Archive for November, 2009

Persistance Pays

Posted in coffee, coffee roasting, home roasting with tags , , , , , , , on November 15, 2009 by Chad

The heights by great men reached and kept
Were not attained by sudden flight,
But they, while their companions slept,
Were toiling upward in the night.

-Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

A few months ago, I decided to take the plunge and host a pre-auction cupping of El Salvador 2009 Cup of Excellence samples. I was hoping to become part of a buying group for the auction that followed.  The auction came and went, and maddeningly, many of us were not able to pull a group together, despite the relatively low prices for this auction (many lots priced in the $3-$4/lb. range).

Prior to the auction, I had contacted the Colleen Anunu, Director of Coffee at  gimme! coffee, a small artisan roastery serving retail, wholesale, and web customers out of NY state. We discussed possible collaboration on Cup of Excellence buying, and agreed to compare notes on the El Salvador lots.

The auction opened, and, like the Colombia auction, I could not get together a group.   Here’s a quote from one of the many emails I sent after the auction:

There I was cobbling together folks, working on getting importing support, and BAM–auction closed. I should have done what I wanted to do and just bid on a lot and let the chips fall.

Pricing for the lot I most wanted, the #19 Altamira I, ended at $3.10.

Crushed.  It mattered not that I didn’t have the cash on had for the whole lot, or that I’d only bought my first bag of coffee little more than a year ago, or that my entire customer base is a small group of home coffee roaster spread thinly around the country.  Failure does not cup well.

Fortunately, I’ve been cursed blessed with modicum of stubbornness, so I started checking the listings for the winning bidders on each lot. Lot #19 Winning bidder….T.A.N. Coffee!  I had contacted Lay Yong Tan from TAN Coffee back in April, during the Colombia auction.  I got him on the third ring, offered my congratulations on his winning bids (he won the #21 and #25 lots as well), and asked the question du joir:  Would he be willing to sell any of the Altamira?

The answer?

altamira

(photo credit: gimme! Coffee)

Nearly five months after the auction, I purchased almost half the lot of Altamira I from TAN Coffee, and immediately sent ten 34.5 kg boxes to gimme! coffee.  Less than a week later, five boxes arrived here at No Quarter Coffee, accompanied by boxes of the #21 El Salvador, La Trinidad,  and the #27 Colombia lot, La Esperanza.  The first glimpse of the coffee housed at the freight terminal brought a smile to my face that remained for days.

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