By Forrest Wright, PT’s Retail Manager La Palma y El Tucan is a new operation working on a large area outside of Bogota. They currently produce their own crops as well as process harvests from a few surrounding farms, making them the hub of a small network. They are experimenting with everything from… Continue Reading
In February of this year, Bird Rock Coffee Roasters and PT’s Coffee Roasting Company joined forces. As a result of this new partnership, both companies will see expanded coffee offerings by this summer. We hope customers of both companies will enjoy what we have in store for this year and for many years to come. Not only is this merger beneficial for our customers, it will benefit the long-time Direct Trade partners of both companies as the growers get access to two growing companies instead of one.
In 2002, I founded Bird Rock Coffee Roasters and now am the green coffee buyer for both Bird Rock Coffee Roasters and PT’s. Jeff Taylor, PT’s co-owner and the new owner of Bird Rock Coffee Roasters, and I have known each other for over 10 years and have traveled parallel paths in the coffee industry. We both built our companies on great coffee and by establishing Direct Trade relationships with wonderful farms all over the world. Both companies have strong Direct Trade partners, such as Hacienda Esmeralda in Panama. Each company has also forged relationships with different farms in different countries, thus providing an exciting opportunity to join Direct Trade forces.
Central America is an important region for most coffee buyers and especially for Bird Rock and PT’s. Both companies have spent the better part of the last 10 years searching for great coffee in this region. In the greater coffee world, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, and Panama are perhaps the most common coffees customers encounter at third wave coffee shops, so even the most passive coffee customer is somewhat familiar with what each region has to offer.
While I have been to Central America countless times, this sourcing trip was scheduled to be a bit longer and more ambitious as we wanted to cover a lot of ground in one shot.
Unfortunately, things have been difficult for many of the Central American coffee producers during the last few years. The roya outbreak a few years ago devastated many trees and some of the affected farms never recovered. The 2016-2017 harvest yields are significantly down in just about every country. While we have been used to water issues/drought in California for years, a prolonged drought in Central America is a new problem. In addition to not having enough water for the crops, in many cases farms do not have enough water to properly process their coffee. As a result, quantity is way down. The good news is quality seems to be up and if the April rains were sufficient as hoped, the 2017-2018 crop could be huge.
To be continued…
Editor’s Note: Kevin Kerkhof is the General Manager of Greyhouse Coffee & Supply Co. in West Lafayette, Indiana. When possible, we like to invite our wholesale customers to join us on trips to origin as a way to further connect the relationship between our farmers and our customers. Our Retail Manager Forrest Wright and Director… Continue Reading
January-February 2014 As always, the weather in Guatemala in January and February was especially invigorating. This year in particular, it provided an extra welcome relief from an exceptionally cold and snowy winter here in the Midwest. The prospect of trading my office for the outdoors is a much appreciated benefit, but make no mistake, our… Continue Reading
Some more thoughts from El Salvador: Coffee people LOVE coffee. With so many first dates, profound conversations and creative epiphanies had at the mercy of coffee, how can we not? And of course the fullest expression of this romanticism waits at origin. Nothing short of pure magic exists in these places for those of us… Continue Reading
A couple of weeks ago I had the distinct privilege and pleasure of going to El Salvador to meet Aida Batlle during my first origin trip with PT’s Coffee. Senora Batlle is one of our Direct Trade partners, and the producer behind Finca Kilimanjaro which will be re-launched later this year. The context for my… Continue Reading
Last year, bandits raided Finca Santa Maria leaving Armando Benavides, his wife Magaly, and his children Valeria and Juan Pablo with the possibility of losing their entire harvest. You can read Jeff’s account of the awful incident, originally posted in May of last year. Thanks to you and many of our friends and customers, we endeavored… Continue Reading
UPDATE May 19th, 2014: Many news sites have recently picked up the story of the coffee rust epidemic. To help our customers to better understand what this means, we are re-posting Jeff’s Trip Report from El Salvador, originally published on February 20th, 2014. San Salvador, El Salvador As always, when I arrived in El… Continue Reading
I was working a bar shift at our cafe, PT’s at College Hill, when Jeff and Maritza told me that I would be taking my first farm trip. It was exciting, and I only had six weeks to prepare. As I began my research on Bolivia, I started to realize that this journey was going to be a… Continue Reading
Armando from Finca Santa Maria recently posted a Thank You to everyone through Jeff’s Facebook Page. We are re-posting it here for all to see: From Armando: “En nombre de mi esposa Magaly y mis hijos Valeria y Juan Pablo, muchas gracias a todas las personas y empresas que generosamente nos han dado la mano… Continue Reading