Guatemala/Costa Rica

Central American coffee harvest season is upon us, and with that comes the beginning of my origin travels for this year.  I traveled to Guatemala and Costa Rica at the beginning of the month, and what an exciting trip it was!  We visited some amazing farms, and met really incredible people.  I’m still working out the details of which coffees we will be purchasing, and when they arrive but stay tuned for more details.  In the meantime here are a few photos from my trip.


This is the city of Antigua in Guatemala, the colonial capitol of Guatemala.  In the background is one of the three volcanoes in the region.  Below are ripe coffee cherries in Costa Rica. 

Guatemala Coffee

Roaster's Guild Retreat 2011

This past weekend our roaster, Clyde Miller, and I attended the SCAA’s Roaster Guild Retreat.  It is an annual gathering of roasters from all of the country to come together and collaborate, and share tips and techniques about the roasting craft.  They also had a team roasting challenge, and various educational seminars.

Dan judging the latte art throwdown

The highlights of the weekend for me (Dan Streetman) were, a group forum about “direct trade” and a presentation by a farmer from El Salvador, Emilio Lopez from Finca El Manzano.  In the direct trade discussion we had some very comprehensive hashing of what direct trade means, and how it affects different groups throughout the supply chain.  It was especially interesting to hear from Chino, an exporter from Costa Rica who put some much needed perspective into the conversation.  The conclusion of the group seemed to be that quality coffee is a bargain/undervalued and we need to find ways to increase the value equation for consumers.  When you couple this discussion with Emilio’s presentation about the economics of producing high quality coffee, it was fascinating to see the relationships.  He did a great job of illustrating the increased costs and risks of producing high quality coffee, especially when talking about experimental processing techniques.  It was also especially nice to see Peter Rodriguez from Benificio Santa Rosa in Honduras, who I met on my trip to Capucas in March.

Emilio Lopez, Producer from Finca El Manzano

Clyde had this to share:

Well I did not know what to expect. My first thoughts going into this was that I was gonna be surrounded by a bunch of coffee geeks. But instead of your typical revenge of the nerds stereo type, there was such a diverse group of people that had attended the retreat to share there knowledge and to acquire more about specialty coffee.

I myself went into this wanting to find out more about the wheels that make the coffee industry move,and I did. By attending the Manzano project it revealed to us the extent of a coffee life cycle, from crops to cup. The project instructed us on the differences between full natural, pulp natural,full washed and machine(semi) washed beans. Half of the project experience  was getting to cup the different processing methods and sharing thoughts on it with others. To me this seminar was laid out well and worth the time to attend.
Natural, Pulped Natural, Mechanically Washed, and Fully Washed Coffee

Intro to cupping and cupping for defects where also well set up classes and very informative. Instructed on the proper time between roasting and cupping, the uniformity and proper setup needed for cupping. Also provided the steps needed to acquire and log information from cupping’s. Defect cupping was, well….Baggy,unripe,fermented and notes of mold. In fact the notes of mold lingered on my lips for the remainder of the day, but was a fine tool to help me determine future aroma and flavor in future cupping’s.

The last class I attended was identifying roast defects and was the class I was waiting to take through the whole retreat. The lecture part of the course was well informative and fast paced. The next section of the course was hands on roasting to create the effect of scorching,tipping,facing,chipping,as well as underdeveloped and baking of a roast. The effects of this course have made me realize that I need to look at my roasts more frequently to make sure that I do not produce those defects and change the roast profile if I do encounter them.

Dan in the Brown shirt, and Clyde in the hat… simulating a defective roast

My overall impression on the retreat is that it was well organized and well worth the time and effort it took to get there.Thank you very much to those who worked so hard to make the 11th Roasters Guild Retreat a success.

Kenya Gathambi

We at Irving Farm are excited to announce the arrival of one of our most anticipated coffees this year, Kenya Gathambi.  In fact myself and Clyde our roaster were so excited that we had to roast some on Friday when the coffee arrived, and then took coffee out of the cooling tray to brew.

