This evening I went for cocktails at the Beaker and Flask in south east Portland. The place is pretty busy and they have a seating policy which doesn't allow for a standing room situation. I started out with a bourbon based absinthe drink.
They source the bar ware from estate sales and antique shops, so our glasses were vintage and fantastic.
Our Bartender, Elizabeth, was really sharp. While she was crafting my cocktails she told me about her sourcing trip to Kentucky. She and I had a great conversation about bourbon, she selected a barrel and brought it back for the bar. I followed up with an old fashion with monster ice cubes and a giant slice of orange peel.
Dinner was at Lovely Hula Hands, another great experience. Roasted beat and potato salad with fennel, calabrian chiles and creamy horseradish. Followed by a caramelized cauliflower risotto. Desert tied it together; house made brown sugar ice cream with a cakey ginger bread. Not to sweet, good texture.
(Pic:The nursery at Hacienda Santa Rosa/aka Buena Esperanza/El Plan/Cerro Verde) Buying direct isn't a well defined term and we all have our own interpretation. A staff discussion about another roaster 'well, they are new. Don't roasters do direct buying later on....'. Since that roaster already dresses the coffees and talks about the importance of farm relationships, so the question of why they weren't buying direct yet was topical. We can't speak for the industry peers, but for barismo, it was a core value from the beginning. We went down and started sourcing directly with visits and purchases our first year. We set up our business in Jan 2008 but didn't open until late summer with our first few direct buys in hand. Thise first buys amounted to over 40k or about what we put into roasted gear. We felt both were of equal importance if we wanted to be taken seriously. It was a bit of a risk to drop that much money on coffee when we could have focused on turning spot coffees every 30 days. We felt without the farm relationship, it would just be selling coffees we didn't really know that well. This was eight years ago, so it was really not as common a thing to source directly. The idea was that you can't dip your toes in the water, you have to invest early if you want to build real meaningful change. Waiting would have made it much harder to get off of spot buying and into sourcing directly. Now we have farmers like Gustavo (Hacienda Santa Rosa) that we really truly collaborate with (coming up on 5 years). We find ourselves in contact with many of our partners at the farm level year round because the farm and roasting businesses are tied together. They are excited, and should be, by our success because they share top billing in it. #coffee #directtrade #barismocoffee
4 weeks ago