Last Wednesday we were invited by PUMICE in Hamilton to hold a coffee tasting workshop with members of their popular PUMICE Foodies Club.
A great group of coffee enthusiaists came along to broaden their coffee minds beyond espresso, and get a behind the scenes look at what us coffee professionals go through to select and purchase our green coffees.
Thanks to David, Ryan and Leigh for hosting us at the iconic PUMICE Restaurant, Cafe and Deli, and all those attended.
Thanks also to Vicki from NOURISH Magazine for taking some great photos of the cupping - check out nourishmagazine.co.nz for Vicki's blog about her introduction to cupping coffee.
The road trip to (or from) Hamilton is full iconic views and Ozone coffee along the way...grab a coffee and a whitebait sandwich at River Run, Mokau and take in the sights.
Fat Pigeon Cafe in Piopio has a great backyard, awesome people, a lush menu and the mighty Fair Trade blend
Stop in at Carroll St Bistro for a Empire blend coffee in Te Kuiti....Ryan was telling me about the French wine night coming up when I called in Monday....will be a great night!
The beautiful HARIO TCA coffee syphon is back in stock people...and now available in 2 cup and 5 cup models
We now have available these quirky little coffee journals.
It’s tough to hold a notepad in one hand, a pencil in the other, and have another hand left for your cup. Taking notes with 33 Coffees is as simple as checking a few boxes and entering a few basic facts.
33 Coffees is made with 100% recycled papers and all sorts of really earth friendly inks, and each also has a little actual coffee in the brown inks used. Neat!
Huge thanks and respect to all that attended our special cupping this week of Costa Rica samples from exporter Exclusive Coffees in San Jose.
New Plymouth served up its most wintery night so far , but this did not deter our Bean Store friends and some of the great Cafes we supply cupping 15 coffees from 3 different regions of Costa Rica.....and their definitely were some favourites amongst them. The table of coffees form the West Valley region proved really popular, with the cup level getting pretty low on some.....a great sign of a quality coffee!
We are hosting another of our popular cupping sessions on June 29th (5.30pm - 7pm) focusing on Costa Rica and its stunning growing regions....and we promise a very full table of coffees. Register with Paul or Jeremy now at 6 7575404.
William from our dispatch dept here at Ozone is playing for Tonga in the Churchill Cup International Rugby Tournament, held in England....first game 5.30pm our time tonight against the USA...try time Will ! try time!
CUP OF EXCELLENCE COSTA RICA 2011 TRIP REPORT
by Paul Newbold, Roaster
My Cup of Excellence experience last year in Guatemala truly hooked me on traveling to origin and cupping some of the best coffees of the new harvests. Recently in May this year I was again, privileged to be accepted to participate on the International jury, this time in Costa Rica.
There wasn’t a COE in Costa Rica last year so I was keen to participate in Costa Rica’s return to COE and learn more about this famous coffee producing origin and its stunning coffee.
The cupping schedule at COE is always full and this year was no exception with 55 coffees making it through the selection process and a week of cupping (tasting) by an expert panel of Costa Rican cuppers to the final stage.
My first day was spent looking around the historic part of San Jose (Costa Rica’s capital), meeting the other 20 cuppers from as far away as Japan, the UK, the USA, Russia and the Oceanic contingent of 4 other cuppers from Australia and NZ….and to recover from the 30+ hours of flights and transit time….knowing that we had a full schedule ahead of cupping the next 5 days.
All in all we had 15 sessions and tasted, evaluated and scored just over 130 cups. Day 4 alone was an epic day, as we still had 42 coffees left in the competition. That meant 8 hours of cupping sessions and deliberation.
The final day of cupping is always designated to cupping the ‘top ten’ coffees from the weeks competition….these are coffees that have shone throughout the week, constantly scoring well over the 84 points needed. In this cupping session we can focus on, not only the quality of these stellar coffees, but the flavours and aromas of these coffees that make them among the best of the 2011 harvest.
After the top ten cupping, we get all dressed up nice and respectable and travel to the venue for the awards ceremony. Prior to the awards I had the privilege of meeting with all the farmers and producers who have entered and made it through to the International cupping week.
It was a great time communicating to the farmers how we had enjoyed their great coffees throughout the weeks cupping, coffees they are immensely proud of and passionate about.
If the atmosphere wasn’t charged with excitement enough with the farmers anxious to know if their coffees had performed and the regular afternoon thunder and lightning, we experienced an magnitude 6 earthquake that had us exiting the building for safety….common place in Costa Rica we were told….the locals say they are worried more when they have not had one for a while.
The last day of the Cup of Excellence is always "a celebration of coffee" as Susie Spindler, founder of the program says. It was a real privilege and honour to witness the announcement of the coffees awarded Cup of Excellence, 31 coffees this year in Costa Rica, and the reactions and emotion of the farmers, their families and their neighboring farms as the awards were handed out.
MANUEL ANTONIO BARRANTES
FARM: DON LEONSIO, HERBAZU ESTATE, NARANJO REGION
#2 2011 CUP OF EXCELLENCE
What adds real richness to the Cup of Excellence experience is opportunities we get to visit farms and other sectors of the coffee industry in the host country.
I visited CICAFE, a coffee research facility close to the capital in the central growing area of San Pedro de Barva, Barva been the name of the volcano we were practically on the side of. CICAFE is a substantial area and stunningly beautiful piece of land dedicated to research and development in all aspects of the breeding, growing, harvesting and processing of quality Costa Rican coffee.
Our hosts, ICAFE, the Costa Rican Coffee Institute also arranged a visit to the very recognized coffee farm owned by the Barrantes family for 80 years. A stunning farm and micro-mill, Herbazu Estate is located in the West Valley in a region called Naranjo, Alajuela in the West Valley growing region... the same region our Costa Rican offering Cafe Sin Limites hails from (these farms are literally neighbours).
Here, the C.O.E jury experienced a stunning and pioneering farm situated 1600m above sea level, and some true Costa Rican hospitality with coffee from the estate, traditional food and their children dressed in national costume to greet us. A very special coffee family and farm!
We were also hosted by 2 innovative, boutique exporters and micro-mill operators, DeliCafe and EXCLUSIVE Coffees who showed us some great Costa Rica hospitality hosting us for dinner and at EXCLUSIVE Coffee, a tour of their facility which specializes in the dry mill stage of high-quality micro-lot coffees, such as Herbazu Estate and café Sin Limites.
The VOLCAFE Benificio (proceesing mill) at San Diego was our last tour. A massive plant and 1 of 5 VOLCAFE has in Costa Rica, this plant processed 150,000 bags last harvest. Even at this mill of considerable size, they are dedicating money and resources to research and innovate at this important part of obtaining quality green coffee. Just when we thought we had finished cupping, they hosted an impromptu cupping with jurors cupping alongside farmers.
VOLCAFE PROCESSING PLANT, SAN DIEGO, COSTA RICA
What I saw, heard and experienced in Costa Rica was a world famous coffee producing nation, very proud of their coffee history, but not resting on these laurels, researching and pursuing quality and innovation so their coffee continues its great name around the world amongst roasters and coffee drinkers.
It may have been years ago since farmers had the money on hand (due to the healthy coffee market) to re-invest, learn and make their farms even better equipped. With the support and innovation of the local coffee institute and the facilities I visited, it seems Costa Rica is in good stead and has the people passionate to see the coffee industry lift the bar, become even better coffee businesses, even better farms, and maybe mill themselves and take control.
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