This coffee is especially exciting for me, because it is the beginning of a new project for us.  Traditionally in Kenya all the coffees are sold through an auction, however our partners are working directly with the mill there, and have secured us first bid on the coffee in coming years.  This coffee is processed in the traditional method of Kenya, where they depulp the coffee, removing the fruit, soak the coffee in water to remove the mucilage, soak the coffee in another clean bath, and then move it to raised drying beds for drying.

I don’t want to spoil the surprise with what the coffee tastes like but expect it to roll into our stores this week.  We have a limited amount of this special coffee and expect it go quickly.

Honduras Capucas

You may have had a chance to try our newest coffee, Capucas from Honduras.  If you have, I hope that you’ve already discovered how delicious this coffee can be.  When I first tasted this coffee I was blown away by the sweetness and the tropical fruit flavors.  As we got to know it better with our initial production roasts we noticed honey-like body with flavors of cashew, dried pineapple and mango.

However, this is only half of the reason why I love this coffee.  In March I was lucky enough to visit the community in Capucas that grows this beautiful coffee.  The town of Capucas has about 100 families that grow coffee, and formed the Cooperativa Cafetelara Capucas Limitada or COCAFCAL for short.

Omar Rodriguez (left) is the President of the cooperative, and he and his family played host to us for the extent of our trip.  They showed us, Chris Davidson (right) and myself (center), tremendous hospitality throughout our stay.  Chris works with Atlas Coffee Importers, who have been working with the community in Capucas since 2007.  The purpose of our trip was to judge their annual micro-lot competition.  The judging took place by cupping (tasting) 30 coffees a day each day of our 5 day trip.  We scored the coffees based on their sweetness, uniformity, balance, aftertaste, acidity, and unique character.

We then assigned the coffee’s points based on those attributes, and they received scores out of 100.  We decided to purchase all 5 of the top lots, but more on that when they arrive in August.  In the mean-time let’s focus on the Capucas coffee you can enjoy right now.  It represents a blended lot from many of the producers in the community, where they harvest their coffee fruit and have it processed at their centralized mill.  There the coffee is depulped, soaked in tanks for 12-24 hours, washed, and then sun dried on concrete patios.  The farms here are immaculate, almost garden like.  The perfect amount of shade cover, neatly spaced and planted rows, and regimented pruning that had just been completed post-harvest.

Walking through the community farms, and meeting each of the producers you get a sense that they all take great pride in producing quality coffee, and working together.  Friendly and passionate people are always rewarding to work with, especially when they produce such a great product.  This is the other half of why I love Capucas!


Colombia trip report June 2011

After spending a few days at the World Barista Championship, I spent a week touring Colombia, and trying to identify some coffee producers for Irving Farm to work with. 

Our first stop was Monserrate, in Huila.  This mountain-top town is home to over 80 families who produce coffee on their modest hillside land.  The producers here only recently started growing coffee, and chose to do so because they tired of the violence that growing coca brought to their town in the 90’s.

Here in Monserrate each of the producers picks and processes their coffee separately, and then they sell to the exporter.  This means that we can keep each farmer’s coffee separate and identify the highest quality lots from which to buy.  It also helps give the farmers feedback on what techniques are contributing to the quality of their coffee.  These farmers all have their own small mill to process the coffee.  Usually this consists of a depulper and fermentation tank (pictured below) and then they dry the coffee on raised beds (pictured below) or in the street (shown above).

Depulper use to remove the coffee fruit from the seed inside, coffee then falls into the fermentation tank below.


here, a producer shows us how he turns the coffee to allow for even drying on the raised beds.  This method of processing coffee is fairly standard across Colombia, although it varies greatly in scale based on the size of the producer.  I visited the whole range in our 7 day trip, from farmers who produce just a few bags of coffee to those who produce many containers (1 container is 275, 132lb bags). I also visited farms in Huila, Cauca, and Antiouquia representing Colombia in 3 major growing regions.

