New website

Just so you know-if you find this website…we actually have www.carabellocoffee.com  now so if you landed on this wordpress site, it is an old site and will no longer be updated.  Check out http://www.carabellocoffeee.com  for the updated website!

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Rwanda Cup of Excellence

This past Saturday we reached what I consider to be a milestone of sorts.  We secured and roasted our first Cup of Excellence winning coffee, a Rwandan from the Kayanza washing station that placed #17 in the 2011 Rwandan Cup of Excellence competition.  All week I’ve been enjoying the depth and complexity of a coffee unlike any I’ve ever tasted. 

I consider this significant for several reasons.  For starters, getting our hands on Cup of Excellence wining coffees is not all that easy.  Most of them are never even made available for purchase as they’re gobbled up at International auction by big time American roasters or roasters in foreign countries.  Secondly, they can be pretty pricey as the whole point of the competition is to reward individual farmers who produce exceptional coffees with a higher price.  Finally, a higher price for roasters means a higher price for their customers.  And since we’ve never offered an award-winning coffee before, the jury is out on whether or not you (our customers) will value such a coffee as much as we do!

For those of you who have followed us a while, you know that we want to see the lives of coffee farmers improved.  But this can only happen on a large scale if the International coffee community is willing to begin consistently rewarding quality coffee with a higher price.  Coffee has suffered from decades of it being bought and sold as a “commodity.” 

When green coffee pricing is tied to the commodities market, it basically means that Farmer A gets the same price for his coffee as Farmer B, even though Farmer A worked harder and produced a superior coffee.  In this scenario, there is little to no incentive for Farmer A to invest the time, money and effort into producing superior coffee.  This is the scenario that the Cup of Excellence competition has sought to address and change.  And it’s working.

In each participating nation there is an annual Cup of Excellence competition.  Any individual farmer is allowed to submit a lot of his/her coffee.  All coffees are cupped and scored 5 times by an International jury of coffee professionals.  The top coffees (typically 25-30) win the opportunity to be sold at an International online auction.  The top coffees can go for as much as $30+ USD per pound – a huge incentive.  In this scenario everyone whose coffee is up for auction wins as the prices they receive per pound are nearly always at least 2-3 times what they would typically sell their coffees for.  Plus, they gain the recognition that comes with placing in such a prestigious competition, which brings new relationships and the chance to sell their coffee for better prices in the future.   

So… start getting ready for Rwanda Kayanza Bourbon Cup of Excellence #17.  It will be about a month before we put this out to you.  I am spending time getting the roast parameters just right.  I promise you it will be worth the wait!

 

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More than just a beverage!

Lately the head custodian at our school and I have been spending more time connecting with each other.  While his office has been across the hall from my room for two years, it seems that what has been bringing us together as of late is, well, you guessed it… our mutual love for coffee.  He has a little 4-cup coffee maker in his office and we keep taking turns making each other a cup at strategic points throughout the week.  At times I’ll be in the middle of a lesson when he’ll stick his head in my doorway to let me know he’s getting ready to brew a pot of Honduran.  And on some days those words seem to come straight from heaven

But what is it about coffee that brings people together?  Since it stormed into the world hundreds of years ago it has not failed to be something that unites people.  Recently I read a book that cited a little fact about coffee when it made its way to London.  It first hit the city in the 1780s, and within the next twenty years 2,000 cafes sprung up in the city.  Two thousand!  That’s a crazy number.   

Revolutions, artistic movements, political strategizing and more have been linked to coffee houses and mankind’s crazed love of the roasted bean down through the centuries.  For example, Les Six, a group of six French composers that included the likes of Claude Debussy regularly met in Parisian cafes to discuss a new form of music we call impressionism today.  Ideas and coffee, art and coffee, music and coffee… do I see a right brain thing going on here?

