TAKE A VIDEO VOYAGE TO GUATEMALA WITH PRIMAVERA COFFEE
For green coffee buyers, the harvest season is a time of excitement and anticipation as they show up at coffee origins, passport and cupping spoon in hand, to select which lots they want to purchase. In recognition of the fact that the COVID-19 pandemic will keep most coffee roasters from going on origin trips this year, Guatemalan coffee exporters Primavera Coffee have put together a nine-part video series about Guatemalan coffee farming. For those of us in the coffee industry who don’t regularly travel to coffee-producing countries, it’s an intimate look at what is often the most opaque part of the supply chain.
Listen as Kim Staalman narrates different approaches to pruning, harvest practices, and fermentation techniques. But be warned: far from satiating our wanderlust, after watching the series we want to visit Guatemala more than ever!
For many coffee pros, Stuart Ritson needs no introduction. The former chair of the Barista Guild has worn many hats in the coffee industry, including serving as Cafe Imports’ director of European Sales. In 2019 Ritson left that position to take some personal time and reevaluate his long-term goals. After that sabbatical, Ritson launch his own consulting company, a roasting project, and is working to amplify the voice of charities working at coffee origins.
We recently caught up with Ritson over Zoom to learn about his new projects and how taking some time off gave him a new perspective.
How did you get started in coffee?
I was in my last year of college and needed a job. I applied at all sorts of places and nothing stuck. I got an interview at a café and bakery that was re-opening. The new owner had a real focus on specialty coffee. I really fell in love with coffee and wanted to stick it out.
After that, I started with Monocle to run their café in London. It gave me a chance to be hands-on running something, but I didn’t stick that out too long.
I realized my skills are better behind the bar than on the bar, so I joined Workshop Coffee for 3 or so years. I was their wholesale manager and trainer. All sorts of stuff. It was a very formative time for me. By the end, I was cupping like a pro.
In 2019 I left Cafe Imports to take a personal break and work out what I really wanted to be doing. I now have a really broad portfolio of what I do. In essence, I source green coffee, I roast for another brand, and my own brand, Untitled Coffee….
Just over five years ago I learned that Turkey would be hosting a Q grading course for the first time, and that it just so happened that it was going to be the week after I already was going to be in Istanbul on a planned visit. It had long been a professional goal of mine to take the course, so I arranged to stay an extra week.
That week would prove to be one of the most challenging of my coffee career. We tasted table after table of coffee. Blind triangulations. Aroma identification. Roast ID. It was grueling and exhausting. To make matters worse, I burned my tongue on a hot dessert the night before the first day of testing, but somehow managed to pass all 20 tests and earn a Q license.
Perhaps tne of the most valuable parts of the course for me was meeting the other coffee professionals. Having not met any of them before, by the end of the week I felt as though we were old army buddies who had been in the trenches together.
One of those coffee professionals was Ulaş Tüze, the owner and head roaster of Kahverengi Roastery. With locations in Çanakkale and Bozcaada- an island in the Aegean Sea— Kahverengi was one of the few specialty coffee shops outside of a major urban center in Turkey. Although I’ve long wanted to visit Bozcaada, (which produces some of Turkey’s finest wines), I was pleasantly surprised to learn Ulaş was opening a café just a few blocks from my flat in Istanbul’s Nişantaşı neighborhood….
The Zurich University of Applied Sciences has announced a new post-graduate certificate in partnership with the Specialty Coffee Association. According to the SCA’s press release.
The program consists of four modules and takes a total of 12 months. The curriculum includes an overview of botany, farm management, the science of roasting, and sensory analysis. In addition to the certificate, participants will earn 12 hours in academic credit upon finishing the program. According to SCA CEO Yannis Apostolopoulos, the program is one step closer to the SCA’s long-term goal of establishing a master’s degree in coffee studies at partnering universities.
The initial year of the program will be limited to 50 students. Tuition and fees for the program total 7,400 Swiss Francs.
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