August 2015 Subscription Letter

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One of the most important factors of a successful roaster is coffee sourcing. A roaster’s goal is to optimize a coffee’s flavor, but a roaster cannot impart flavors which are not inherent in the bean. To put it another way, a roaster can make a good coffee great, but can’t make a bad coffee good. Our first challenge in delivering exceptional coffee is sourcing.

Relationships, knowledge, and an open mind are required in coffee sourcing. Relationships and knowledge are obvious. Establishing relationships and maintaining an open dialogue with importers and farmers to gain insight and find the best coffees is imperative. Knowing how coffee varieties, processing methods and regions affect the cup is super important and helps us to focus our search. We also believe it is important to keep an open mind. Coffee variety, processing method, region and climate are all leading indicators, but the truth is in the cup. This is why we sample roast coffee prior to committing a coffee to production roasting.

Our sample roaster, also known as Junior, is sized and configured to handle very small batches of coffee. We roast 120g per batch and two batches per sample. Our goal in sample roasting is to experience the coffee free of any major roasting influences, therefore we sample roast light to medium.

This month we have included a sample roasted coffee. Some of the coffees we sampled were very good, but did not fit in our production schedule. Others simply sold out too quickly for us to buy from our importers! For example, we received quite a few great Guatemalan coffees just after we purchased a Guatemala for the season. (We still love our Guatemala. It has been a star!) Please enjoy our little sneak peek into the world of coffee importing.