Hello, Compass Coffee community! This is Chas, your head of coffee roasting.
I am thrilled to share some exciting news with you. On Sunday, July 15th, a few other Compass Coffee team members and I are embarking on a journey to the lush, coffee-rich region of Minas Gerais, Brazil. This trip is not just about sourcing our beloved beans, but about connecting with the people who have been an integral part of our story for the past decadeThe Excitement and the History
I'm most looking forward to shaking the hands of the farmers we've been working with for years. About a third of our Real Good Coffee comes from Brazil, making it one of our most important origin countries, and the coffee beans from Minas Gerais have been a key ingredient in our most popular roast – Cardinal Blend.
The region's unique climate and fertile soil produce coffee beans with a distinct flavor profile that adds a rich, robust character to our blend. To me, it’s important to visit the farms we source from, so we can meet the farmers we work with face-to-face, while learning more about the exciting work they are doing to continually improve the quality and sustainability of the crop.
Cardinal Blend and My Coffee Journey
Cardinal Blend is our medium roast blend designed to have a smooth and balanced flavor. It was created by our founders, Michael and Harrison, at our original location on 7th street. It's been a customer favorite since day one, and I remember the first time I cupped a fresh batch and was hit with smooth, mellow, nutty caramel flavor. From that moment onward, I knew I wanted to be a coffee roaster.
Preparation for the Journey
As I prepare for this trip, I am brushing up on my Portuguese, studying the local customs, and learning more about the specific farming practices of Minas Gerais. I am particularly interested in the pulped natural process that coffees from this region are known for. It leads to a very smooth, chocolaty flavor that is extremely balanced and pleasing.
Packing for a trip like this requires careful consideration. Here's a peek into my suitcase:
Passport: The key to international travel.
Backpack: To keep essentials close at hand.
Laptop and international chargers: To stay connected with Ivy City and keep your coffee roasting!
Hiking boots: For navigating the coffee plantations.
Books: For helping to pass the time on our 9 hour flight.
Compass Coffee: To share a taste of how their beans are cherished back home.
Our journey will take us to several farms across Minas Gerais.
Here's a brief rundown:
Day 1: After a roughly 9-hour flight from Dulles, we'll touch down in Brazil's vibrant metropolis of São Paulo. But our journey doesn't stop there. Soon after landing, we'll set off on a 3-hour car journey to Minas Gerais, taking in the stark contrast between the bustling city and the serene countryside.
Day 2: We'll start our day touring a coffee farm. As we step onto the farm, we'll be surrounded by a canopy of green as rows upon rows of coffee plants stretch out before us. The air will carry the distinctive earthy aroma of coffee cherries. We'll meet with the farmers, engaging in conversation about their work and the land that's been cultivated for generations.
Day 3: We'll travel to another farm, winding our way through the picturesque landscape of Minas Gerais. Here, we'll witness the coffee milling processes. In the evening, we will indulge in local cuisine.
Day 4: Leaving the rural beauty of Minas Gerais, we'll return to São Paulo and explore the architectural wonders such as the São Paulo Cathedral, the Martinelli Building, and the unique Copan Building.
Day 5: On our final day, we'll reflect on our new stories and lasting memories of our journey. Then, it'll be time to pack our bags, now filled with the experiences, and head back home.
Join the Journey
Of course, as happens when traveling to a different country, plans often change, so we invite you to join us on this adventure. Follow along on Instagram and Twitter for your chance to see the source of your favorite brew and meet the people who make it possible along the way.
The Importance of Relationships
At Compass Coffee, we believe that coffee is all about relationships and building community. Meeting with these farmers is not just about sourcing coffee; it's about understanding their lives, their challenges, and their passion. It's about creating relationships where we support each other in our shared love for coffee.
This trip is a testament to that belief, and we hope it will deepen our partnerships for another decade and beyond.
Stay tuned, and send us all your questions on social.
This is going to be an incredible journey.
Chas, signing off.