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 of Operations + Sustainability Brent Piepergerdes were host to Kevin on this visit.
One of the most rewarding experiences in the coffee industry is visiting origin. There is nothing quite like the connection of meeting the farmers, walking along the countryside, and comprehending the amazing journey just one bean takes from its perfectly timed individual harvest to a brewed cup at our shop.
The visit to La Palma & El Tucan took this experience even a step further, as they introduced to us the new methods in agricultural practices and processing they are exploring. From companion planting and boutique varietal coffee plants to experimental processing methods, the coffees were truly extraordinary. Through their hard work and extended efforts in devotion to quality, it was completely reflected in the cup.
Everything on the farm and at the processing mill was extremely well planned out and executed. A custom built, state of the art processing mill will now provide a resource for their community in their Neighbors and Crops Program, a program designed to revitalize the quality of the coffee for the entire area. The long term benefits for this community will be transformative.
Another notable aspect of the farm was their commitment to the environment. Numerous solar panels were installed to provide renewable sources of energy. The separated chaff was dried and used for fuel for the drying bin. All the water was recycled to reduce consumption, and the separated cherries were taken down the hill to a composting area for use as fertilizer. It was amazing to see everything they do go full circle without any waste.
La Palma y El Tucan is developing and have set a whole new standard and model for specialty coffee production I personally cannot wait to try the new coffees that will become available in a few years. It is such an exciting time for everyone involved at each level in the coffee industry. Sharing these stories with our guests at Greyhouse completes the experience we strive to create: connecting the dots, creating community, and pursuing excellent coffee.