Cafe X: This is not a joke

Cafe X: This is not a joke

Henry Hu is the Founder and CEO of Cafe X, the robotic café that opened to curious customers in San Francisco in January.  It has earned rave reviews from publications in the tech and finance sectors, and raised concern in coffee circles of a future without baristas. Today,…

Buyers Notebook: Los Delirios Nicaragua

Buyers Notebook: Los Delirios Nicaragua

As I write this, a collection of coffee giants is stalking the halls of our Chicago Roasting Works: George Howell, Susie Spindler, Paul Songer, Darrin Daniel and members of the Alliance for Coffee Excellence Board of Directors.  The folks who bring you the Cup of Excellence are squirreled away here…

Buyer’s Notebook: La Tortuga Honduras

Buyer’s Notebook: La Tortuga Honduras

Our La Tortuga Honduras takes its name and inspiration from the moral of Aesop’s fable about the tortoise and the hare: slow and steady wins the race. In Central America, the hares are easy to spot.  The great estates of Costa Rica, El Salvador and…

Buyer’s Notebook: Flecha Roja Costa Rica

Buyer’s Notebook: Flecha Roja Costa Rica

The Intelli Sourcing Sessions podcast is back, and just in time: last week marked the start of a month-long run of delicious releases from our Northern Hemisphere partners in Mexico, Central America and East Africa. Today we resume our Buyer’s Notebook series — conversations about…

An Ethiopian Sensory Expedition

An Ethiopian Sensory Expedition

Last week, Gesha Village Coffee Estate in Ethiopia auctioned off 21 nanolots from its 2016/17 harvest.  Average scores for the best-scoring lots topped 91 points and prices were as high as $85 a pound. Today we offer you the first two of four lots from the Gesha Village auction…

What’s in a name?

What’s in a name?

Our single-origin coffees are the very best we have to offer — clearly articulated flavors that deliver on the promise of traditional cultivars, embody the terroir of their source, and reflect the meticulous harvesting, sorting and processing we have come to expect from our Direct Trade partners.  Some of…

Simran Sethi’s love letter to coffee

Simran Sethi’s love letter to coffee

Simran Sethi is a sustainability celebrity.  She has appeared on Ellen, Martha Stewart and Oprah as a sustainability expert and lectured on environmental issues in classrooms and conferences all over the planet.  The Independent of London named her an “eco-hero,” Vanity Fair called her “The Messenger” in its…

Rwanda: Begin at the beginning

Rwanda: Begin at the beginning

I sat down recently with my colleague Geoff Watts in our makeshift studio here in Chicago to record introductions of our two current Rwanda offerings: the single-farm Gaspard lot and the Zirikana lot from Buf Coffee’s Nyarusiza washing station.  Geoff is nothing if not thorough in his…

Introducing the Buyer’s Notebook

Introducing the Buyer’s Notebook

Today we introduce a new podcast feature we are calling the Buyer’s Notebook — the stories behind our coffees in the words of the buyers who bought ’em. The first installment is a conversation with our Ethiopia coffee buyer Geoff Watts about Gesha Village, the extraordinary undertaking…

Serendipity and Revival in Ethiopia

Serendipity and Revival in Ethiopia

Years ago I heard someone draw a distinction between luck and serendipity. He said that luck is an accident. Dumb luck. Serendipity, on the other hand, is a particular kind of luck, and there is nothing dumb about it. Serendipity, he suggested, is the luck…

An Unnatural Purchase

An Unnatural Purchase

Nearly seven years ago, in early 2010, my colleague Geoff Watts wrote five lines that threw shade at natural-processed coffees and cast a long shadow over years of debate in specialty coffee over the proper role of naturals. In a blog post titled “The Next…