentive, detailed, and cared for brews we can muster.  We promise that while you may have to wait a little longer for a brew, it wasn't sitting around all day staling and waiting for you.

Transparency  We will never blend up a mystery bag or serve up a murky 'dark roast' that lacks farm identity.  We also promise to share as much as you can stand to listen to about our farm partners and their stories of quality improvement.  Without transparency, we'd be taking credit for their work and that's not very barismo.

Education  We promise to share our brew methods, offer up classes, organize farmer events, and host cuppings.

Value  We believe that value is built on everything from how the coffee was processed and stored to roasted and brewed.  We will do our best to make the case for what makes good coffee and why we invested in the farms we did.  We don't roast anything dark (nothing goes into second crack) and we will continue to avoid obscuring the quality farms have worked so hard to create. 

Redefine the Regular Coffee  People want to drink good coffee.  We don't assume you want to drink bad coffee.  If you come in our doors, we know you came looking for more and we will do our best to provide that cup.  We want the chance to make your regular everyday cup something special.

While we admit we're on a mission for great coffee, it is a labor of love.  We do all this and more because we think it matters and we hope you agree.  Sure, we might not be willing to compromise, but in the end, we hope you will see and appreciate the effort from seed to your cup.  We want you to enjoy the coffee while we say thank you for the support over the years.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Coffee tree tap handles!

Keep it local Camberville, MA: barismo's founder, Jaime van Schyndel gives a run down on some cool new tap handles at dwelltime.

Coldbrew on tap is the new big thing right now.  Cafes, offices, and restaurants are picking this as a new option for quick serve coffee.  There are pre-designed 'javarator' setups you can buy and even a reddit section dedicated to the kegging of iced coffee setups.  This is the next big thing in coffee!  

To celebrate the last two years of serving coldbrew on tap at dwelltime, I came up with a fun idea back in the spring:

While visiting El Bosque de Parramos in Guatemala this spring, I picked up a section of a coffee tree stump from a plot of the farm that had older plantings.  This was one of 5 branches coming off the main stump and was still alive.  Avelino himself cut the stump off and chose this particular piece of wood.

I brought the wood back and left it with our friends and Somerville neighbors at DGF.  After some curing and resting time, the wood was cut into three sections, sanded and prepped as tap handles for a kegged coldbrew setup.

One of the cool aspects of this old stump is that is was right along the pathway.  It has several scars along it's backside that came over the years.  Over time, different farm workers would sit roadside and have their lunch.  They would invariably leave their machete in the closest stump, to which this little tree was the victim a few times.  Kind of cool to think about how over the years, the scars tell a story.  

Coffee wood grows fast and is typically not good quality.  The older varietals that are less dwarfed can get to 20ft tall and this is the type of heirloom bourbon we ended up sawing off to make our handles.  This particular stump may have had 20 years on this branch to get to this size.  It's color is a bit like poplar but it has a slight tint of green to the bark and wood.  Needless to say, I am excited to see how it ages and colors with time.

While we can't guarantee coffee wood tap handles for your setup, we can help you with a no fuss install and consistent quality product if you are in the Boston/Cambridge area.  If you are interested in serving
 coldbrew on tap locally or having this in your office, let us know.  We have been refining the process and have a separate division dedicated to expanding this.  We already have offices and clients across the spectrum setup for coldbrew coffee and tea on tap but are looking for some exciting new places to get this concept into while it's still hot outside.