Just as the sun was beginning to rise on Thursday, Winter Storm Q (as the Weather Channel likes to call it) came roaring into town. In the two hours between 6:30am and 8:30am, Topeka received 7 inches of snow and it continued to snow for several more hours, leaving us blanketed under nearly a foot… Continue Reading
Trip Report – Guatemala, Part 1
Note from the author:
Just for the record I thought about calling this report: Friends, Fungus and a (starts with the letter F) good time! I thought it would better describe the trip but might not get past the PT’s company censors.
Anyway, here’s the report:
Until recently, I was sure that one of the best parts of my job was getting to travel to origin, visiting our Direct Trade partner farms, and telling our customers about the experience. I was very, very wrong.
Let me clarify. Traveling to origin is obviously great, but telling our customers about what it’s like at the coffee farms isn’t even in the same ballpark as the experience of taking our customers to origin.
Now, let me start by telling you who went to Guatemala with me (in the order of arrival to my house):
Tom Billionis, a good friend, amazing guy, and the owner of one of the finest cafes in the Midwest; the Coffee Ethic in Springfield, MO. I dare you to meet Tom and not like him. I double, triple dog dare you. He’s been a PT’s customer since the day his cafe opened (five years ago) and actually went with Jeff and few others to El Salvador a couple of years ago. He was excited for the chance to meet our Guatemalan coffee producers, and we were happy to have him along for the trip.
Second to arrive (perhaps only because of a poorly timed flat tire), was our own Brent Piepergerdes. Brent has been with PT’s for a while but has recently taken on the position of Finance Director here at PT’s and is a fantastic member of our team. I’m excited about the work that Brent does and thought it was awesome that he was coming along for his first origin trip. Brent is well traveled and knowledgeable about areas outside the US (he holds a Phd in Geography), but coffee farms were going to be a new experience for him.
Last, but certainly not least, is a guy that never showed up at my house at all (probably because we scheduled to meet him in Houston), Kevin Kerkoff. Kevin is the general manager for a massive operation on the campus of Purdue University known as Greyhouse Coffee. Greyhouse is a ministry based cafe that specializes in having great coffee, making delicious crepes, and being the nicest people on the planet. Kevin is a trained chef, a husband, and father to three (soon to be four) kids. Wait…I hope I’m allowed to tell people that now (sorry if it’s still a secret Kev). The good news is most people have already stopped reading this by now!
That’s our team! I hope you enjoyed the introductions. In my next post, we will look at what we actually did in Guatemala. I’ll give you a little teaser: there’s a nail biter of a flight, four grown men start finger counting to figure out the currency exchange, and we hitch a ride with one of the most celebrated coffee farmers in the world.
We are proud to announce that we will be co-hosting the North Central & South Central Regional Barista Competitions with Kaldi’s Coffee. The United States Barista competition was established in 2003 and is highly regarded in the specialty coffee industry. Each competitor is challenged by giving a 15-minute presentation where they must prepare 4 espressos,… Continue Reading
As the year comes to a close, we would like to take this time to look back and reflect on our accomplishments. 2012 was an exciting year for us that brought forth change and innovation. Our sourcing efforts were also immensley successful and we were able to introduce multiple new Direct Trade coffees. Needless to… Continue Reading
Several months ago I was approached by Jason Dominy from Batdorf & Bronson Coffee Roasters about participating in a locally organized TedTalk event in Atlanta, Georgia. He said that there would be ten other baristas from around the United States helping talk to people about Direct Trade, sustainable farming practices, various brew methods, and the… Continue Reading
Well, the inaugural Flatlanders’ Barista Cup is in the books now and all of us are exhausted, but feeling pretty good! From what I saw, everyone had a great time, and learned a TON about espresso and some of our very close Direct Trade Farms. The presentations were awesome and far beyond what I think… Continue Reading
The inaugural Flatlanders Barista Cup begins on Friday night. Over the next few days, producers and baristas alike will converge in Topeka, Kansas to celebrate coffee and competition. Below is a detailed Schedule of Events for this weekend Friday – October 26th 6pm (Cafe) – Competitor Check-In 7pm – Guest Baristas 2011 World Barista Champion Alejandro… Continue Reading
We are proud to announce that our Caturra offering from Finca Villa Loyola has received a 94 point review from Ken Davids of CoffeeReview.com. When we visited Finca Villa Loyola during the harvest of 2011, we could clearly see the potential in the farm. With its high elevation of 1,800 meters (or 6,000 ft.) and… Continue Reading
This article was republished with the permission of Dan Dean, Staff Writer for Observer & Eccentric Newspapers. Jeff Taylor’s journey to find exceptional coffee has taken him across the globe and along the way he has met some exceptional people, none more so than his wife, Maritza. “I met Maritza at a coffee competition in Ecuador… Continue Reading
We are happy to announce our newest Direct Trade partnership with Juan Yurja in Bolivia. When we were first introduced to this farm in 2011, it was an interesting coincedence. There was a micro-lot that had been originally prepared for the Bolivia Cup of Excellence, and the competition had been cancelled last year. We were in… Continue Reading