Nancy Hernandez Contreras of Finca Jasmin and Aroma Cafe. Nancy and Arturo put me up for the week and introduced me to friends, farmers and favorite coffees. Along with owning her own cafe and roaster, she also grows some of the finest coffee I have ever tasted, and she's served on the COE panel the last several years. One of my favorite parts of her operation is that she roasts and provides nuanced feedback along with harvesting / processing recommendations to anyone from Marcala who gives her samples.
Just some quick field notes here from our most recent origin trip, destination: La Paz, Honduras.
On last year’s trip passing through the same area, Alex and I had the good fortune of being introduced to a young couple, Nancy and Arturo Contreras. Over the past year we have remained in touch, connecting with my high school Spanish, Skype, and over a stiff coffee crawl at last year’s SCAA show in Seattle. This year I bought a ticket to spend a week with them, cupping coffee, roasting coffee, meeting with their friends and local producers in the growing regions surrounding and unified by Marcala, and just generally falling in love with the place and its people all over again, even more.
The trip framed itself around the first day’s cupping, when from 30 samples I selected six stand-out favorites. Over the next five days Nancy and Arturo introduced me to the men and women who had grown and processed these coffees. And in between, overladen with the excessive warmth, generosity and communal hospitality, there were such studded gems as being allowed to roast two batches of amazing coffee at Aroma Café, as being granted full access to Denominacion de Origen's coffee lab and sample roasting equipment, as gorgeous hikes to stunning waterfalls with no name, as being lent a Toyota pick-up truck to drive to one of my favorite farms from last year’s visit, and as of being asked to lead a class and demonstration on various filter coffee methods as part of a three-day event hosted by the Denominación de Origen.
We have been posting and will continue to share photos that celebrate some of these rare moments, all of which continue to remind me of the richly rewarding and inexhaustibly powerful experience that is the world of specialty coffee and its devoted participants. It is our sincerest hope that we may share a little of that rare magic with you and, get ready: because we’re in the process of buying some very, very special little beans from some seriously awesome people.
RoastCo's gearing up for our Off The Grid debut over at Fort Mason this Friday, March 14. The event's scheduled for the nighttime, between 5pm and 11pm. It's going to be beautiful, it's going to be fun and it'll probably be super dreamy. Come by if you're in the area and say hi – we'll be serving up Las Claveles, El Salvador on our modded three-group, lever-pull Astoria and spinning milk drinks with milk from St. Benoit Creamery. We also couldn't be any more excited about our dawning collaboration with our friends from Sugar Knife, and we'll be featuring their – well, whatever, they're the best marshmallows we've ever had; find out for yourselves. We'll be offering them with any drink you like, but they're perhaps most magical and melty in a hot chocolate. Oh, and the folks from Off The Grid have decided to set up such harbor-side entertainment as Ski Ball and shuffleboard to liven up what should be a pretty frothy mix of Friday night revelry. Check out the buzz below or just cruise by.