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Visiting Coffee Farms with Atlanta Chefs

Stacey Eames, Highland Bakery, Linton Hopkins, Gina Hopkins, Restaurant Eugene, Holman and Finch, Jen Dalmy, Cherie Challain, travel, coffee origin, coffee farm, coffee processing, chef tour, Costa Rica Terrazu, La Minita, Guatemala, Fina el Valle, Gonzales Family, Bob Benck, Picking Coffee Chefs Linton and Gina Hopkins

Our coffee buyer, Bob Benck, travelled last month with some of Atlanta's favorite chefs and Batdorf partners. They visited a few of the coffee farms that make our amazing coffees possible.

Recently I traveled to visit three of our supply partners in both Costa Rica and Guatemala. This is not unusual for me, I regularly visit with producers to taste coffee and strengthen our relationship. Topics such as price, costs, plagues, etc. are often what we discuss. Sometimes I share where ultimately their coffee will be sold but it remains somewhat of a mystery to them. More often than “Where does my coffee go?” I am asked “Where does this coffee come from?” More and more consumers want to know exactly where their products come from. This trend exists in no greater place than the farm to table movement. The idea that we know exactly where our food comes from and focus on local producers is not a new one, it’s just something that we have drifted away from over generations as life’s “conveniences” have somewhat complicated or obscured this seemingly simplistic idea.

Stacey Eames, Highland Bakery, Linton Hopkins, Gina Hopkins, Restaurant Eugene, Holman and Finch, Jen Dalmy, Cherie Challain, travel, coffee origin, coffee farm, coffee processing, chef tour, Costa Rica Terrazu, La Minita, Guatemala, Fina el Valle, Gonzales Family, Bob Benck, picking coffee 2 Chef Stacey Eames

A couple months ago I was asked this question by a local Atlanta chef, “Where does this coffee come from?” My response was “Let me show you!” And so was born the Chef tour. The participants on this one were Stacey Eames of Highland Bakery, Chefs Linton and Gina Hopkins of Restaurant Eugene and Holman and Finch, and Jen Dalmy and Cherie Challian from Batdorf. Jen is our Atlanta Sales Manager and Cherie is Vice President and one of our owners.

We started in the storied Tarrazu Valley of Costa Rica visiting Hacienda La Minita. La Minita is world renowned and known to produce some of the finest coffees in the world with an emphasis on meticulous processing.

Stacey Eames, Highland Bakery, Linton Hopkins, Gina Hopkins, Restaurant Eugene, Holman and Finch, Jen Dalmy, Cherie Challain, travel, coffee origin, coffee farm, coffee processing, chef tour, Costa Rica Terrazu, La Minita, Guatemala, Fina el Valle, Gonzales Family, Bob Benck, group shot

Only the absolute best qualities from the farm ultimately receive the “La Minita” grade. Afterward we shifted gears and visited with our certified organic suppliers from the same area, Finca Los Bobos. We witnessed a very different mode of production but the results were similar in that only the top quality coffees ultimately would end up on our table. We discussed topics such as water usage and mill waste and looked at how these topics were addressed on differing scales. Between La Minita and Los Bobos we have over 30 years of coffee buying history.

Stacey Eames, Highland Bakery, Linton Hopkins, Gina Hopkins, Restaurant Eugene, Holman and Finch, Jen Dalmy, Cherie Challain, travel, coffee origin, coffee farm, coffee processing, chef tour, Costa Rica Terrazu, La Minita, Guatemala, Fina el Valle, Gonzales Family, Bob Benck, group picking coffee Linton and Gina Hopkins, Jen Dalmy and Cherie Challain from Batdorf, and Stacey Eames.

Next up was a short flight north to Guatemala City and then onto Antigua and another legendary producing area where we visited with the Gonzales Family. This was a great example of a small family owned farm where things were once again different from what we previously had seen. The town of Antigua itself is a charming place and the coffee from El Valle is even more enchanting. We talked about their recovery from leaf rust and the quality and quantity they hoped to produce. More importantly we talked about our kids and our dogs. Yes this is where our coffees come from, but equally as important, this is who it comes from. From these farms and farmers to your family and table. Make sure you know too!

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