In July I went to Colombia to attend an agricultural Fair in Huila. I was there for the cupping competition primarily but it was an event much larger than that, celebrating Huila, the best region in Colombia for quality coffee over the last ten years. This was a weekend event filled with seeds, machetes, fertilizer, tools, manufacturers of everything coffee, parties, speeches, presentations and of course, Salsa, and not the kind we put on nachos. They have a drink called Aguardiente, a minty rum kind of thing that is great for dancing but headache central in the morning.
For many of us though the pinnacle event was the cupping competition, "The Best of Huila". Southern Colombia is a region of small landholders with an average of about 3 hectares. With 5,000 trees per hectare and rough estimate of each tree producing one pound of exportable quality coffee, each producer was delivering approximately what equates to10 bags of coffee to the competition. Ninety Two producers entered lots that were cupped over the week and narrowed down to about 40 lots which were cupped again on the last two days, and finally, a cupping of the top 25. This is a format very similar to cup of excellence and guarantees that you get to see great coffees again and again and also reconsider something that other cuppers liked and perhaps you missed. Most of the cuppers were Colombian Nationals from all over the country with the addition of one Spaniard an Australian fellow and myself. The advent of CQI and Q cupper certification at origin makes events like this a lot simpler with easy calibration and similar verbiage when it comes to describing top quality coffee characteristics.
The auction process was not formal or structured so I simply made a good offer on the fifteen coffees that I liked offering a major premium for the coffees above 90 points and slightly less for those between 88 and 90. There were other offers, a counter offer from the Cooperative and then again on our side and I might have made some frenemies but we strive to pay a fair price to producers who do good work. In the end there was a ceremony at the event. Awards for top producers and now we have 15 some of the best coffees from the Huila June/July harvest on the water.
Coffee came to Peru in the mid 1700s and was most likely introduced by Dutch immigrants. The Dutch brought the Typica variety which still dominates especially amongst the older farms and micro-farms. The first coffee plantings were in Chinchao, Huanuco in Selva Central and disseminated from there to the Northern (Cajamarca) and Southern (Cusco and Puno) regions of the country. Peru had its first coffee shop in 1771 in Lima and started exporting coffee in 1887.
Peru is a country which has great potential but for particular reasons it is extremely hard to find 87+ coffee landed in consuming countries. The potential is there: the country is the 8th largest producer of coffee in the world, has plenty of farms at and above 1600 and 1800 meters, and has predominantly Typica and Bourbon varieties; all of these conditions should give us, in theory, 88 - 90+ coffee. But this is not the case, high-end coffee out of Peru is very scarce due to the challenges they face. Most farmers own a couple of hectares only and are in remote areas. Many times their farms are 4 hours by foot from the nearest town and the town could be 8 hours by truck from the nearest port. This means coffee can sit at the farm unnecessarily for extended periods of time after it is dried. During the drying season climate conditions tend to be very humid with precipitation. Without proper storage, such as GrainPro, coffee will gain moisture and destabilize cup-quality.
CENFROCAFE is one of the strongest cooperatives in Peru, both in terms of volume and quality. They have programs in place to increase production through organic fertilization also keeping plants healthy which is extremely helpful during coffee leaf rust outbreaks. CENFROCAFE produces about 120,000 quintales (1 quintal = 100 lbs) of coffee per year being one of the leading cooperatives in the country in volume. The average production per hectare is about 22 quintales which is high for organic production around the world. CENFRO recommends its producers to fertilize with Guano de Isla, phosphore ore, and Ulexite to achieve these yields.
In terms of quality, CENFROCAFE is one of the top exporters in Peru as well. They have placed in the top places in national competitions having a big potential for microlots and excellent delivery and consistent full containers. Starting this year (2013) we will be offering microlots to complement the APU full containers.
Prior to this harvest I had cupped delicious 90+ coffees from Southern Ecuador but nothing above 86+ from Northern Peru and the coffee growing regions are right next to each other with extremely similar conditions. CENFRO's producers have heirloom Typica and Bourbon varieties with altitudes of 1600+ and 1800+. We are extremely happy with the quality of the microlots we bought this year and will continue to expand this volume as the harvests keep coming in.
We have just completed nearly 6 weeks of cupping Colombian offers from the June-July harvest which comes primarily from the South (see map below) of the country; both Principal harvests and Mitaca (fly) crops and we have some really great coffees coming.
These coffees include: A new FTO group from Cauca, some outstanding micro-lots from a competition in Huila, some ACES contenders from Banexport in Popayan, and a new program that we are really excited about called "Regional Select Project".
For the fun of it, last week I took the data from the last nine years of COE competitions in Colombia and sorted it by region to see where the top coffees from the competition have been coming from.
Valle del Cauca
This data supports the "Regional Select Project" we are creating in Colombia. This project aims to highlight the special unique profiles we have found are somewhat inherent in specific microregions within Colombia due to microclimate, processing legacy, variety, and overall terroir. The regions we will begin highlighting to start are Huila, Narino, Cauca and Tolima.
Remember that the average Colombian farmer has only about 3 hectares of coffee that might produce 60 bags of exportable quality coffee. So, as the harvest season progresses, they might make 3 -4 trips to town bringing 10-15 bags of coffee. Those receipts are cupped in the regional lab of Banexport and set aside for us if they are top quality and pass the strict standards we have in place. We then cup the coffees here in Minneapolis and set aside everything above 86 points. We will recup them again to sort out the coffees above 90 points for our ACES program and keep the 86-88 coffees together by community for our new "Regional Select Project".
