What's the Deal With the Guy and the Truck

The guy is Robin Saunders of Wallace Farms, Blantyre, Malawi.  The sack is 20 kilos of Malawi Peaberry.  And this is about as a direct buy as you can get.  
Robin dropped the coffee off at Casa Mia (highly recommend) the day before I fly home.

Of course, I tried to make it all safe and sound for the journey home.Check out the loafers...
And after two days journey homeAnd 

Finally in the green stacks (laugh)

Ready to roast.  Order up some. I will get it to you.
Posted by jeremy raths on November 16, 2012. Continue Reading

Music and Coffee.

 Just a wandering mind gives pause now that I have the turntable up and spinning.

 It is fun to find obscure coffees and obscure music.  A crazy natural Honduras and maybe an early James Taylor go well together.

Both are solid but sometimes a little tweak here and there can really create some interesting elements. 

Kopi Luwak is worth at least one cup to try and so is any Mountain album.  Try it once, and only once.

Think of Tanzania AA and Counting Crows.  Okay, pleasurable with a strong statement.  But it is the classics that really derive great value.  Kenya, Colombia, Costa Rica, Sumatra, Ethiopia Harrar all rest on solid bases of quality.  Eric Clapton, Linda Ronstadt, Michael Jackson easily come to mind.  And then there are The Beatles.

Posted by jeremy raths on April 12, 2011. Continue Reading

Roasting Ju-Ju

I really am amazed how therapeutic coffee roasting is. Long nights and grey days drive me to my man cave. The warm red roaster, the aromas, Randy Newman all give me great pleasure. But nothing like roasting. The beans swelling to their almighty right size, the color dancing along the spectrum, the wonderful bread smell, the honeyed warmth all give such incredible pleasure. And knowing that in a few moments even more pleasure will be in folks’ cups is even more fulfilling. What a great job. I get paid for all of this wonderful stuff. Just amazing.

Posted by jeremy raths on December 21, 2009. Continue Reading


Ethiopia Trip Report
Q training and testing.
Addis Ababa
August 23, September 2, 2009

Jeremy Raths
Daniel Mulu
K.C. O’Keefe

Sponsored by Ethiopia Commodity Exchange, Fintrac, Compete, Coffee Quality Institute, USAID.

What a pleasure.
The extended schedule added an amazing amount of success for adding such a small amount of time. The schedule gave us the time to teach the very basic foundations which lead to incredible success in the tests. The students had the time to understand the functions behind the tests and exercises. This led to a deeper knowledge and grasp of the concepts of the Q.
The schedule afforded more time to develop proper protocol and kept the time pressures away from the environment. The pressure to hurry up has led to a certain panic and chaos in other experiences.
The additional time worked in conjunction with an organized schedule. The three instructors, K.C. O’Keefe, Daniel Mulu and myself, had tasks assigned and had the ability to prepare future exercises and roll one after another in a sensible fashion.
The competence of the three instructors greatly added to the success of the class . Mutual respect and the recognition of different styles and knowledge base greatly enhanced the students’ instruction and learning. The ability to lean on each other allowed all three instructors to give value to the class. It was a wonderful synergy of personalities and styles.
All of these positives still do not explain the tremendous success of this particular class. Twenty folks, competent, spirited, serious, intelligent, but, above all open to learning demonstrated an amazing level of expertise. They did it all. They learned the foundation which allowed them to succeed at the tests. They helped each other and supported each other when appropriate. But, in the testing they realized that the integrity of the Q is based on their own personal integrity. What a breath of fresh air. No pressure to cheat. No signs or even hints of cheating occurred. The students were good, very good. They are blessed with above average sensory skills. The have solid coffee knowledge and cupping skills. They all learned the SCAA cupping form in short order. Even the clean cup, sweetness and uniformity sections were understood and mastered. They increased sensory vocabulary during the tasting and smelling local products. The connection between common goods in their world and coffee sensations was made quickly and solidly. The idea that vocabulary is both local and universal was quickly grasped by all the students. Man, these guys are good. There was no apparent status. The students treated each other with respect. They all pitched in to clean. They all pitched in to run the cuppings in good order.
. They supported each other and the process. Attuned, involved, excited. A real pleasure.


