company - education - coffee

Thursday, April 22, 2010

A barismo coffee update

The great thing about this time of year is the expectations of new coffees coming in. For us at barismo, it is a really big moment because we are making some major commitments to expand our coffee lineup and develop deeper connections and relationships in the coffee producing countries we focus on. We will provide some interesting trip details of our travels this year as new coffees come in but it's been a transitional point with some big changes expected over the next few months.

Looking at the growth we have gone through and where we are at, it made a lot of sense for us to stop, reorganize, and then consolidate a lot of what we are doing with our coffee purchasing. A change in structure, hiring a green buyer, and then investing in travel time and finally looking at what made the most sense to increase the quality of our lineup were key points. A lot of that centers around a few key farms but I'll save that information for when those coffees actually arrive.

When Hong and I founded the company, our goal was a cafe and roasting was definitely an afterthought. It was after that original concept became less of an option that we recruited other investors and opened the roasting outfit where a coffee bar played the secondary role and things then got more interesting. Over the first year, we went through a lot of tumultuous ups and downs that came from a big struggle over the direction of the company. After some rearrangements internally, new characters arrived to add color to the mix and we found some supportive representation locally. Since then, we have grown a lot and struggled to keep up over the last half year. It's not an easy business to be in, even when you are growing but our local relationships and amazing staff have really helped us through this rough time.

Right now, the problems are more simple. Where are we going to put all this coffee that's on the way? ... and boy do we need a little vacation! The exciting part is seeing the investments made last year turn into relationships and as of right now, we are spending a lot of time thinking about how to move forward with them through next year. A bit too early for that kind of thinking but with all the great coffee we arranged, there are still other coffees we could not get but look forward to possibly making a relationship with next year.

We are trying to be aggressive but also sensible. It means we are making larger commitments to only a handful of producing countries in an attempt to get the most efficient usage of our consolidated volumes. While that means our new menu will have several excellent farms from places like Guatemala, it also means we will not carry a wide range of origins outside of the handful we are investing in.

A lot of exciting things are happening but it's also a lot of hard work right now and in front of us. We look forward to sharing the new coffees with you as they come in!