We are obviously paying a premium for anything above 86 and a lot more for coffees above 90 points with the idea that quality coffee takes more time and effort and is worth more to all of us.
Increase the quality of life for those involved--from tree to cup--through the commerce of coffee.
Decrease our negative impact on the earth through responsible and proactive business practices.
Share our passion for great coffee through education and example.
|Introducing: Pallet Rates for the Entire Lower 48 States!|
We are proud to announce that we have successfully negotiated pallet rates to every geographic region in the United States (except Hawaii and Alaska) for orders of full pallet (10+ bag) increments!
This is a huge achievement for our traffic department, and our hats come off to them for making this happen.
Now, no matter where you live, you can enjoy these rates and have the widest selection of coffee possible from our Minnesota warehouse.
S/SE US Region: 10 cents per lb!
OK, TX, AR, LA, MS, TN, KY, WV, VA, NC, SC, GA, AL, and FL
MTN/NW US Region: 10 cents per lb!
MT, WY, CO, WA, and OR
SW US Region: 15 cents per lb!
CA, NV, ID, UT, AZ, NM
NE US Region: 15 cents per lb!
ME, VT, NH, MA, CT, NJ, DE, MD, PA, NY
The Midwest Region:
ND, SD, NE, KS, MN, IA, MO, WI, IL, IN, MI, and OH
You will continue to get the same aggressive pallet rates you have gotten the past several years
Your total freight cost with these new pallet rates is calculated by:
Your total lbs * your region's rate + any accessorial charges (like lift gate or residential delivery).
For instance, a full pallet of 1323 lbs to TX with no additional accesorial charged would cost you $133 total!
*These rates are applied when shipping from our Minnesota warehouse and ordering in 10+ bag pallet increments and using our preferred carrier for your region
Contact your sales rep for more information on this program, or email firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more!
Café Imports is looking for a green coffee scout to travel to origin 6-8 months a year; finding coffees, cupping coffees, maintaining relationships, pre harvest visits, post-harvest visits, collecting coffee information, quality control at origin, and overall global coffee presence.
Can you cup, can you travel, can you be jet lagged and do the previous two? Do you speak: Spanish, Portuguese, Swahili, Aramaic, French, Indonesian languages, English? English and second language mandatory.
Are you concise, are you flexible, and are you self-motivated, responsible, caring, driven, but fair? Are you analytical and open to cross cultural analysis?
For this position, proficiency in basic photo editing and shooting skills, use of iphoto, aperture, and DSLR knowledge is a high want.
Basic knowledge of video editing with iMovie is desired along with some ability to use Final Cut Pro or similar video editing platform.
Please send C.V. to email@example.com
-The Green Buying Team
The big news is out there, the Big Central Regional Barista Competition is being held October 25th-27th 2013 at the historic "Uppercut Gym" in the Arts District of NE Minneapolis.
We couldn't think of a more epic location for the region that the current world barista champion calls home. Baristas competing with the backdrop of a boxing ring is going to be unbelievable.
In addition to the normal awesomeness that are regional barista competitions, we at Cafe Imports wanted to up the game for this major coffee event by incorporating some awesome companies that aren't specifically involved with coffee. We have local merchants that are leather makers, boutique shop owners selling Minnesota made Red Wing Boots and funky custom neon soles, and local furniture and home furnishing retailers that are selling some of the most beautiful and progressive heritage Minnesota goods you have ever seen. All of the companies involved embody not only what makes Minnesota awesome, but also what US manufacturing and "American Made" stand for and are capable of.
In addition to these local merchants, we also have secured Andrew Zimmern's (of the Travel Channel's "Bizarre Food") food truck, AZ Canteen. Andrew is a huge supporter of the coffee industry, and we couldn't be more pumped to have his level of culinary excellence providing the food for the event. Indeed Brewery will be providing beer for enjoyment during the event. Prepare yourselves for some amazing stuff.
So, you have now read this, you of course wouldn't miss this event for anything and you want to travel to Minneapolis for the weekend.
Here are some tips: Stay tuned to Sprudge for more guides to the Twin Cities.
*Some hotels that we list can be a bit pricey. However, various discount hotel finders can usually get you rooms at top rated hotels for amazing prices. Please reserve hotels ASAP, as the Green Bay Packers are playing the Vikings the weekend of Big Central.
Holiday Inn Express Roseville - This is the official hotel for the Big Central Regional Barista Competition and will feature special rates for anybody attending or competing. ** CLICK HERE to reserve through the agent Par Avion, as that is the only way to get their discounted rate.
Graves - Downtown Minneapolis, across from First Avenue and the Target Center
Nicollet Island Inn - Between Northeast and Downtown Minneapolis, on an island in the Mississippi River!
W Hotel - Located in the heart of downtown Minneapolis in the historic Foshay Tower
Marriott City Center - Downtown Minneapolis, close to the Theater District, Target Center and the Nicollet (pedestrian and transit) Mall
Radisson Plaza - Downtown Minneapolis, close to the Theater District, Target Center and the Nicollet (pedestrian and transit) Mall
Holiday Inn Express - Downtown Minneapolis, near the Convention Center
Hilton Minneapolis -Located in the heart of downtown Minneapolis, you will be close to everything
Hilton Garden Inn - Downtown Minneapolis, near the Convention Center
Hyatt Regency - Located at the end of the Nicollet pedestrian and transit mall in Downtown Minneapolis, this hotel has easy access to Loring Park, and also has a fitness center and pool.
