2016 El Salvador Coffee Sourcing Trip Part 2 of 2 By Nick Berardi Anny Ruth Pimentel’s farm, Finca Loma la Gloria, is fast becoming a favorite of ours here at Bird Rock Coffee Roasters. After we scored a 94 on coffeereview.com in June of 2015 with a Red Honeyed Pacamara, Anny Ruth came to San Diego in August 2015 to intern at Bird Rock Coffee Roasters. In February, it was our turn to travel. Co-worker, Nikki and I flew down to San Salvador and headed to the farm and mill for an immersion into all things Finca Loma la Gloria. Unfortunately, Anny Ruth was not able to be there herself, but everyone we did meet was amazing. Our host and translator was Anna Gabriella del Pilar De Leon Zamora, and Gabby has a wealth of experience in the industry. She shared with us some of the knowledge she has gained …
In early March, our head roaster, Heather, and two employees from our retail store fronts, Lindsay and MJ, followed up on the February visit by Nikki and Nick. Not only did they distribute more Eco-Stoves but they also visited our exporter, JASAL, and cupped coffees all day. Here are their stories:
Anny picked us up from JASAL around 12:30. We sat down for lunch with Andres our host at JASAL before our departure. The drive ahead to Loma La Gloria was around and hour and a half. We were leaving one volcano for another.
After a day of travel, before we knew it, we arrived in the dark of night to the San Salvador Airport. The air felt humid and tropical. We couldn’t see anything but the shadows of the trees and twinkling lights of the city as we were whisked away by taxi to Anny’s.
53 Cuppings of Coffee. Or The ‘Perks’ of a Single Day in El Salvador. How to describe the impact, after working mostly in coffee sales for Bird Rock Coffee Roasters for the last almost 10 years, to be at origin to experience some of our finest coffees in El Salvador? Impossible task! But let me attempt to as best I can.
Bird Rock Coffee Roasters cafe manager, Nikki, visits coffee farm on her first coffee sourcing trip.
Three roasters came up with an idea for how to leverage souring methodologies to have a greater impact on farming communities.
This year’s Cup of Excellence event was hosted in San Jose, Costa Rica which is located on the edge of the West Valley region known for producing high quality specialty coffee lots.
Guatemala Ho! My 8th sourcing trip to Guatemala was also my quickest to that country – two days on the ground; not as quick as my one-day-on-the-ground trip to El Salvador in January but pretty darn quick none-the-less. Why so quick?
Uganda and Kenya Sourcing Trip 2015 For my fourth sourcing trip to Africa, I was invited to join a coffee-buying group sponsored by the Uganda Coffee Authority with the goal of promoting specialty coffee of Uganda. Our hosts, Crop to Cup Coffee, an east coast importer, had the task of organizing the trip ad keeping things on schedule.
Chuck starts 2015 off with a trip to El Salvador, in search of exceptional coffee.
Our early Fall trip to Bolivia and Peru was a fast one, only 4 nights and 5 days. We accomplished a lot, and made it back in time to ensure an on time opening of our new retail cafe in Little Italy, San Diego.
Bird Rock Coffee Roasters’ info graphic explains the key differences between fair trade and direct trade coffee to help educate consumers, roasters and farmers about the differences and benefits of a direct trade model over the widely used fair trade practice.
Bird Rock Coffee Roasters sources most of their green beans at origin and often works directly with the people who grow it. The concept of Direct Trade though is often misunderstood by consumers and sometimes mis-used by roasters.
We’ve been recounting our direct trade coffee sourcing trips on our blog as well as in social media. Barista Magazine caught wind of what we were doing and asked if we would write an article for their magazine. The article turned into a two part series that you can enjoy right now.
I don’t think anyone in coffee can discuss or write about Central America this year without mentioned the tragic impact Roya has had on the region; most counties’ volume is down at least 30% from last year and with the exception of Nicaragua, no country has been as severally impacted by Roya than El Salvador.
For our third African sourcing trip, we partnered with our friends at Temple, Klatch and Portola for a trip to Ethiopia and Kenya, two coffee origins that we count on for a lot of coffee.
In January of 2014, Jocylynn Breeland represented Bird Rock Coffee Roasters as part of the international judging team for Cup of Excellence’s Brazilian Competition. Here is her summary of this exciting event.
The other day I saw another roaster post something on their Facebook about their new “direct trade” coffee from Ethiopia. I knew this was not what we – or many other roasters that source at origin — would call “Direct Trade.”
So why do it? Why source coffee at origin when all one really has to do is pick up the phone and call one of the many green brokers who do all this hard stuff for you?
I have been traveling to Colombia since 2008. Each time I am there, I am amazed at how big and influential the FNC actually is. Colombia is one of the few coffee-growing countries with a massive NGO that is working to promote coffee as a viable export.
Jocylynn Breeland, General Manager at Bird Rock Coffee Roasters. This is Jocylynn’s third trip to origin and this trip was our first participating in the Cup of Excellence.
Bird Rock Coffee Roasters has been committed to direct trade coffee and sourcing at origin since its very early days.
Collaboration can lead to great things. In this case, we worked with Portola and Klatch to plan a three-country South American sourcing trip, with each of us using our connections and leads in the countries.
The day after arriving in Guatemala, Genaro from Servex and Fernando from our long-time Direct Trade partner, Finca Santa Ana, picked me up and we began the two-hour drive to the Santa Rosa region, which is east of Guatemala City.
This is the story of how one man’s pursuit of the perfect cup of coffee catapulted a small surf town to the top of the coffee world.
Coffee and wine? Yes! Both are craft beverages that take time and dedication to ensure the perfect cup (glass).
Watch the interview with Chuck Patton, owner Bird Rock Coffee Roasters, about his horrifying monkey attack at coffee origin.
The long haul to Kenya from the west coast of the United States made me really appreciate the short hops to Central America. Man, 28 hours of travel time is taxing! But once I landed, I was ready to go, and excited about the possibility of finding some special lots from one of my favorite coffee origin countries.
Heather goes to Nicaragua on her first coffee sourcing trip to find new Direct Trade relationships and special micro-lots.
On my third trip to Bolivia, things did not start out as planned. A missed connection in Dallas meant I would miss my overnight flight to La Paz, Bolivia from Miami — and lead to an entire lost day on the ground sourcing, not good when you only have 5 days total source coffee.
While we have established Direct Trade relationships in Guatemala and Nicaragua, before this trip we had not investigated opportunities in El Salvador or Honduras.
Touching down in Bolivia is always a little disorienting…never easy to get there from San Diego and with the elevation at La Paz at almost 12000 feet, the altitude sickness usually hits you while you are in the customs line — a headache and slight dizziness until your first cup of coca tea at the hotel.
To do well in Guatemala’s Cup of Excellence is a serious achievement considering how well-established the coffee industry is in that country, to win it, consistently, year after year, tells you something about El Injerto.
BRCR is rolling in new arrivals at the moment. A beautiful lot from Jose Mayo, the same farmer from Ecuador whose coffee we brought in last year, is now available.