Colombia isn’t exactly new to this whole coffee thing. The nation’s growers became serious exporters in the 19th century, and even created their own marketing arm and imaginary spokesman, Juan Valdez, back in the 1950s.
That longtime commercial expertise continues today. That’s good news for us, for a couple reasons. First and foremost: Plenty of Colombian coffee pros know and care about the difference between specialty coffee and “good enough” coffee. This lot of Andino draws on that knowledge base to assemble a wonderful batch of the former.
Here’s how it works. Our export partner established a little cupping lab in a Bruselas warehouse. When members of the Andino Association and their neighbors feel like they have an exceptional harvest, they just deliver their crop directly to our export partner. There, everybody tastes the samples, and if they pass muster, ship those samples north to us in San Francisco.
In San Francisco, Sarah Jane roasts the samples in our namesake century-old four barrel sample roaster, one hundred grams (about a sandwich bag) at a time. If our tasting notes match those of the producer and our export partner, then that coffee gets included in this batch of Andino.
It’s nice to know there’s some solid knowledge on the ground at source—a couple centuries’ worth--but we still visit in person a couple times a year, as we try to do with all our producers. After all, it’s these relationships that allow us to source such beautiful coffees in the first place.