The Marquette - Located in IDS Center in Downtown Minneapolis, this hotel is connected it all, via the Skyway system
The Depot Renaissance Minneapolis Hotel - Located in downtown Minneapolis, this hotel is just a few steps from the Mississippi River. The hotel also has a small indoor waterpark.
Ramada Plaza - Located near 35W on Industrial Blvd, the hotel is less than 10 minutes away from Uppercut Gym. You will need to drive to most attractions.
LeBlanc House B&B - Located just blocks from Uppercut Gym, the LeBlanc B&B is located the William LeBlanc Victorian home. This would be a very unique experience for visitors.
Courtyard Marriott - Conveniently located by the Metrodome and University of Minnesota, you will be one of the first guests to stay in this newly renovated hotel.
Radisson Waterpark of America - This is the hotel for the visitor that wants to be close to the Mall of America. It's a bit of a trek from Uppercut Gym, but there is a waterpark inside the hotel.
First Avenue & 7th St Entry - First Avenue, made famous by Prince and Purple Rain, is a must-see when visiting Minneapolis. Rolling Stone ranked it the #3 "Big Room" Venue in the US. Rolling Stone readers ranked it the 2nd best venue in America, period. Catch a large show in the mainroom, an up-and-coming or local act in the Entry, or dance the night away in the Record Room. Take some time to check out the stars on the outside. Many bands beg First Ave to paint their names on the wall, but only the greats pass the secretive selection process.
Triple Rock Social Club - First Avenue is not the only venue in town that has stolen the hearts of musicians. The Triple Rock, located in the eclectic Cedar-Riverside neighborhood, is owned by members of the Dillinger Four, and has been mentioned in songs by Motion City Soundtrack, Limbeck and Fat Wreck Chords. While many know the venue for its punk and metal roots, it hosts gigs of all types. The Triple Rock's bar serves up some pretty mean dishes too. Don't worry if you vegetarian or vegan, they've got you covered.
Varsity Theater - The Varsity is a relatively new venue in Minneapolis, but has become a real contender in the music business. Its location in the heart of Dinkytown (the University area hotspot and onetime home of Bob Dylan) provides a vibrant atmosphere for the space. Owner Jason McLean has transformed the interior of this former vaudeville showplace into one of the most unique and elegant venues around. It's a magical place to catch a concert, which explains why the venue is also a favorite spot to host weddings and corporate events.
Chain of Lakes - Find out why Minneapolis is the City of Lakes, buy checking out five of our state's 10,000 lakes! Brownie Lake, Cedar Lake, Lake of the Isles, Lake Calhoun and Lake Harriet are attached by 12 miles of walking and biking paths (IF YOU ARE A RUNNER OR BIKER, BRING YOUR GEAR FOR THE CHAIN OF LAKES). If you're in a car, have no fear! You can drive around the chain as well. As you travel around the lakes, you'll see breathtaking views of downtown and some of the most impressive homes in the city.
Minnehaha Falls - Located in Minnehaha Park, the sight not only causes one to laugh while saying the name, but it attracts over 850,000 visitors annually. The park is accessible by bike, foot or car. The path leading visitors to the 53-foot waterfall provides great photo ops, as it is lined by limestone and sandstone formations. Minnehaha Falls is perfect for hikers and photographers.
Loring Park - Loring Park, located just west of downtown Minneapolis, is one of the largest parks in the city. This park plays host to some of the city's biggest celebrations (including Pride) and has some great views of the city. There is a small lake, a series of walking and biking paths, shuffleboard courts, basketball courts, tennis courts and wonderful spots for picnicking. Occasionally you can even watch a cricket match. Be sure to check out the dandelion fountain, as you wander through this lush park. Recommendation: Take a stroll through Loring Park on your way to the Walker Art Museum and Sculpture Garden. There is a pedestrian bridge over 94 that connects Loring Park with the Sculpture Garden.
Stonearch Bridge - The Stonearch Bridge connects Downtown Minneapolis with the city's oldest Neighborhood, Marcy-Holmes. This is a pedestrian-only bridge and spans 2100 feet across the Mighty Mississippi. While crossing the bridge, take a moment to stop and enjoy the views of St. Anthony Falls. On windy days, visitors are able to take the Mississippi along with them, as the wind splashes the water of the falls onto bystanders. Bike or walk, just don't drive. If you're looking for a real adventure, detour down toward Mill Ruins Park or over to St. Anthony Main.
Mill City Museum and Ruins - The Mill City Museum is a great stop for visitors of all ages to learn about the history of our great city. The museum is built into the ruins of the old Washburn A Mill, which...well... we won't ruin the surprise. Visitors should start with the Flour Tour, an 8-story elevator ride that tells the history of the mill as you travel. The museum is great for those who like to move about at their own pace. Visitors can mill around the main exhibit area, which includes a baking lab, a history of Betty Crocker and a hands on demonstration of how river locks work (it's for kids, but what adult doesn't like to play in water?). Be sure to check out the 9th floor observatory, as well as comedian Kevin Kling's humorous 19-minute history of Minneapolis.
