Educational Innovation at Origin: Honduras y La Serie Profesional
We make no secret of our passion for coffee education. We know that education improves quality at every step from seed to cup, and while we focus a great deal of our Counter Intelligence educational efforts on the craft of brewing, service, and coffee science, we are devoting increasing resources to developing education projects with our producing partners at origin.
Earlier this week, we wrapped up our inaugural producer-focused Professional Series – La Serie Profesional en español – centering on farm and processing experimentation, organic agriculture practices, and inter-farm communication and resource sharing. Taking place in Santa Rosa de Copán, Honduras, the 2-day educational event was led on site by Sustainability & Producer Relations Manager Kim Elena Bullock and Coffee Buyer & Quality Manager Tim Hill, who co-organized discussions among the 20 producer partners in attendance.
Both Kim Elena and Tim posted reports on the event this week – in prose and photos, respectively – and it's clear from both accounts that the conversations and sharing of knowledge were nothing short of inspiring, and that this is but the first of many Professional Series events with our partners at origin.
"As we walked to one of my favorite restaurants in Santa Rosa de Copán," recalls Kim Elena, "I felt gratified to eavesdrop on conversations between Hondurans, Guatemalans, and Nicaraguans who continued to reflect on the day's discussions and trade tips long after the sessions had ended."
Back from the Road: Buziraguhindwa, Burundi
He also includes a step-by-step guide to the coffee production of the current year's harvest at the Buziraguhindwa washing station, introduces some of the participants key to the mill's success, and shares his enthusiasm for the producers of this area and their coffee. View the trip report slideshow in our Origins section and read the annotated photo set on Flickr.
Home-barista.com Reviews Apollo Seasonal Espresso
We were thrilled when Home-barista.com readers nominated our Apollo Seasonal Espresso among the coffees they wanted the H-B Team to review for the Favorite Espresso Blends 2011 feature. As luck would have it, we were asked to send review samples just as Apollo changed from version 4.2 to 4.3, presenting H-B with the opportunity to review both versions to further highlight Apollo as an expression of the freshest seasonal coffees available in a dynamic espresso.
"The restaurant trend the past few years has been to source the best of the seasonal offerings to provide the best and freshest food to its customers, why should coffee be any different," observed H-B reviewer Dave Stephens of Downingtown, PA, in his portion of the review. "The Apollo blend morphs through the year to keep in pace with regional seasonality so the blend can go through some major taste changes."
Back from the Road: Peru and Ecuador
Our Sustainability and Producer Relations Manager Kim Elena Bullock recently returned from a week in South America that included a visit to San Ignacio, Peru, to meet with the five communities of Valle del Santuario, and a stop in Ecuador to explore a potential new partnership.
This "Back from the Road" trip report, found in its entirety in our ORIGINS section, focuses on Kim Elena's meeting with the Cenfrocafe cooperative and the growers of Valle del Santuario. The dialog she recounts underscores the importance of our collaborative, personal relationships with coffee growers and offers insight into the growth and progress made possible through open, respectful communication along the coffee chain. Please stay tuned for another report from her travels in Ecuador.
Hands-On Education in Chicago
Although they provide state-of-the-art settings for Counter Intelligence – our cutting-edge coffee education program – our training centers are much more than classrooms. Staffed by teams of passionate coffee experts and equipped with the latest and best brewing, grinding, and handcrafted coffee equipment, our training centers are regional focal points of hands-on learning and shared community spaces where all levels of coffee and food experience are welcome. In addition to our regular schedule of Counter Intelligence courses, Professional Series programs, and public coffee cuppings, our training centers from time to time host tasting and pairing events, brewing and latte art competitions, and focused education events centered around a single technique, tradition, or piece of equipment.
In this spirit of advanced, focused learning, we recently held a series of Lever Espresso Machine Workshops – led by 2009 World Barista Champion Gwilym Davies – at our training centers in Washington, DC; New York; and Chicago. Co-sponsored by Nuova Simonelli, the event gave the lever veteran Gwilym an opportunity to shed light on the lever espresso machine experience from the expert barista's point of view, delving into pressure manipulation, temperature profiling, and the pros and cons of the most manual of modern espresso machines.
All three cities had great turnouts, but the Chicago event (in our newest training center) attracted the most people from both inside and outside the professional coffee community. Our team of Rich, Deanna, and Josh made our entire lineup of espressos available and assisted Gwilym and friends from Nuova Simonelli in leading attendees through the interactive workshop, which was the but the first of many special education events that Chicago coffee lovers can expect from our new training center in the West Loop. Special thanks to Matthew Gasaway for photos of the event; check out the flickr set here.
NOTE: Our delivery carriers will not pick up or deliver on Monday, May 30, in observance of the Memorial Day holiday. Orders received after midnight Thursday, May 26, will be roasted, packaged, and shipped on Tuesday, May 31. Orders in transit may also experience some delay.