company - education - coffee

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Origin Week: following from seed to cup

Do not miss out on the final leg of our journey as we feature the following folks on Thursday and Friday at Dwelltime. Be sure to pick up your tickets for these events to reserve your spot!

For those of you who had a chance to make it to the first two events of Origin Week, you had the rare opportunity to literally shake the hands that planted your coffee. This is the first step in a long chain of actors who work to bring you the coffee you enjoy each day.

On Tuesday, we heard from Gustavo Alfaro owner of Hacienda Santa Rosa talking about his long term approach to raising the level of quality as a way to sustain the farm economically. Adding value he argues is the only way to stay ahead of rising wages and other changing social factors. Gustavo says he was lucky enough to come into managing the farm at a time when specialty coffee was offering him this window of opportunity, a market for higher quality coffee sold at higher prices.

On Wednesday we had a chance to hear from Luis Pedro from Bella Vista Mill. Luis operates a quality mill in Guatemala which give him the opportunity to interact with hundreds of small farmers from the local area. With his background in Agronomy and his interest in the specialty market, Luis has the ability to impart to other farmers the great opportunity that they have with the specialty coffee market when there is a focus on improving quality. Luis happens to manage one of the farms that barismo customers have really come to love, El Bosque. Luis was able to share with those who made it to the event the improvements in quality that have taken place over the last few years at El Bosque and some of the changes to come.

One of our attendees said she has been telling all of her friends that this is Coffee University week! Another attendee on Tuesday noted the linear line up of events as well. We started Origin Week with a farm owner (Gustavo), then moved on to a mill owner / farm manager (Luis), the next events feature exporters from Costa Rica and Colombia as well as an Importer. Finally on Friday we take on the big picture event: the intersection of specialty coffee and large markets with our guests from GeoCertify and the Ethiopia Commodity Exchange.

Don't miss your change to catch the rest of the highly educational and engaging Origin Week with barismo! Get your free tickets now:

Sunday, April 07, 2013

Guatemala Producers, Tuesday and Wednesday

The first guests that we will have for Origin Week are from Guatemala. Gustavo Alfaro will be at dwelltime on Tuesday, and Luis Pedro will be at Simon's Too on Wednesday. Reserve your free tickets now!

When I first met Gustavo Alfaro I remember that he was very engaging and soon we had arranged a visit to his farm Hacienda Santa Rosa Alfaro. I spent a good amount of time walking the farm and hiking up to the highest lot where the Buena Esperanza grows at 1,900 meters elevation. I learned quickly that Gustavo was interested in making long term investments into the farm to improve coffee quality, quality of life for workers, and over all presentation of Hacienda Santa Rosa Alfaro. During that visit, I was able to meet the artist Rudy Cotton who was visiting the farm to find inspiration for the mural that he is commissioned to complete in one of the main buildings at HSA for Gustavo. Rudy and Gustavo met as students at the University of Guatemala and have stayed friends over the years. This collaboration is an example of the vision that Gustavo has for his farm. Other farmers ask him why he would spend any effort putting art on his farm, Gustavo wants to inspire pride into his workers and make a good impression on those who visit his farm. You will hear from Gustavo about this mural project and about this year's HSA coffees when you attend the first Origin Week event this Tuesday, April 9th, 6-8pm at Voltage Coffee & Art. Reserve your free ticket here.

Barismo has worked with Luis Pedro for about as long as we have been roasting. I had the opportunity to Visit Bella Vista Mill in Guatemala last year and see the shear amount of hard work that goes into the many farms and lots that Luis handles. Luis Pedro has been working tirelessly for years to impart to other producers in Guatemala that there is a market that puts a premium on quality grown, picked, and processed coffees. Luis now has an opportunity to connect a bit more with you the end customer to give you first hand information about these efforts. This is also a chance for so many of the baristas who work with coffees from Bella Vista to share their appreciation and give their feed back to Luis in this Direct Trade conversation. We like to explain Direct Trade as a transparent conversation about quality, it doesn't get any more transparent than this. Mark your calendars Wednesday April 10th, 5-7pm at Simon's Too. Reserve your free ticket here.

Saturday, April 06, 2013

Stay Fresh: Bicycles & Coffee

Jackie, our bike delivery person is excited about the weather finally warming up, and kudos to her for doing an awesome job through the winter! The other reason Jackie has to be excited is the new hot pink paint job on the bike, this makes it easier for everyone out there on the road to spot the barismo bike as it makes it way around town. This week the bags that have a cute sticker on them were roasted and delivered in the same day via the Barismo Bike. As always, you will find the roast date written prominently on the front of the retail bag. Where exactly did those coffees end up? Well, you can follow the freshness here on twitter to find out: @BarismoBike

The Coffee Trike in Dewey Sq.
In other exciting bike and coffee news, I had a chance to connect with San from The Coffee Trike . He has a nice setup brewing coffee from local roasters. His main coffee is Alchemy from George Howell and this week for Origin Week he will be guesting barismo's Peña Blanca single origin Espresso. The Peña Blanca is from Hacienda Santa Rosa Alfaro and you can meet Gustavo Alfaro owner of the farm twice this week. Tuesday at Voltage or Sunday at Clover. San is set up right in Dewey Square in downtown Boston along side the other food trucks just in front of the Red Line South Station T-stop. You will find The Coffee Trike in Boston on the Greenway Monday through Friday. Follow the coffee trike on twitter for any service and location updates: @TheCoffeeTrike

And some other bicycle news to get you ready for the spring (finally). Around Cambridge and Somerville it looks like they are putting the big community bicycle racks back in place, time to put away your winter coats and tune up your bicycle! If you do not have your own bike or you happen to be in town visiting for the SCAA conference, don't worry, you can explore the town with a Hubway Bike. If you are not familiar with how this works, it is an easy point-to-point bicycle rental. The bicycles have begun to show up in their familiar spots around the Greater Boston area (Cambridge/Somerville included). You can check out their website for more info and complete map of where the bicycle docking stations are located.

Being such a big part of the Cambridge coffee community as a local roaster we know that sustainability is important to our customers. We also know that sustainability requires dedication at every step along the entire life cycle (no pun intended) of a product, coffee is no exception. At barismo, 90% of the coffees we sell are delivered to local cafes via bicycle. The final step in a process is just as crucial as the first step and every step in between. Origin Week shows customers the first step, local roasting and local bicycle delivery is about taking that same sense of responsibility all the way through to the last step.

If your neighborhood coffee shop serves quality local milk and fresh baked goods but fails to find a quality local roaster then maybe your community needs more quality micro roasters. We love serving an authentic product to our community, that is one of the biggest reasons we are sharing Origin Week with the people who enjoy these coffees 365 days a year. If you are visiting this week we welcome you and hope you have a chance to sample what the areas local coffee scene is all about. Whatever community you are apart of take a look around you and ask yourself how can your coffee scene be more authentic. The simple answer is to try harder, find a quality local roaster that you really enjoy, and maybe it means starting your own.

Tuesday, April 02, 2013

Stay local

This week is where we emphasize what local can do.  The bike delivery crew and the production team are getting sympatico. Now it's time to show it since the weather is supposed to be getting nicer.

This week we will be checking in at every stop along the way delivering coffees that have been roasted the same day by bike.  We might even check in at a few shops that don't stay local or fresh to show what it's like.  It's not an easy logistical feat but we can do it because so many shops who support us are local.

This is what local can do.

To mark this, every single bag that goes out this week will have a sticker with the same pink icon on it.  That is the home of our foursquare check-in page that allows you to track the freshest local deliveries.  Take a peak and don't forget to share the road!