Guthrie Theater - Minneapolis has a truly rich theater scene. Top Broadway productions find their way to the Hennepin Theater District downtown. However, Minneapolis has its own contribution to the theater world, the Guthrie. You may think that Downtown has a very interestingly shaped IKEA, but don't be fooled, that's the Guthrie. Its Endless Bridge, is a 178-foot cantilevered bridge that looks out onto breathtaking views of the Mississippi River. The theater also serves as a training ground for actors, and has been a part of the careers of some of the greats, including William H. Macy, Kelsey Grammer, Val Kilmer, Julianne Moore, Sir Ian KcKellen and even Morgan Freeman. In addition to hosting world class productions, the Guthrie does public tours on Fridays and Saturdays starting at 10:00 AM. Whether you are catching a show or just roaming around, we highly recommend that you stop at Sea Change for a meal or a drink.
Mary Tyler Moore statue - The infamous Mary Tyler Moore show took place in our fair city. And how could we forget Mary throwing her hat up in the air (see link for this scene and others shot around the Mini Apple)? Visitors can recreate the scene alongside a bronzed Mary Tyler Moore in downtown Minneapolis. The statue is located in front of Macy's, on the corner of 7th Street and Nicolet Mall. Bring your beret and camera!
Foshay Tower - Modeled after the Washington Monument, Foshay Tower was the tallest building in Minneapolis until the 1970s. Wilbur Foshay dreamed this building up during his economic successes in the Roaring 20s, and completed the tower just before the stock market crash of 1929. It is now the home of the W Hotel. The observation deck is located on the 30th floor, and includes a small museum dedicated to the history of the building. The views are amazing! There is a bar on 27th floor called Prohibition. The drinks are pricey, but the views and atmosphere are worth the effort to get dolled up. John Philip Sousa even wrote and performed "Foshay Tower-Washington Memorial March" for the building's dedication ceremony!
Weisman Art Museum - The Weisman is located on the East Bank campus of the University of Minneapolis and overlooks the Mississippi River. The building itself is a work of art, having been designed by the legendary Frank Gehry. The museum has been used as a teaching museum for the U, and is host to some amazing contemporary exhibits. The best part? The Weisman is always FREE.
Walker Art Museum - This museum, with a building face of a robot alien, is located between Downtown and Uptown. It is considered one of the big five contemporary art museums in the US. The front of the museum boasts some impressive views of downtown (it also looks like an alien robot). The museum is home to a permanent outdoor exhibit - the Sculpture Garden. Take your photo in front of the famous cherry spoon, for the real Minneapolis tourist picture. The Walker museum is free on Thursday evenings from 5-9pm, and the Sculpture Garden is always free.
MIA - The Minneapolis Institute of Arts is one of our cities slightly hidden gems. The museum is located across from Washburn Fair Oaks park near Uptown. There is a great mix of traveling and permanent collections, including works from Rembrandt, van Gogh, Monet and Matisse. Most impressive is the time span of the museum's collection - 5,000 years of world history! MIA's galleries include a large collection of African art and "one of the finest and most comprehensive Asian art collections in the country". If you get tired, take a break in the Arts of Africa and the Americas gallery, and challenge your mates to a game of Mancala. Admission is free every day, while special exhibitions have a fee.
American Swedish Institute - Did you ever wonder why Minnesotans sound so Minnesoootan? The American Swedish Institute is a museum and cultural center that is dedicated to contemporary Swedish and Nordic culture and their role in our state's history. The building housing the ASI is reason enough to visit. The castle-like mansion was originally the home of a Swedish immigrant family. It's not all old news though. In 2012, the LEED Gold certified Nelson Cultural Center was opened as a 34,000 square foot addition, allowing the museum to exhibit more collections and offer spaces for partner organizations and a large studio and crafts workshop. Check out the Scandinavian goodies in the gift shop before you leave.
Soap Factory Haunted Basement - This is not your average haunted house. The Haunted Basement is set in a 120-year old basement and is so terrifying that you have sign a waiver to enter it. Don't let the $25 weekday/ $27 weekend ticket price scare you away. The month-long run is designed by Soap Factory artists, and is haunted by a team of volunteer demons. Proceeds go to fund the art gallery that hosts it. We have two recommendations if you are brave enough to enter: 1) Buy your ticket early! The Haunted Basement sells out quickly. 2) Dress for a mess. Wear comfortable clothing and shoes that you don't mind getting messy. Wear covered shoes - heels, flip-flops and other inappropriate shoes are checked at the door. Enter if you dare.
Brave New Workshop - Chicago has Second City; New York has the Upright Citizens Brigade; Minneapolis has Brave New Workshop. The theater recently changed locations, moving from the dodgy-looking Uptown building to a more central location Downtown. BNW has been performing original sketch comedy and improve longer than any other theater in the US! Notable alumni from this group include Al Franken (former SNL writer/performer and current US Senator), Mo Collins (MADtv), Louie Anderson, Lizz Winstead (co-creator of The Daily Show) and many more. They're celebrating their 55th year in business with Attack of the Best of the Brave New Workshop, a hodgepodge of fan-favorite sketches from the 70s to the present.
Huge [Improv] Theater - Huge is a new addition to the Minneapolis comedy scene, but it is not inexperienced. Started by five veteran improvisers, this artist-led nonprofit theater opened its doors in 2010. The theater hosts long form improv shows almost every night, at bargain prices. This is a great place to catch the up-and-coming talent in Twin Cities comedy.
Minneapolis Farmers Market - Minneapolitans, like any hip group of urbanites, love them some farmers markets. The Minneapolis Farmers Market is not a newcomer to the scene, having opened the Lyndale Market in 1937. It's open 6:00 AM to 1:00 PM every day, but the smart browsers arrive early. This market is huge! They have 170 stalls of local produce, meats, and vendors of all types. Gnaw on a loaded bratwurst or fresh ear of corn on the cob, as you pick up some fresh fruits, local hot sauces and a hacky sack for your stay in Minneapolis. Be prepared for some serious crowds if you go on Saturday or Sunday.
