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Burundi Cup of Excellence 2014
Thursday, August 21, 2014 - 10:06 AM - 6 days, 7 hours ago   - 1. TMC Members' Coffee Blogs  - James and Anette's Square Mile Weblog
Burundi Cup of Excellence 2014
I’ve just returned from Bujumbura where I’ve again had the pleasure of serving on the International jury for their COE. This was my second time on the Burundi jury, I was also at their first competition in 2012 and I was excited to go back and see how the coffees have evolved. Susie and Sherri The Burundian coffee industry as a whole is going through a lot of changes. All washing stations in the country used to be government owned, but more and more private companies have moved into the market, buying old factories and building new ones. In the past, Burundi has had a lot of machinery and equipment for processing at their disposal, but have lacked the training and infrastructure to fully take advantage of it. The potato defect that has plagued the coffees has been an obstacle for buyers in the specialty market, and at the risk of a high frequency of defect cups it has been a challenge for the Burundian farmers to get better prices for their top quality selections. When I cupped the COE lots in 2012, every table of 10 coffees would have 3-5 of them disqualified for potato, a devastating situation. Last year, some 60% of the coffees were lost, a catastrophic result. But somehow, this year we’d cup table after table without any potato. In fact, of the 60 coffees that were passed through to the international jury by the national jury, only 5 were cut for potato, an incredible reduction and a great springboard to identify the root of the problem and how to eradicate it even further. Near unlimited drying space at the Mumwira washing station Little boy big bucket Using pulp to fertilse the pineapples Growing beans in raised compost beds It’s still unclear as to what has caused the great reduction in potato this year, but interestingly Rwanda has seem a similar decrease, and between the two countries researchers will have far more useful data to analyze. One theory is that the farmers have been spraying more and in different patterns, synchronizing their efforts to collectively combat the antestia bug. When hundreds or even thousands of farmers deliver to the same washing station, it doesn’t help if just some of them spray, they all have to pull together to create a consistently high scoring, defect free cup. Full focus in discussions Jeremie ran a tight ship in the cupping room Jurors from the US, Japan, Norway, the UK, Czech Rep, Burundi, Thailand, Italy, Kenya, Australia and Belgium Another is that the drought they had this year has led to a drier, less bacteria and fungus friendly environment. It’s not uncommon to smell the potato in the air as you walk around the countryside, especially after a rainfall. The rise in numbers of washing stations might also have helped, spreading the harvest across more facilities have given the producers more time to focus on sorting and grading. The producers themselves report that in on-cycle years (high crop) there is less potato, while in the off-cycle year (low crop) there is more potato. They suspect that after a high yielding year the trees are fatigued and less able to resist the causes of the potato, and that perhaps a bi-cyclical strategy in fertilizing could help balance out the nutrients and make the trees healthier and stronger in consecutive years. The ACE are actively engaged in funding research for combating potato and other issues in coffee, through initiatives like their Potato Taste Challenge Prize . Kettles everywhere Chartree and Anette Jury selfie after 40 coffees in a morning Matt and Oli, dirtiest aprons of the week Aurelie and Anette After a week of cupping the award ceremony was held at the Arfic warehouse in Bujumbura. we got a change to meet many of the companies involved in the Burundian coffee industry, chat to farmers, millers and exporters, drink coffee and enjoy the drummers and dancers. Congratulation to all the winners, good luck in the auction, and thanks for a great week! Discussing coffee, potato and prices with the farmers Hostesses Sam from Buf in Rwanda and Anette Drummers and dancers Dancers Mpanga washing station. Winners!

Day eight of my travel diary, the end
Sunday, August 17, 2014 - 02:29 PM - 1 week, 3 days ago   - 1. TMC Members' Coffee Blogs  - Steve Leighton's HasBean Weblog
So we get to the end of my diary. You set out worth the best of intentions on the 1st of January to keep a diary, but it normally fails by day 3. well I got all the way to the end, so permission to feel smug. The last day is a day of great… Continue Reading

Day seven of my travel diary, Caranarvi
Saturday, August 16, 2014 - 05:24 PM - 1 week, 3 days ago   - 1. TMC Members' Coffee Blogs  - Steve Leighton's HasBean Weblog
Today I take a trip to visit David Vilca and Tedacio Mamani and get thinking more about the future of Bolivian coffee. This trip has caused much thinking, and heres my monologue

Day Six of my coffee Trip Caranavi
Friday, August 15, 2014 - 12:13 PM - 1 week, 5 days ago   - 1. TMC Members' Coffee Blogs  - Steve Leighton's HasBean Weblog
So today I’m in the same place for 24 hours. No cars, no planes, no mountain bikes sitting in a lovely lab cupping lovely coffees. But still time to think and still time to worry about the star of Bolivian coffee. and worry I do, we could be witnessing the permanent decline of Bolivian coffee.… Continue Reading

Day Five my coffee trip in La Paz
Thursday, August 14, 2014 - 10:07 PM - 1 week, 5 days ago   - 1. TMC Members' Coffee Blogs  - Steve Leighton's HasBean Weblog
A little later than I might of hoped, but the one thing about Bolivia is the internet sucks. I’m living my life through a gprs signal, and downloading an email takes 5 mins, let alone uploading g some audio. but we are here, it has nothing to do with coffee, but a little to do… Continue Reading

