A couple of month ago our baristas competed in Brewers Cup and Barista competition. I generally encourage everyone at drop to compete, since I find competing questions what you do and why you do things, on a hands on practical level.
Seeing the presentations from our baristas this year, I saw a questioning on a broader level than "why do you tamp as you do, stir the coffee before blooming..." etc. I personally understood more of why our baristas have chosen to work with coffee, raising the meaning to work and present coffees you like and that you know how it's produced and traded.
It's 2017 and coffee have a generation of baristas taking a big responsibility for the society, baristas who puts a lot of energy and knowledge into understanding every coffees story. On this topic I asked for the approval from our baristas to share there presentations in written with you. Here is Thomas Savage's Swedish Brewers Cup presentation 2017. Why Bolivia? What does quality matter?
/Joanna Alm, Drop Coffee
"Good morning, welcome.
My name is Thomas Savage & I work at Drop Coffee Roasters in Stockholm.
Along with the tune of my generation & the 21st century, I’m most interested in sustainability. I think it’s the biggest issue we’re facing at this time.
In my time I’ve endeavoured to understand & communicate what this actually means in terms of our day-to-day living, and what we can do to positively impact it.
Specialty coffee has been around some decades, forever trying to acquaint palates & educate people on why they should spend more on quality coffee.
The key to this, I believe, is promoting an understanding of purchasing power.
In a certain scenario we have a bean that is grown in poor, uncared for soil, then harvested, produced in a hurried fashion with little consideration lent to the process, then overly roasted & poorly served. If one pays for this coffee, this is the system it supports. On the other hand, we have a farm with interested, heavily invested owners, who care for the soil, take extensive interest in the coffee production, harvest & sorting, then delivers to a roaster whose aim is to best do the coffee justice. In purchasing this coffee, this is the system we’re supporting.
It’s clear too see, if one were to look at all closely, where priorities lie in these two scenarios. The prior is one in which profit is the highest priority, the later one in which quality is top priority.
I find it unimaginable that people today would want to live in a world governed by industry whom has profit as top priority. So I think it’s important for us in the specialty coffee industry to try and communicate why this latter scenario is of such great importance. If people came to fully understand the cast of their vote in purchasing, I believe a very different world would be shaped.
But along with speech, the best we can do in convincing is to give an experience, that being a delicious coffee - straight onto the tongue. This coffee that i’m presenting today is a perfect example of the ideal weapon for this mission. It’s undeniably delicious for the layman, whilst exhibiting great depth & character for the veteran filter coffee drinker.
In addition, this coffee is grown by a Pedro & daughter Daniella, whom have a particular agenda of their own. They have begun a project entitled ‘Sol De La Mañana’ through which they educate & support local farmers through the plight of growing coffee in Bolivia. Pedro has a great knowledge of coffee farming in terms of sustaining soil health & warding off fungal diseases such as the currently rampant leaf rust. So the growth & sustaining of the local community is also among top priorities for Pedro.
This coffee is from the farm La Linda, in the Caranavi region in Bolivia. It’s a Java varietal, grown at 1650 metres & is fully washed.
When served you’ll be struck with an elegant red berry aroma. When first served you’ll experience a wonderful lingonberry note (If you’re unfamiliar with lingonberry, it’s somewhat like a cranberry), with a hint of dark chocolate bridging from the natural bitterness of the lingonberry. As the cup cools to around 50c the character begins to soar, becoming cosy like cranberry jam on toast, with sprawling syrupiness. As the cup cools it becomes much more delicate, exhibiting a white tea like character with a subtle orange note.
The aftertaste has a delightful linger of peach after the more intense lingonberry subsides.
The acidity is brought up to a moderate level through that classic sourness of the lingonberry.
The body is sits also at a dignified moderate level, with entrancing syrupiness.
Overall this cup is delightfully balanced, polite for the first time drinker of filter coffee, yet deep & interesting for the brew-fiend.