The Melbourne International Coffee Expo (or MICE) is to coffee professionals and hipsters what Mecca is to Muslims; a holy pilgrimage to a city renowned the world over for its art, culture and of course coffee. Melbourne is truly the perfect setting for an event such as MICE. Down every graffiti encrusted alleyway you are almost guaranteed to find a small semi-secret cafe slinging some of the best brews you've ever had. Just walking down the main streets in the CBD I would overhear snippets of conversation relating to the latest single origin on offer at the coolest new spot. Even businessmen and women rushing off to meetings proudly carry their hand-stamped takeaway cups bearing names such as Axil and Code Black; in Melbourne the type of coffee you drink is worn like a badge of honour. For Melbournians coffee is more than a drink, it is a social scene, a Bohemia, even a subculture; for many (including myself) it is an obsession.
Normally when we think of cold coffee we have two things in mind; that half-finished mug of coffee that was set down half an hour ago and forgotten about or, of course, iced coffee (often with ice-cream and milk). Well now there is an alternative to beat the summer heat that tastes amazing and doesn’t come with all that excess milk and sugar. Enter the cold brew.
As part of our recent coffee discovery trip to Sumatra, the Dimattina Coffee crew were very fortunate to be able to spend a few days at Wahana Estate - which is located in the village of Lae Mungkur, Sidikalang North Sumatra. The drive to the estate from Medan (the capital of North Sumatra) is about 180km, however Indonesian roads and traffic makes this a long 5 hour journey. Luckily Indonesian drivers are fearless, and their ability to pass on tight corners, would do most Formula 1 drivers proud. That, and the fact that road rage doesn’t exist in Sumatra, made our journey memorable. The estate is located at an altitude of 1,300-1,500 metres and covers about 500 hectares. About 250 hectares of the estate is used for coffee plantations, 30 hectares for a coffee nursery, and around 10 hectares for the coffee processing facilities.
Talking coffee with Mauricio Velasquez is a bit like talking politics with Che Guevara; his passion for the organisation he represents is radical and unparalleled. Mauricio is, in many ways, a revolutionary of the coffee trade. A Colombian national, he has seen his fair share of instability and inequity. No doubt this has been one of the driving forces in his bid for change in the coffee world. After securing a university scholarship, Mauricio opted to major in international trade, nurturing a dream to revolutionise the way wealth was distributed within Colombia. A huge proponent for 'real direct trade', Mauricio explains to me the current issues surrounding the internal trade of coffee in Colombia. It is quite a convoluted system rife with corruption. The end result sees the same coffee pass through six or seven different buyers before it leaves the country, each of whom demand a slice of the pie. What is left for the poor, uneducated farmers is barely enough to get by. The reality is that they must take what they can get. Enter ASPROUNION.
We will be open throughout the Christmas period for all our Café and Restaurant Clients. It’s a busy time of year for lots of our clients and be assured that as always coffee will be freshly roasted and the service back-up available if required.
The final day of the Burundi Cup of Excellence 2013 was a long one to say the least. We started the day with a short briefing and a reminder of how important today was for Burundi. It was obvious how eager everyone was to taste the coffees but still a sense of unease about the potential for potato defect.
Burundi travel diary #5
Today’s tasting was both inspirational and heartbreaking. Inspirational because I discovered my favourite coffee of the competition and several that came close; but heartbreaking because we had to eliminate ten more coffees (out of thirty in total) due to the potato defect. Hopefully when the farmers see these statistics they will be more motivated to fix the problem.