CoffeeFest Recap / by Bryan Hibbard

I am back in Texas and totally jazzed from a highly over-caffeinated weekend at CoffeeFest (a trade show for the specialty coffee industry).  It was an amazing experience to be fully inundated with the world of coffee. There are so many awesome and passionate people in the coffee world and I found it to be a very helpful and inviting place for a new little coffee roaster like me. I got the opportunity to taste coffee from some of the best roasters in the nation. I also went to sessions hosted by the leaders of this industry. It was both inspiring and overwhelming. In the weeks to come I hope to share with you some of the knowledge I gathered and my plans for moving Fort Bend Coffee Roasters forward.

We will be back at the Imperial Farmer's Market this Saturday (Oct. 12). Be sure to stop by for a cup or a bag. 

Today I want to talk briefly about the farmer's that grow the beans I roast. I went to a few classes that explained the farming and processing methods in depth and I have a much greater appreciation for the work that happens before I get my bag of green coffee beans. The great thing about high grade beans like I buy is that they represent the work of a farmer who has a great understanding of their product and who desires a better life for his family and his community. These farmers are truly artisans and they are proud of what they produce.  They have chosen to focus on quality over quantity.

In a class on cupping micro lots I got to hear the story of Arnulfo from Colombia. In 2011, his coffee from his 2-acre farm received the top award for the Colombian Cup of Excellence. In effect, an international team of experts deemed his coffee to be the best crop that came out of Colombia that year. The coffee sold at auction for $41 USD a pound. Arnulfo had produced 2500 pounds and all $41 per pound went directly to him. Arnulfo bought himself a new tractor and some other things, but he still had plenty of money left so he started an organization to support the other growers in his region and to help them produce amazing coffee. His whole region is now consistently producing award-winning coffees. And he has been able to help his entire community improve their quality of life. In a much smaller way, this is what we are doing for the farmers when we pay just a bit more for great coffee.

While at CoffeeFest, I sampled some wonderful Brazilian coffees from the Carmo de Minas region. Little did I know, after telling, Sergio, the guy giving me a sample how great the coffee I had just tasted, he informed me that he was the farmer who produced this coffee. What an amazing experience to enjoy a coffee served by the very farmer who grew it. Needless to say, I am planning on purchasing a bag from their farm so that I can share this great coffee with you.

I love the roasting process, but it can only do so much to enhance the flavor of carelessly farmed coffee. Starting off with a raw artisan product allows me to offer you something amazing that is completely unique and that represents years of care and attention.