Coffee is shipped whole bean to ensure freshness and flavor.
Velodrome Coffee Company,based in Marquette, Michigan
One of the things I love about this program is that it gives me the opportunity to learn how roasters first discovered their love for coffee. It allows me to hear the passion for this industry in their voices, bond over the struggles of entrepreneurship, and bring life and meaning to the term, "community."
I had the pleasure of speaking with Brice, Velodrome's Founder and Director of Roasting, as he was cleaning up the shop after a hard day's work. Brice, his wife Teagan, and their new Operating Partner, Paul don't operate behind the scenes like many business owners do. They are front and center, serving their customers personally as the faces of their brand. Before I had spoken to Brice, I was poking around on their blog and was immediately blown away by how much thought and effort they've invested in engaging with their readers. One of the first things that really stood out to me about Velodrome (aside from their KILLER decaf that doesn't taste like a decaf,) is how strong of a connection they have with their farmers. In the specialty coffee industry, we often hear buzzwords like 'sustainable,' 'responsibly farmed,' and 'Fair Trade,' but often these terms become lost in translation when there is very little to show for it. Brice has made it his commitment to source their green coffees solely from farms he's personally visited, or a trusted friend has visited. In return, they've gathered detailed field reports from their origin trips, cherished stories from the relationships they've created with their farmers, and coffee quality that is next to none. They even have the faces of their farmers stamped on their paper cups! Speaking of sustainable, Velodrome is also in the process of becoming a 100% trash free cafe and roastery by June 2018, and even have a Director of Sustainability to head up the project.
Jose Herrera’s Finca El Ciprez is a small family run farm located in Huabal, Peru adjacent to a protected forest and the majestic Chorro Blanco waterfall. The trek to the farm is nothing short of impressive as it is accessible only by foot or horseback via a 30 – 40 minute hike through beautiful mountainous terrain from the village of Agua Colorada. Because of this Jose and his family make the farm home during the harvest season.
The farm itself is modest in size covering between 3 to 5 hectares, and is located near several other small parcel farms at an elevation of 1800 masl. Cypress trees, the farm’s namesake, along with sugar cane, and banana trees, abound on the farm providing biodiversity and shade coverage for the coffee. Jose and family have been producing coffee here for 4- 5 years with production producing a modest 4,000 – 5,000 kg of strictly high grown coffees. Coffee production at El Ciprez consist of 90% Red Caturra and 10% Yellow Caturra.
This Peruvian coffee we are featuring is Brice's and my personal favorite of their current offerings. Northern Peru is legendary for producing coffee with bright, rich flavors. At some of the highest global growing elevations, the “Amazon Andes” yield some of the best developed flavor profiles in the world. Coffee has been the generational family trade for Jose Herrera, who works the beautiful piece of land, like his father and his grandfather before him. Don Jose also owns a small shop, selling agricultural goods to the local community. This year, the coffee from El Ciprez won first place in a regional competition in Jaen, beating out 50 competing farms before moving on to the national competition. We hope you enjoy!