Apr 18 2012

Meet the Growers
McMenamins Coffee Roasters (421 N.E. Knott St., Portland, Ore.)
Thursday, April 19, 4:30 p.m.
The event is free and all are welcome to attend.  Light refreshments will be provided.

roasteryLater this week, our department will have the opportunity to represent McMenamins at the Specialty Coffee Association of America's annual symposium being held in Portland this year. This is sure to be a highly informative event filled with the excitement that will come with having the year's largest coffee convention right down the street. As we gear up to attend workshops, see new products, and meet coffee professionals from all around the world, there is one event I am looking forward to above all else – our own Meet The Growers presentation.

On Thursday, April 19, we will host some of the people that are responsible for one of our most important coffees. Members of the Valdivieso family from the Santa Leticia estate in El Salvador will be at our roasting facility to give a presentation about their estate farm and the extraordinary product that is grown there. This well-known family has produced coffee at this site in southern El Salvador for over 100 years and is sure to present a unique perspective on aspects of the coffee industry that we seldom have a chance to encounter.

roasteryHere at the roastery, we have a special connection to the Valdiviesos and their fine coffee – we work with the growers to obtain the beans directly from them. Often, coffee roasters procure their product from brokers that act as intermediaries between themselves and the growers. Individual roasters often lack the infrastructure that would be necessary to import all of the beans they need so these importing companies can be an integral part of our business. When possible however, relationships can form where the growers and roasters connect and we can obtain coffee directly from those who produce it.

This is known as direct trade and is a great and rare opportunity. I am sure that most of us are familiar with the term "fair trade," which is the name given to the global effort to deal with the producers in a socially conscious manner. Direct trade is even better, working with the growers directly and developing relationships that provide sustainability and benefit for both parties. We are delighted to enjoy this type of partnership with Santa Leticia estates and to have the chance to meet our associates in this. Last summer we were lucky enough to acquire a stockpile of their coffee and we look forward to receiving a shipment of this year's crop as well.

Santa Leticia coffee is grown at 2,600 feet – this high elevation provides its density, allowing the flavors to be fully drawn out during the roast. Prime growing conditions such as the natural canopy that this coffee thrives under and the variations in temperature that the region experiences help to develop its superb taste. The bold milk chocolate notes coupled with the full body and hints of hazelnut and cinnamon make for a deliciously satisfying cup. This bean is used in our Morning and House Blends as well our newest release... this past winter's Fireside Blend. We also often take advantage of the superior quality and taste by offering Santa Leticia as a single origin coffee.

Please take advantage of this opportunity to meet some of the renowned coffee people that we enjoy partnering with in our attempt bring you the greatest product that we possibly can. We hope to see you there.

About the author: Kelly is the Assistant Coffee Roaster for McMenamins.
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