Top of Target Corporate - You may know Target as the shop where you buy everything. In the Twin Cities, Target is also a major benefactor of the arts community. They sponsor free nights at various museums and the Aquatennial fireworks in July. Their corporate offices in downtown Minneapolis serve as one of the largest, most colorful canvases of art in our city. Target Plaza South is an unassuming skyscraper by day, but at night, the company's offices transform the skyline into a dazzling work of art that is truly unique to Minneapolis. The company teamed up with fellow Minnesotans 3M to create a platform to host light designs by artists from all over. These designs change with seasons, holidays and even Walker Art Center exhibits. You may see an underwater world swimming across the city, fireflies peppering the night sky or a kaleidoscope of colors and shapes. The best part about this sight is that you can see it from just about anywhere the downtown skyline is visible.
Breweries! - When you think of beer in The Big Central, you probably first think about our friends in Milwaukee. However, you'd be crazy to glaze over the booming brew business in the Twin Cities! Since the hoptastic team at Surly fought to change the state's liquor laws to allow breweries to sell their beer for consumption on their premises, microbreweries have been popping up left and right. Lucky for us, the beers are fantastic! Some local favorites are 612, Fulton, Harriet, Indeed, Summit and Surly. Most have tours AND taprooms for sampling these local treats. Brewery taprooms have also helped to cultivate the food truck culture here, providing a place for crews to sell their foods to a very...uh...receptive audience. Twin Cities brewery adventures await you in both Minneapolis and St. Paul.
Landmark Center - Minneapolis is hosting the Big Central, but let's not forget that we are a part of the Twin Cities! The Landmark Center is located in downtown St. Paul across from Rice Park. It originally served as the Federal court House and Post Office for the Upper Midwest and now is home to many of St. Paul's premier arts and cultural organizations. There are five gallery spaces located around the five-story indoor courtyard. While strolling around the building, be sure to read the plaques by the office doors. They provide a peek into Minnesotan and US history that you may have not known.
Como Park - Located conveniently close to our offices, Como Park is a great place to spend an afternoon. Whether you're driving, walking, biking or skating around on rollerblades (perfected by a couple of Minneapolitans), this park has plenty to do! Spanning 384 acres, there are 2.3 miles of trails and even a golf course. Check out conservatory, amusement park and Como Lake. Did we mention that the park has a zoo? Bring your camera and pack a picnic for your Como Park outing.
Grand Avenue - Who knew that the Twin Cities had shopping outside of the Mall of America?! Grand Avenue, in historic St. Paul, is a popular weekend destination for shoppers and street meanderers alike. The street is home to a wide range of boutique shops, along with a few names you may have heard. You will also find some of the Twin Cities' best restaurants on Grand.
Turf Club - When you can't decide if you want to go out in Minneapolis or St. Paul, you find yourself at the Turf Club. While it opened up in the 40s as a two-steppin' country bar and changed directions (but not atmosphere) a bit throughout the years, it has always been dedicated to local and independent music. They do get touring acts in, but the Turf Club's magic truly lies in the local gigs. Only the Turf Club could stand the test of time on a block with a pawn shops, liquor stores and a military surplus store. There is a reason why Mark Mallman chose the Turf Club as the setting for his 52-hour marathon gig. It is truly a rock club.
MN Wild Game (Thursday vs. Carolina Hurricanes) - St. Paul, Hockeytown, USA, is home to NHL team, Minnesota North Stars Wild. Our beloved mascot, Nordy, is a mysterious animal. No one is quite sure which species this mullet-bearing, tattoo-faced giant is. Despite the fact that most of our pro sports teams are below average, the Wild are actually quite good. Find out what the puck all of this hockey nonsense is about. Make sure to live out your Mighty Ducks fantasies by stopping for a bite at Mickey's Diner before/after the game.
Bachelor Farmer- http://thebachelorfarmer.com/
Marvel Bar- http://marvelbar.com/
Dakota Jazz Club- http://www.dakotacooks.com/
Butcher and the Boar- http://butcherandtheboar.com/
Borough and Parlour- http://www.boroughmpls.com/
Hell's Kitchen/Angel Food-http://www.hellskitcheninc.com/
Depot Tavern- http://thedepottavern.com/
Sea Change- http://seachangempls.com/
Pizzeria Lola- http://www.pizzerialola.com/
Midtown Global Market- http://www.midtownglobalmarket.org/
Herkimer for the GB - Vikings game (ONLY FOR PACKER FANS, THIS IS A PACKER BAR)- http://www.theherkimer.com/
Burch Steakhouse and Pizza Bar- http://burchrestaurant.com/
World Street Kitchen- http://www.eatwsk.com/
Sen Yai Sen Lek- http://www.senyai-senlek.com/
Taco Riendo- http://www.eltaco-riendo.com/
Nye's Polonaise- http://www.nyespolonaise.com/
Dangerous Man- http://www.dangerousmanbrewing.com/
612 Brew- http://www.612brew.com/
Great Waters- http://www.greatwatersbc.com
Summit - http://www.summitbrewing.com/
Nice Ride-Nice Ride is a subscription-based bike rental service with bike stations located throughout the Twin Cities. Users pay a flat fee for a one-day subscription, and can then rent bikes at any of the city's 170 bike stations for an hourly rate (free for the first 30 minutes). Renting a Nice Ride and exploring Minneapolis's abundance of bike trails is a great way to get to know the city. Helpful tips: Nice Ride will put a large hold on your credit card. The day subscription is $6.00. The stations are, for the most part, less than 30-minutes away from each other. If you dock the bike up every 30 minutes, you will only end up paying $6.00 for the 24-hour rental. https://www.niceridemn.org/
Stillwater - On the way there, stop at Aamodt's for apples and St. Croix Vineyard wines. Stillwater itself is known for an abundance of antique stores, bed and breakfasts and a beautiful view of the St. Croix River. If you're feeling adventurous, meander across the river to Hudson, WI, and get a taste of our eastern neighbors.
