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Meet the Farmers 2013 recap

On Saturday March 2 we invited about a dozen El Salvadoran coffee farmers to meet with Chicago’s finest specialty coffee roasters for a direct trade event. The idea was to connect small high-quality coffee farmers with the best roasters in the Midwest, so that they could taste their coffees and buy directly from the farms.

This helps ensure that the farmers receive a predictable price for their crops which enables them to take better care of their workforce, and it helps roasters assure better coffee quality while helping coffee farmers and workers live better and economically sustainable lives.

About 35 specialty roasters attended the event co-hosted by Dark Matter Coffee. Six farmers representing over a dozen farms met with Chicago roasters to discuss how the coffees were grown and harvested, and what makes each one unique.

Lots of photos and much more…

Coffees from over a dozen farms were cupped, giving local roasters an opportunity not only to sample the farmers’ crops, but also to inquire about their unique qualities, environments, and methods. This is how El Pacamaral was displayed on the table before cupping…

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Then Jay from Dark Matter Coffee — who personally roasted most of the beans the previous day — grinds each individual cup of beans…

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Each individual cup is then refilled with the ground coffee…

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…and roasters evaluate the cups from each roast for its unique aroma signature.

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Then hot water is poured over the ground coffee, and the roasters evaluate each bean for its wet aroma before actually sampling the coffee. This is done by taking a spoonful of coffee and slurping it in a way that covers the entire tongue, so the full flavor profile can be tasted.

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Each roaster keeps track of their evaluations on special sheets that record flavor profiles of indivividual roasts. This helps them determine which crops they wish to purchase.

Farmers answered questions directly from roasters. Here Tim from Ipsento asks Jorge about a particular bean…

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Over a dozen farms were represented, including these from Cooperativa Los Ausoles…

Los Andes Cumbre – Cup of Excellence
El Pacamaral – Cup of Excellence
El Cipresal
Colombia
La Fany
San Carlos

And from Cooperativa Cuzcachapa…

Las Nubes
San Carlos
La Montana
El Oasis
Sirio de Maria
El Milagro
Miravalle

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Farmers discussed coffee growing with roasters…

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Candid moments from the meeting…

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The coffee farmers are interviewed by Erica Demarest (facing away) of DNAinfo for this article

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On each cupping table was an El Salvadoran coffee machete in its beautiful scabbard…

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Thanks to all the roasters and farmers who made this event quite special!

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