Since 2021, we’ve been hosting the Legendary Coffee Exchange, a community-driven coffee swap with the goal of drawing human connections across the industry. Facilitated by Cafe Imports, roasters worldwide contribute a bag of their coffee in exchange for another roaster’s offering. Everyone will taste their new coffee and then contact its roaster to share their thoughts and feedback, but more importantly, meet another passionate coffee professional. What’s more legendary than exchanging coffees and making new friends?
This year’s Legendary Coffee Exchange occurred at the 2023 SCA Expo in Portland, Oregon. 88 roasters came by the booth to drop off their coffee and pick up a new one, and all the participants were entered into a drawing for an Ikawa Pro50 Sample Roaster (a special thank you to Ikawa for partnering on this year’s exchange)!
On Sunday, the last day of the Expo, we drew the winner’s name – Karla Calidonio of IHCAFE in Honduras. We set out across the show floor to give her the news. After finding her, she told us she gave her spot to a roaster in Honduras, Carlos Guerra. She insisted that he receive the roaster, so we gave him a call to share the news.
Carlos wasn’t at the Expo when we called him, and he sounded wonderfully surprised to be winning an Ikawa Pro50. Once he got to the Expo floor, we all got to know each other, took photos together, and packed his new Ikawa into a travel case bound for Honduras. At that time, Carlos didn’t have a sample roaster. We were touched that someone could win the Pro50 and immediately put it to good use at their home roastery.
A few weeks ago, we caught up with Carlos for a wonderful conversation. We wanted to learn more about him, and find out how the Ikawa was treating him. He’s been in coffee his entire life working with his parents on their coffee farm. Over time, the family opened a cafe in Copan Ruinas where they began roasting and serving their coffee, among other locally-produced goods. He is an exemplary ambassador of the coffee industry in Honduras, and it was a pleasure to learn more about him, his career, and his coffee.
One of the greatest aspects of specialty coffee is the shared passion that connects individuals across the globe. We’ve always been honored to continue hosting the Legendary Coffee Exchange after hearing stories of new friendships that have formed. The LCE provides an opportunity to try something new and support one another. Openness to one another inspires us, grounds us, and reminds us of what drew us into this industry.
If you participated in this year’s Legendary Coffee Exchange, don’t forget to connect with your swap! We know they’d love to hear from you. Thank you again to Ikawa for partnering. Thank you to Carlos for being so gracious with his time and story. And thanks to you for watching! Keep being legendary.