Winona- Worth it as much for the destination as for the journey, highway 61 features some of the most beautiful terrain that Minnesota has to offer. Stop in Red Wing to pick up some boots, and continue on to Lake Pepin, keeping a lookout for bald eagles along the way. Finally, arrive in Winona and go on a hike where you'll be exposed to beautiful bluffs, trails and fall colors.
North Shore- Start off in Duluth and walk along the waterfront, taking in Lake Superior, the largest fresh water lake in the world. On your way out of town, be sure to pick up a few growlers from Fitger's and a quality backpack from Duluth Pack. Leave Duluth and head north along Lake Superior, grab a slice of pie from Betty's Pies just outside of Two Harbors, and head to Gooseberry Falls State Park and/or Split Rock Lighthouse State Park. Gooseberry Falls provides great camping opportunities with beautiful trails throughout the falls, and is a quick walk to Lake Superior. Split Rock Lighthouse provides fascinating historical background on the North Shore region and is also surrounded by extensive camping and hiking areas. Heading further north on highway 61 provides for even more camping and hiking opportunities around Lutsen and Grand Marais, as well as great kayaking and canoeing.
By: Joe Marrocco
In today's Specialty Coffee Industry, an inventive idea tends to become a ripple that affects us all. We all witness banter back and forth between industry professional. Some of these discussions have led to breakthroughs; others have petered out into oblivion. The introduction of our roast profiles has inspired some productive discussion, and I would like to elaborate further on our direction.
Recently we, at Café Imports, began including our internal production roast profiles on some of our Beanologies. Our hope in this is to peel back the curtain on what we are already doing, and provide further insight into the coffees we are proprietors of; supporting our clients who are buying and roasting these lovely coffees that find any sense of community, comraderie, or help from this information. This comes after countless requests from our clients for this kind of collaboration. Mostly, the feedback has been resoundingly positive. However it has also been met with critique from a few, and even negativity from fewer still. Some feel that this part of the life of our products is simply none of our business. The assertion that these profiles are only for the newbies, or the less artistic or capable is not accurate. Many of our clients who are supportive of this venture are long time roasters who are highly respected in their field. When new information is shared, good or bad, and contextualized correctly, with proper discussion surrounding it, we all win.
To argue that providing our personal roast profiles is like giving a loaded gun to an inexperienced shooter is not fair to anyone who has traded blood, sweat, and tears for getting their roasting operation started. We believe that more credit is due to the type of people choosing to buy high quality coffees from a company like Cafe Imports. Just because a roaster isn't from a well known coffee company, doesn't mean they can't understand the importance of playing with coffee in the roaster, or fully grasp that their roaster and bean probe read-out is different from ours (some of the main points raised against this). Our customers understand that our profiles are our profiles, in our roaster, in Minnesota, during that given day. They understand these are not plug and play recipes, but rather a peek into our methodology and approach to a coffee given very specific circumstances.
When I interviewed for Café Imports, Tim Chapdelaine, sat me down and discussed my possible role within the company; mainly focusing on topics related to my sales position. Toward the end of this conversation, he asked me a rather interesting question: "What else would you like to do or be involved in while here at Cafe Imports?"
"What? You are opening the door for me to do things beyond what would already be amazing job at this already amazing company??"
I thought for a moment, and I explained to Tim my passion for education. "I want to learn as much as I can and bring as much of that information to others." In this thought was the idea that I needed to get more information out to roasters. When searching for help beyond the walls of my former company, I found precious little and I wanted to change that.
I was already an instructor for the SCAA and a Chapter Representative for the BGA, teaching strapping new baristas the ropes at the espresso machine. But, at Cafe Imports I have the opportunity to go beyond this and dig into origin, sensory analysis, deeper into roasting, sample roasting, and more. My background in coffee before Cafe Imports involved production roasting for an amazing coffee company in St Louis, where I was extremely fortunate to have worked alongside of one of the SCAA's top roasting instructors, Andrew Timko. His knowledge was an asset in my development, and he has put this to paper by building workshops for the SCAA. So, of course I believe roasting is one of the most important skill sets that we on the production end of coffee can invest our time into. I was fortunate to be in a situation where I was coached by Andrew, and the other outstanding roasters there. However, not every roaster has this opportunity. But, this should not take away our perception of their viability or craftsmanship.
All of the links in the chain of coffee play an important role in carrying the legacy of quality from seed to cup. With such a void of readily available in depth coffee roasting training, specifically as it pertains to profiles, I believe there is a chunk of that chain that is missing. I believe that as companies collaborate on how they are roasting coffees, and discuss their profiles and outcomes, we can formulate much more reasonable profiles. I know that roasters want this.