And it’s no different for many of us.  We too regularly meet our friends, family and business associates over a cup of coffee.  We talk deeply about our lives, what we believe, our hopes and dreams… or maybe how much our kids are driving us up a wall at the moment!   Even yesterday I heard a piece on NPR about doctors who assist horses as they’re giving birth – excuse the lack of technical terminology here.  In interviewing one Lexington, KY doctor, the first thing he said he always does after the birth is make a pot of “barn coffee.”  

Yes, coffee is way more than just a beverage.  The sound of the grinder and the smell of the aroma are often enjoyed in the company of the people we love the most.  For some crazy reason, God seems to have embedded something in the little bean that, when roasted, ground and brewed is deeply connected to our desire to connect with one another.  In fact, the first conversation I had my wife was over a cappuccino at Rhos Street Cafe in Clifton. 

So, for me, I will continue to look forward to those little moments throughout the week when Rick sticks his head in my room and let’s me know he’s getting ready to make some coffee!   How about you?  Do you have a coffee story?  Share it and I’ll post it to our blog!/

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We love our customers!

One of the things Emily and I love most about what is happening with Carabello Coffee is the fact that we have a relationship with nearly everyone who scoops, grinds, brews and sips our coffee.  Sometimes I look down the list of people who have placed orders and think, “these are my friends, my co-workers, my neighbors… real people who love and support us!”  I remember sitting with my family in the fall of 2009 talking about this crazy coffee roasting idea I suddenly had on a plane ride.  As we talked that memorable weekend the big question that kept swirling around in my head was, “will people actually want to buy our coffee?”  Well, apparently they do, much to my surprise and pleasure.  

Emily and I often remark that it seems that doing this has been the most affirming thing we’ve ever experienced.  YOU have been so supportive, so encouraging, so willing to get behind the vision and see it happen.  Our hearts are full of gratitude for all the wonderful ways in which you go out of your way to be a part of this mission.  You’ve driven out of your way, spent extra money for postage, met us in parking lots and dark alleys, all so that we can have something to give to others.  We love the fact that you are that committed.  

Thank you.  From the bottom of our hearts, THANK YOU!  We are very loved and supported.  May God richly bless each of you!    

Have you ever checked out Rohs Street Cafe in Clifton? It is one of the few cafes that we feel like serves really high quality coffee with great latte art and a great mission!  Plus we love it because we met there on a blind date 🙂  They just put hand painted mugs out for sale and we couldn’t resist!

We had a great trip to Muncie Alliance Church-which runs World Alliance Coffee, and checked out their headquarters.

We had a great trip to Muncie Alliance Church-which runs World Alliance Coffee, and checked out their headquarters.  Everyone was very hospitable, and we walked away with lots to think about!

 

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Green Dog Cafe update

Hello Carabello Coffee fans!  

Some fun things to update you on!  First of all, we are sitting in Green Dog Cafe on Columbia Parkway enjoying their delicious breakfast and happy that our coffee is once again for sale here!  If you have not been here, you have to check it out!

Local, organic, healthy, delicious and affordable.  What more can you ask for??  Strangely, they do not serve our coffee but they sell if in bags.  So…come on down, check out their food, and tell them you wish you could order a brewed cup of Carabello coffee!  So if you live near Columbia Tusculum, this is a great way to pick up coffee easily. 

Today we are headed to Muncie, IN to check out a coffee company called Alliance World Coffees.  They are also using their profit for good, and we want to see how they run their company.  They are a great fusion of ministry and business, and we are excited to meet them!  


 

 

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Slurp, Chew, Spit

Today was our first coffee tasting: Coffee Nova vs. 1 and it was a success!  Check out some of the pictures of us slurping, chewing and spitting the coffee back out during our coffee cupping.  Lots was learned, and we all came away with a greater appreciation for all the work that goes into making specialty coffee great!

It was decided that the Ethiopian Sidamo is “floral, chocolate, dried apricot and apple cinnamon” and that the Sulawesi tasted “earthy and deep.”  Pretty good for a bunch of novices 🙂  We look forward to doing more coffee events soon!  

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Shop Fair trade for Valentines’ Day!

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