Overall it was a very exciting, and educational trip and I am looking forward to putting a few unique Colombian coffeesin the Irving Farm line-up later this year, and in the years to come.

Dan Streetman

Director of Coffee, Irving Farm Coffee

Craft Coffee

We’re super excited to be featured in this month’s @CraftCoffeeCo sampler. We also wish everything we’re a part of looked this nice.


Trying out Craft Coffee — coffee tasting boxes mailed to you once a month filled with 3 different yummy hand selected premium artisan roasters from around the country with sustainability focused coffee! I love it.

This month’s box of beans was from roasters in California, Michigan, and New York and is doing it’s job of waking me up!

USBC Round 1 Line-Up


Thursday April 28

All times are approximate. Check the live-stream to see who’s on, then adjust accordingly.

All times CDT - Houston, TX, USA

Comp Time - Comp Number. Barista, Company - City

11:15 - 1. Stephen Schuh, Kaldis’s - St Louis

11:25 - 2. Chandler Rentz, Batdorf - Atlanta

11:55 - 3. Row Aczon - Honolulu Coffee Co - Honolulu

12:15 - 4. Laila Ghambaris, Stumptown - Seattle

12:35- 5. Park Brannen, Cafe Grumpy - Brooklyn

12:50 - 6. Samueal Brown, Alterra - Milwaukee

1:10 - 7. Adrienne Kist, Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf - Glenadale, AZ

1:30 - 8. David Delchamps, 1000 Faces Coffee - Athens, GA

1:50 - 9. Jenna White, Caffe Medici - Austin

2:10 - 10. Tyler Stevens, BARISTA - Portland

2:30 - 11. Trevor Corlett, MadCap Coffee - Grand Rapids

2:45 - 12. Ryan Wilbur, Stumpwon - Portland

3:05 - 13. Joshua Flail, Octane - Atlanta

3:25 - 14. Jeremy Sterner, Peregrine Espresso - Wash D.C.

3:45 - 15. Scott Lucey, Alteraa - Milwaukee

4:00 - 16. Jonathan Aldrich, Caffe Medici - Austin

4:20 - 17. Nicole Call, Kaldi’s - St. Louis

Friday April 29

10:15 - 18. Kevin Bohlin, Ritual - SF

10:35 - 19. Lorenzo Perkins, Caffe Medici - Austin

10:55 - 20. Brandon Duff, RBC NYC - NYC

11:15 - 21. Devin Chapman, Coava - Portland

11:30 - 22. Ian Levine, Verve - Santa Cruz

11:55 - 23. K. Linsey Kiser, Peregrine - Wash D.C.

12:10 - 24. Eden Marie Abramowicz, Independent - Atlanta

12:30 - 25. Chang Yu, Independent - Organe, CA

12:50 - 26. Paul Halvorsen, Remedy - Oakland

1:10 - 27. Nikolas Krankl, Gelato Bar & Espresso Coffee- Studio City, CA

1:30 - 28. Jared Truby, Verve - Santa Cruz

1:45 - 29. Robbie Britt, Espresso Parts - Olympia, WA

2:05 - 30. Daniel Reed, Houndstooth - Austin

2:25 - 31. Sarah Dooley, Espresso Parts & Olympia Coffee Co. - Olympia, WA

2:45 - 32. Sam Penix - Everyman Espresso - NYC

3:00 - 33. Jacque DesMarais, The Coffee Ethic - Springfield, MO

3:20 - 34. Cody Kinart, Alterra - Milwaukee

3:40 - 35. Jessica Brooks, Allegro - Denver

4:00 - 36. Sarah Peterson, Verve - Santa Cruz

4:20 - 37. Mike Jones, Third Rail - NYC

4:40 - 38. Joseph Palozzi, Kobrick’s - Jersey City, NJ

registered competitors as of Tuesday, April 26. list subject to change.


The Little Grinder That Can

Link: The little grinder that can

Our friends at TampTamp review the Hario Skerton, our favorite at home/on the road burr grinder



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