Monthly Archives: February 2011

Continued from part 1 – The next day we had the opportunity to visit two wet processing mills and one farm in the Nuevo Oriente region. The first mill, El Boqueron, was a large, impressive commercial mill. They receive huge amounts of coffee and when we arrived the patios were practically overflowing with parchment, not to mention their mechanical dryers were going non-stop. In fact, we were told that they had too much coffee – some of it was beginning to turn all moldy and gross. Anyway, since we had already been to a wet mill, it was easier to understand what was going on, albeit on a much larger scale. Their mechanical dryers were housed in a very dusty, very loud building; in Guatemala most specialty coffee is patio-dried while commercial and domestic coffee is put through mechanical drying.

Next stop was an epic journey in rugged Toyota Hiluxes up the bumpiest terrain my ass has ever had the misfortune of encountering, past a beautiful and very stinky sulphurous lake to the heavenly El Retiro Estate, a villa nestled between 5 farms amongst mountainous forests and wildlife. After a brief tour of farmer José Herrarte Osante’s villa and a light lunch, we headed back to the pickups for a more leisurely trip to one of his “farms”. It is difficult to call it a farm because it looked just like a forest. The coffee trees were dwarfed by 400-year-old shade trees that provided a towering, lush green canopy. There is no “managed shade” here. Mr. Osante does not plant trees on his Rainforest Alliance-Certified farm – they grow naturally. If one happens to fall he does not have it moved; it will provide habitat for the creatures residing there and eventual fertilizer for other trees. In addition to this, he showed us quite a few coffee trees that have been in production for over 60 years! Most farms re-plant trees after about 10 years after their production drops off. What I

remember the most about this farm is how tranquil and quiet it was. Like stepping back in time to Jesus riding a velociraptor. Or Ferngully. It was like that but more awesome.

Then Mr. Osante took us to his very own wet mill. It was a much more modest operation than El Boqueron, but just as impressive. He had beans of differing quality on different patios, and it was quite illuminating. The specialty beans were a gleaming white-tan colour while the commercial beans were specked with black and green. Then he took us through the workings of his mill (he had started using more water-efficient eco-pulpers) and revealed that he was also in the process of building his own dry mill and applying for an export license. He seemed to be very eager to step up his game and to try new things in order to improve the quality of his coffee. He could be considered a good candidate for a direct relationship. A girl can dream!

On the way out we spied some more construction going on, in addition to the dry mill. In a clearing not too far from the drying patios I saw some raised African drying tables being constructed. Perhaps Mr. Ossante wishes to experiment with Honey Process or Natural Coffee? Only time will tell.

Stay tuned for part 3, where I don’t answer the above question but instead take you to a very special school in Acatenango.


The real reason there has not been a new blog post regarding the Guatemala Origin Trip is because I wanted to ratchet up the suspense since Andy and I had our flight cancelled after some kind of snowstorm: did we make it out alive? Are we still struggling with malaria and/or hangovers from night after night of endless debauchery with Mike Phillips? Read More

Thanks to everyone for coming out to our Down Under Espresso Tasting Event on Friday night and for digging deep in your pockets to support an awesome organization, Coffee Kids.

The event drew in a real mix of people with a turnout of around 80 people – consumers, baristas, coffee shop owners, and other roasters.  Coffee was generously donated from Ozone Coffee Roasters, Crafted Coffee Co, L’Affare and People’s Coffee.  Unfortunately, Mecca from Australia didn’t arrive til this morning, but we will be running this espresso over the next few days for all our customers – so make sure you drop by Te Aro for a shot.

Baked goods were donated by Desmond and Beatrice, and beer from Steamwhistle.

We were worried how the coffees would travel, but the 27 hour flight didn’t seem to affect the quality or taste.

The blend from Ozone Coffee Roasters had big chocolate notes, it was juicy, had a smooth acidity, and a full-body.  They generously donated a large amount of coffee, and we were running it on the weekend for customers – great feedback.  Ozone started in 1998, and Andy met Paul Newbold (Roaster at Ozone) in Guatemala last year.

Carl Sara’s Sidama was beautiful – full-on blueberry on the nose, and throughout the cup.  Everyone loved this single origin, and it was the only SOE that we received.   The blend (Brazil, Nicaragua, El Salvador) was also fantastic – big chocolate notes, lots of body, and juicy acidity.  For those of you who don’t know, Carl Sara is a 4 times NZ Barista Champion, and he invests a lot of time traveling to origin to source beans.  You probably also saw him hosting the WBC last year….

Cafe L’Affare was really nice on the nose – lots of caramel came through, really smooth body, and some nutty flavours.  Andy and I were neighbours to L’Affare for our years in Wellington, so we are super familiar with this blend and love it.  Their Cafe also continues to be one of the busiest and most popular in Welly.

People’s Coffee sent us their Don Wilfredo blend.  This had 5 different origins in it.  It was super creamy, with a full body and lingering aftertaste.  The parameters we were provided were really different to how we are used to pulling our espresso, but we were totally surprised at how well they worked -the shot was really outstanding.  Andy and I were first introduced to People’s Coffee at our friend Ben’s cafe, Milk Crate, when we were visiting NZ last year and loved it.

Huge thanks to Paul Newbold from Ozone, Carl Sara from Crafted Coffee Co, Matt Lamason from People’s Coffee, and Kerry Murray from L’Affare.

Here are some pics (thanks to Mike who has the coffee review site called  CoffeeStork – he put this idea in our heads, and worked with us to organize the event!).

When:  Friday Feb 11th, 6:30pm – 9pm

Where:  Te Aro Roasted, 983 Queen St East


You may think New Zealand and Australia is jandals and Vegemite and buzzybees, and everyone is just chilling on the beach saying weird things like “sweet as” and “cuzzy bro.”

What you may not know is that New Zealand and Australia are home to some of the world’s best baristas and roasters, and both countries have vibrant and innovative coffee culture.

Don’t believe us? Still think they’re all fighting crocodiles and riding kangaroos, not pulling expert shots and roasting delicious beans? We will open your eyes to the glory of Down Under coffee at our Espresso Tasting event. Sample espresso from top roasters, eat exotic delicacies (from Desmond and Beatrice), and drink beer (generously donated by Steamwhistle), and donate a few dollars to Coffee Kids, an amazing organization that supports families working and living on coffee farms.

Coffee has generously been donated from:

Crafted Coffee Company

Mecca Espresso

Ozone Coffee Roasters

People’s Coffee

The Source


Please RSVP to the event on our facebook page

or email Mike Petrescu at mike at