ECW Day Two: The Mill + The Model

ECW Day Two: The Mill + The Model

On Day Two of our eighth annual Extraordinary Coffee Workshop, we will narrow the focus of our agenda to just two items: the mill and the model.

Sure, there will be lots of activity on the fringes of the event. Members of the Intelli team will continue to brew and serve to our Direct Trade partners the amazing coffees they produced. Growers will meet with buyers to discuss plans for the upcoming harvest. And we will interview some of our Direct Trade partners for upcoming episodes of our Intelli Sourcing Sessions podcast. But most of the day will be devoted to what happens at the coffee mill and discussion of our sourcing model.

The host for today’s activities is Coopedota, the cooperative that anchors our Direct Trade program in Costa Rica; the one that my colleagues call one of the most progressive and professional cooperatives in the world; the one that produces the Flecha Roja coffee that is one of the perennial favorites of our customers. We will spend the morning touring the mill and discussing its work in recent seasons to drive increases cup quality through improvements in its separation, sorting, fermentation and drying processes.

In the afternoon, we welcome two special guests who will narrow our focus even further. Lucia Solis is a fermentation expert at Scott Laboratories who is working tirelessly to make an old practice new again: the use of yeasts in the fermentation process has been a standard practice in the wine and beer industries for a century but is still in its infancy in coffee. We will roll up our sleeves with Lucia and our partners at the Coopedota mill to begin to understand what we have been missing out on all these years, and what coffee stands to gain by taking a play from wine’s playbook. Carlos Fernández Morera is the grower behind the famous “cinnamon coffee” that was a Costa Rica Cup of Excellence finalist last year: his “anaerobic fermentation” process has consistently produced unmistakable cinnamon notes in his coffees. He will break down his process for participants in ECW 8. And Coopedota will share the results of its ongoing fermentation experiments.

Between our morning and afternoon sessions at the mill, we will focus on the Intelligentsia model. Our President James McLaughlin will give a “State of Intelli” update: where the company has been over the past year and what we envision for the year ahead. Our VP for Coffee Geoff Watts will facilitate a similar discussion focused on coffee quality and operations that examines our performance over the past year and lays out ambitious targets for 2017. And to close out that portion of the agenda, I will start a conversation with our Direct Trade partners about our trading model that will continue throughout 2017; a conversation that revolves around this question: how do we ensure that the next 15 years of our Direct Trade model are as innovative, influential and impactful as the first 15?

To close, we break bread again with our partners and rest before pushing into the second half of ECW on Day Three.

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Follow @IntelliSourcing on Instagram and Twitter for live coverage of Intelligentsia’s 8th annual Extraordinary Coffee Workshop, taking place this week in Costa Rica.