Book Review: The Coffee Roaster’s Companion
Wednesday, August 13, 2014 - 03:01 PM - 2 weeks ago   - 1. TMC Members' Coffee Blogs  - WBC 2007 World Champion James Hoffmann's jimseven
Book Review: The Coffee Roaster’s Companion
In the past I’ve written up lists of recommended reading, and there is always one question that comes up that, I have struggled to answer: “What book should I buy on coffee roasting?” Until today the options have been limited to Ken David’s book , or the harder to find little books like Gerhard A. Jensen’s “Coffee Roasting” . Neither are likely to make you an better at roasting, whether you roast at home or roast commercially. Roasting is a tricky business, and learning to roast feels more like trial and error than anything else. Many companies consider their roasting techniques and approaches proprietary, and have traditionally been unwilling to share. I’m actually a believer in proprietary information, and when I found out Scott Rao was going to write a book on coffee roasting this inspired further action for me at work. I had little doubt that this was going to be a book that was going to make coffee, across the whole industry, significantly better. I have not been disappointed. Writing about roasting chemistry is difficult, and I think Scott has done an impressive job in cutting to the chase and presenting the important stuff in a way that seems real and accessible. While we understand the Chlorogenic acids are important, the whole discussion of them in roasting or brewing often feels abstract – here they do not. What most people will want to read straight away are the practical roasting sections. Scott himself acknowledges this, but I would heed his note: “I implore the reader to study the entire book and not focus solely on the “how to” chapters. Experience with my previous books has taught me that readers who cherry-pick the parts that appeal to them end up missing some of the big picture, leading them to misapply some recommendations” I’m not going to cover the practical information in the book, other than to say that it is valuable and I definitely learned a good deal on my first couple of read throughs. Discussion of Rate of Rise (RoR), development, and things like ΔT are important, useful and ultimately very helpful. Scott has a very practical, methodical approach and I have no doubt that we’ll be looking at how we can implement his advice in a variety of places at work. I’m also delighted to see a section on sample roasting – something that it is almost impossible to find any good resources on. Some people will reject what is in here, as it is contrary to their practices or beliefs. We’ve presented roasting as an art, as a personal expression of a roaster, so opinions that don’t validate what some people do can feel like criticism. They’re not – they’re opportunities to get better. Scott is cautious throughout to state that he’s trying to open up discussion. I think he’s given coffee roasters a base language that will allow us to better express the green coffees that we love, that we want to share and showcase to their full potential. I don’t think I absolutely agree with everything Scott writes, but I feel in a much better place when it comes to discussing that, arguing my point, and pushing my understanding of roasting to achieve the cup of coffee that we have in my heads. You can buy the book direct from Scott. If you have any dealings with roasting coffee then I suspect this may be the best $45 you’ll spend. The Coffee Roaster’s Companion – $45

Day Four my coffee trip in Bogota
Wednesday, August 13, 2014 - 10:15 AM - 2 weeks ago   - 1. TMC Members' Coffee Blogs  - Steve Leighton's HasBean Weblog
today is less coffee farm more coffee, I’m cupping in the labs of the exporter and talking coffee. I talk about the interesting set up in Colombia and why theres been a sea change in the varietals seen here

More Colombian Ramblings pt3
Tuesday, August 12, 2014 - 12:43 PM - 2 weeks, 1 day ago   - 1. TMC Members' Coffee Blogs  - Steve Leighton's HasBean Weblog
Day three of my travel diary sees me in Tarqui in Huila Colombia and visiting one of the finest farmers we buy from any where. Alexis Trujillo owns just one hector of land, which means he produces around 10-12 bags a year in total. I wanted to see how a small producer can make a… Continue Reading

Distributing/Selling The World Atlas of Coffee
Tuesday, August 12, 2014 - 11:35 AM - 2 weeks, 1 day ago   - 1. TMC Members' Coffee Blogs  - WBC 2007 World Champion James Hoffmann's jimseven
Distributing/Selling The World Atlas of Coffee
After the last blog post I received a lot of emails and tweets from various people asking about selling the Atlas in their cafe, in their online shop etc, from around the world. So – if you’re a coffee business of any kind then hopefully this will be of interest to you… I should be clear that I’m just the author, not the publisher – so I have limited control over somethings. However, it would mean a lot to me to have cafes supporting the book and I definitely want to do whatever I can to enable this and get distributors access to good pricing, to make this worthwhile. I want this to be useful to any coffee business in every way possible. Worldwide the English language edition will be out in October. Translations won’t be out until June next year, though the English version will be available via distributors. There are currently translations planned (but not confirmed) for French, Spanish, Dutch, Czech, Portuguese, Japanese, Korean and Chinese. Hopefully more to follow! To help make all this easier I had a quick chat with the publisher and figured I would start with collecting the information of companies that would be interested. I can hopefully work with distributors and my publisher to sort out direct access to books. There will likely be a minimum order to get wholesale pricing, but I don’t know what that is yet. There are a couple of boxes to check, relating to potential events. Nothing is confirmed yet, but I travel a lot and (while most authors tell you to avoid book signings) there may be a chance to do something creative if I am a town or city where people are stocking it. I am also working on an idea for a launch event that I’d like to try and coordinate nationally (and internationally if possible) that could be a more interesting way to do a book launch, and also get consumers a little more excited and curious about the possibilities of coffee. Nothing below is a commitment of any kind – just collecting contact info at this stage. Thanks again to those who’ve gotten in touch, the response has been lovely and I’m grateful that so many people want to support the book. Loading…

Colombian Ramblings Pt2
Monday, August 11, 2014 - 11:10 AM - 2 weeks, 2 days ago   - 1. TMC Members' Coffee Blogs  - Steve Leighton's HasBean Weblog
I managed to make it to day two. You hit the amount if listens I set in my head to the number, and a few of you emailed in to say how much you enjoyed them, so today you get an even longer one. I expect tomorrows to be a little shorter, but for now… Continue Reading

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