How do I know this? At Café Imports we are in a very unique position. We are on the phones and in email conversations with coffee roasters all day, every day. This is what we do. We have candid conversations with roasters of all sizes ranging from containers a month, to a few broken bags. The number one thing we hear is that roasters are kind of the in weeds when it comes to building profiles. There are tools to teach a roaster how to build a profile, but this requires a lot of trial and error, and often the information is not clear, or basic (and vague). (The SCAA has classes on how to build profiles, but does not have a position on what a good or bad profile looks like. It leaves this open for roasters to continue working out of trial and error, since no "best practice" has been decided upon.) many other sources use industry terms like "city" or "full city" are used and a good start, but what do those really mean? From what I can find, these are not a concrete way at looking at even the end of the roast, muchless any kind of road map of how the roaster got from A-B.
The sentiment against helping these folks (from those in disagreement) is two fold:
1) We had to pay our dues as new roasters without anyone throwing us bones, and so now it is your turn.
2) They simply won't or cannot understand the complexities of the roaster, profiles, and the craft of roasting
Why are profiles so hard to come by? Historically, roast profiles and blends have been a proprietary trade secret. I know that it has been said that this is really not the case. However, I very strongly disagree. When asked by customers, roasters may be a bit more inclined to share a profile. But, put it online for the world to see and critique? Even those roasters who have been brave enough and progressive enough to try it have been met with hard hitting and usually unsound, loud critique. They have stopped.
Where does this culture of tight lips come from? Roasters for many years were roasting very similar coffees; Kenya AA, Colombia Supremo, Brazil Strictly Soft 17/18 Screen Size, etc... and these were the selections that the really high end companies would be using for single origins, and in their signature blends. With the similar coffees, roast profiles and the ratios of coffees in a blend were really the key separating factors that one company could distinguish itself from another. Fast forward to today and it is obviously a totally different situation. We have a major roasting publication, the Roasters Guild, and a few forums for roasters to share information. In addition we have an unprecedented amount of separation and proprietary ownership of specific micro-lots of coffee, processed differently, grown at different altitudes, the list goes on. Roasters are now not as focused on the proprietary nature of their roast profiles, but rather their coffee and sources. Sound roast profiles of these coffees can then, of course, add a deeper level of differentiation.
Proprietary ownership, private back of the house meetings, and secret recipes have long been discarded from the barista culture. Information within this culture flows freely. Brewing recipes, extraction rates, drink recipes, water quality, grind setting, every detail of the process of producing a cup of delicious coffee has been publicly fleshed out over and over. Training procedures, information flow within companies, leadership roles, job descriptions, even pay rates have all been put out there on the World Wide Web.
To say that roast profiles are much more difficult transition from one machine to the other is simply not true. Variables in brewing methods, water quality, grinder settings, socio-economic variance in which different companies operate, altitude, machine idiosyncrasies... These all vary greatly. Yet, baristas have found a way to take information from one another and apply it in a way that works for their setting. These data have not gone on to the web without complainers saying it shouldn't happen, but they went out nonetheless; and I would say, we as a community are better for it. If someone would have just said, "No, no, they could never pull a shot like this at high altitude, so lets not even share the information because most likely they can't handle it," where would we be today? Similarly, does everyone who brews an aeropress of your company's coffee have to use your recipe? No. Us sharing information is not a mandate, it is what worked in our lab, and our customers can freely take it or leave it.
Another apt analogy is baking. An excellent baker understands the concepts of great bread making. This craftsperson can apply general information, look at recipes, look at past history, feel the dough while kneading, and apply aesthetic input unique to their desired outcome all the while not feeling as though their art has been infringed upon by the audacity of someone else having written out and shared their recipe.
Another clear issue that people have taken with us presenting this information is that we are an importer and this is none of our business. It has even been said that this would be a great plan executed toward bringing new roasters into the industry, inferring we are trying to build clientele of less seasoned roasters. This would be a very shortsighted goal for us. We want partners that represent the coffees we source well, not simply the largest client list. We are not the type of broker that is just flipping containers, or wringing new roasters out before they fall away. We are focused on sourcing with intention, and selling coffee in a way that honors the producer and the hard work he or she has put into the coffee. Without coffees being done justice in the roaster and behind the bar, all the work we did to get the top coffees to market is for naught. We want to work with roasters who are going to be successful. I am not speaking of simple financial success, but success in the ability to skillfully present the lovely coffee that does justice to its journey. This is our business. Roasters are our business. Being a roaster myself, and being in a place of freedom and afforded the opportunity to share with our clients all that I know and don't know, I, along with others who are willing, can kick this conversation off.
It is time. It is time that roasters join the ranks of the other culinary artists who are sharing information freely. Systems like Cropster have been built for this kind of information exchange. Roasters are linking to each other to begin sharing this kind of information. However, there is still a sense of fear that if roast profiles escape the roaster's doors into the public arena, the proprietary ownership of that coffee has been compromised, or the artistic expression of a roaster is now less valuable. We are not selling roasted coffee, have no gain in holding our roast profiles secretly in a drawer, and can use them as the first trial for roasters, or at least a jumping point for conceptual approaches to coffees. We are simply sharing what worked for us, in our lab, on our roaster. While this information isn't 100% applicable for every situation, our customers can at least see what we tried. A roaster can look up one of our profiles, see what is different or the same as another profile, see what changed in the nature of the sensory experience with this coffee due to this curve, and launch from there into their own artistic expression with that coffee (or a similar coffee). We will be filling in more and more detail into these profiles: taste notes, percentages of weight loss, Agtron scores. And OF COURSE there is the freedom to simply disagree with us, which is great too! These can be taken or left, used or not used; we just want to open the curtain for those who wish to see inside.