K.C.’s report is an amazing document. It is a tangible representation of his analytical abilities and his dedication to doing things right. He was a pleasure to work with. Daniel Mulu is a generous spirited person. His preparation of the site and folks speak to his skills logistically. His heart is huge and he provided enthusiastic encouragement to KC, myself and mostly to the students. I really look forward to working with both of these guys. What a pleasure.

Posted by jeremy raths on December 13, 2009. Continue Reading

Tom Watson.

Amazing stuff. Tom has really created a huge spirit for all of us Boomers.

Many of us coffee folks have had conversations over the years regarding the loss of physical ability as we grow wise. Smell and taste are the core of our industry. Cupping and evaluating coffees are central to our growth. But the small losses are more than made up by the ongoing experiences.

Just like Tom we know the bumps and the higglies. We know classic coffees. We know the ins and outs of roasting. The subtle developments. The clever ways to attempt to get the perfect cup. Our cupping memories are called upon. Kenyas are compared to the great Kenyas of the past. Sumatras are judged for wonderful body. Naturals are revered for wonderul dark fruit and hints of courageous character.

Classic brewings styles are enjoyed not because they are the current fad but because they get to the perfect cup a different way.

Like a bump and run or a flop shot or chip….If it goes in the hole it is perfect.

And we all are chasing the perfect cup.

Posted by jeremy raths on July 19, 2009. Continue Reading

So What to do?

So what to do.

The increase in costs to small roaster from Trans Fair has really got me looking for another way to support the sustainability of the coffee chain.

I rarely roast and sell Fair Trade coffees. They do not really appeal to me on the cupping table. It is difficult to sell guilt, and a sticker.

So now what.
I have a few customers who really want the sticker.

After checking out Rainforest Alliance at the SCAA show in Atlanta I have found my partner.

Rainforest is inclusive. The focus is on all aspects of the coffee business. The focus is on sustainability. Traceability, administration, and defense of the seal’s integrity are all there.
I feel confident that Rainforest Alliance will provide more positive growth for sustainability through out the entire coffee chain.

Look for the little green froggie.

Please go to www.rainforest-alliance.org for more information.

Posted by jeremy raths on June 09, 2009. Continue Reading

Coffee Research Foundation

Classic varietal.

Posted by jeremy raths on February 27, 2009. Continue Reading

Final trip report....

Hey folks,
Here it is.
Notice I have Rwanda available right now. Order some.

Posted by jeremy raths on February 23, 2009. Continue Reading

Hanging out in Africa.

Thoughts while getting a work out: Irony. Of course we westerners need to burn calories by creating excercise. But looking out the window while on the stationary bike watching the hundreds of thin folks stream by on foot brought home the massive irony. We have a huge share of calories, to our detriment.

We just finished a week of Q training. We taught 23 courses, gave alot of exams. Cuppings, triangulation, sensory skills, aromatics, on and on. Lots of work, emotion and success. The Uganda coffee industry is just at the door of specialty and Q grade coffees. By training folks to determine quality the industry will now capture those excellent coffees and put them in the specialty world. Bigger bucks for better quality.

I look forward to seeing those coffees in the market.



Posted by jeremy raths on January 24, 2009. Continue Reading

Whew....Passed the Bar.

Or so it seems. It was gruelling in Honduras. But I did manage to get my Licensed Q Grader Certification. What does that mean. Hard to quantify but it sures give me credibility in the coffee world.

Twenty-Two tests designed to determine ability to discern coffee qualities. Aroma, taste, cupping, knowledge all tested fairly but with exacting determination. The best series was the triangulation tests. Three cups of coffee, two types. Pick the odd one. Great stuff.
Origins and processing varieties discovered in the cup. What a great way to evaluate abilities.

I recommend this activity for any and all folks interested in great coffees.


Posted by jeremy raths on October 06, 2008. Continue Reading
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