James Hoffman, one of the most eloquent coffee bloggers and gifted coffee professionals of our time, (someone who I personally have a great deal of respect for and have learned a lot from) recently wrote a blog in which he shares his feelings about our project. He is exactly right when he says that roaster equipment varies greatly. This is why I want to be very clear in saying that if you follow the exact profile, gas pressure, temperature chart, etc... that I am hitting on our Probat L5, you will likely have bad results. This does not, however, render this information worthless. We are not claiming to be presenting to our customers a magic bullet that will solve all of their roasting issues. This is a tool. Value lies in seeing the path I took from green to brown. Simply giving the destination of City+, Viennese, etc... is great and helpful, but we believe that seeing how I got there is so much more valuable. Seeing when I applied heat, dampened the airflow, and dropped the coffee, along with every other point of interest along the journey is additional supporting imformation to our clients. It is imperfect, fluid, and only a point of entry for further discussion on those particular coffees. This is not a prescription for success.
Keep in mind,
We do not want to tell you, our clients, how to roast. We do not want to tell our partners who are growing coffee how to manage their farms and process their coffee. However, we do want to be your partners and help in any way we can to set you up for success. We do not wish to insult you, or unveil any trade secrets. We want to encourage communication and collaboration to spur on innovation in coffee roasting. We want you to see the intent with which we approach turning these green beans brown internally and the power of sharing experiences and building community. This is meant to be collaborative and start discussion. When there is an abundance of resources providing a color scheme or customer support surrounding roasting in our possession, and we have the ability to share it, we will. We hope that you will be open to receiving it. We hope that you know us by now, and know that our intentions are to continue to push the boundaries in the craft of specialty coffee.
By Joe Marrocco
Roasting coffee happens to be a passion of mine. I love tasting a coffee on a cupping table, discovering its potential (or regrettably, its lack thereof) and bringing it to a production roaster to refine the flavors and draw out the most I can from it. Since my time at Café Imports began almost two years ago, I have had the freedom to play with so many very different coffees. As a team, we have seen how, with proper roasting techniques, a coffee graded for green analysis can be judged before the coffee is really truly known. We have found at times that a coffee that may be an 84-86 on the cupping table can be brilliant as espresso. It is not unusual for a coffee to gain two to three point with some focus on its attributes.
Profile roasting, in short, is finding what attributes a coffee has on the cupping table, and trying to use the roaster to diminish or accentuate these taste characteristics in a way that allows them to be harmonious, toward whatever aesthetic goal the roaster has set. For instance; I know that a really high quality washed Ethiopian Yirgacheffe is going to be delicate, bright, light in body, you know... awesome. However, with some coaxing, it is possible to lift the body and the sweetness a bit, while not damaging the key attributes that make these coffees so unique. On a cupping table, these accentuated accents may not be yet fully revealed. When roasted with this purpose in mind, the coffee can be even better than the original score has indicated.
Thinking of roasting in this way can be daunting, especially at first. It can also be exhilarating and open the door to roasting being more of a craft and a bit less of the production grind. After experiencing how this approach can alter the experience with coffee so drastically, we decided that we would love to share what we are doing with you all. This will hopefully help to alleviate a bit of the stress of reinventing the wheel. However, rest assured; you will still have plenty of room for artistic expression, and our roast profiles are just a starting point, and somewhat specific to our local environment.
We have partnered with Cropster, the creators of software that allow you plug your roaster into a profile development and recording tool (along with so much more) to record and share our profiles. This is very much a work in progress. By no means do we intend to say that the way of roasting presented in these profiles is the only way. What we wish to do is give you a springboard from which you can begin to think about how to roast a coffee. Your roaster, controls, probe, etc... will most likely be very different from ours. We hope that this does not render our curves valueless to you. The main targets for how a coffee heats and hits certain milestones should be repeatable in different application, at least in general extent. If you see that I have rushed a coffee through green to gold, which can indicate that this may be a good approach to try.
I will also be very honest with these profiles. If something does not work out, or I run into an issue, I will record this. Roasting is rarely perfect, but always allows for new learning. If I show my error, the hope is that you will not commit the same crime.
Currently we are rolling this program out slowly with the hopes to build on it little by little. I do not roast every day, and so I cannot roast every offering in our possession. We will roast some of the good stuff, and some of our larger offerings, however, and hopefully give you enough to get started with. This is a work in progress and not exhaustive (yet)! We will be back filling some good information and extending the notes to offer taste perceptions at the different roast levels. We would LOVE to hear from you regarding your thoughts and opinions.
Roaster: Probat L5
Batches: Usually 8lbs.
Gas: I use natural gas and can push it to 6 inches. The amount listed is in inches, not percentages.
The lower smooth line is bean temp and the higher line is exhaust. Some of these will have the names switched. My apologies. The rest of the information is accurate.
We wanted to create something that holds great value to our customers, and we are committed to providing whatever level of expertise we can offer to empower likeminded craftsmen of specialty coffee. Enjoy!
Here is an example profile and click HERE for a link to an active beanology:
Check out the latest from Ian Fretheim and the sensory analysis team at Cafe Imports!
A comprehensive variety tree that we feel like does justice to the growing education and discovery around variety origins and history.