29TH May, 2017

My friend grows coffee

My friend grows coffee

– by Pat Connolly, Coffee Roaster

It seems everywhere you turn now in the specialty coffee sphere there is a roaster spruiking their direct trade relationships and their unusually named processing experiments.

What does it really mean though to have a direct trade relationship? Why do roasters feel this is so important?  What is the real end benefit to the customer? Without a direct benefit to the end customer it’s just marketing hype and empty words, right?

I can’t personally talk about having a direct trade relationship with dozens of growers the world over, although I can tell you about a friend of mine who grows coffee in India. He’s a sixth generation grower in a beautiful area of southern India in the state of Karnataka where he owns Sethuraman Estate and grows the world’s best specialty robusta.

I’ve been friends with him for over 5 years now. We see each other twice a year and talk just about every week. I recently visited him in January this year with my colleagues. We are your typical friends, we chat about sport, travel, politics, family and friends. We occasionally talk about the coffee he grows and the coffee I roast.

More often than not, we talk about the constant pursuit to be better at what we do. My friend’s strive for perfection has won him a plethora of international awards for the quality of his coffee and an ever-decreasing golf handicap.

When we do get around to talking about coffee, it’s generally an update on what he’s been doing on his farm and what I’ve been doing in the roastery or cupping lab. See, I’m not a coffee grower and I’m not going to pretend to be an expert on fermentation and milling. He is though! I’m not going to show up in India once a year and tell him to start doing a dry ferment using champagne enzymes or a triple washed Kenyan style, fermented with mango skins. He’s not going to show up in Melbourne and tell me to use more airflow through first crack.

I do however call him and tell him how the coffee is cupping and give him constant feedback on how the coffee is aging. We have a continuous, open and honest feedback loop like all good friends do.

We have refined the supply chain over the years to mill and ship at different times of the year to avoid the effects of the monsoon. We have experimented with fermentation times to slightly tweak the taste profile for the Australian palate. The feedback loop between us has undoubtedly led to an improved taste, improved longevity and an improved friendship.

The real benefit of our friendship in terms of coffee is that I have helped improve his quality, and he has helped improve our quality. We pay him more than the market price and he re-invests it back into his farm to keep providing us with a better product.

We use Nishant’s robusta in our Forza blend. To find out more click here and to try it for yourself click here.

Related posts

Origin My trip to Honduras, by Paul Benetti My trip to Honduras, by Paul Benetti Origin | 22 Oct 2018 Honduran coffee has been a regular feature in the Veneziano coffee menu over the years, forming part of our Bella and Pure blends. In May this year, our partners at... Read More
Origin My First Origin Trip to Brazil My First Origin Trip to Brazil Origin | 26 Nov 2017 By Josh Gowty, Veneziano Qld Operations Supervisor In August of this year I was given the opportunity to take part in my first trip to origin and travelled to Brazil... Read More
News Origin Trip to Peru Origin Trip to Peru News | 8 Sep 2017 By Aryan Aqajani, Veneziano Coffee Roaster What I like about specialty coffee is the opportunity to discover and taste amazing coffees from some of the most remote places in the... Read More
News My first origin trip – India My first origin trip – India News | 13 Apr 2017 - by Gareth Maddock, Coffee Roaster Way back when my interest was first piqued in specialty coffee, the idea of travelling to origin and visiting a coffee farm seemed like... Read More
Origin The link between farming practices and region The link between farming practices and region Origin | 13 Mar 2017 By Kyle Humphries, Veneziano Coffee Roaster Brazil is a fascinating and diverse coffee origin given its sheer size and variety of growing conditions. This past November, I travelled to four of the main regions in which are made up of their... Read More
News Reviving a Region: The Story of Gesha Village Reviving a Region: The Story of Gesha Village News | 5 Mar 2017 — Adam Overton and Rachel Samuel, Gesha Village In the far western reaches of Ethiopia, mere kilometers from the South Sudanese border, lie the dense, wildly sprouting jungles of Bench... Read More
Coffee Training The lowdown on coffee processing The lowdown on coffee processing Coffee Training | 20 Feb 2017 By Jack Allisey, Veneziano Green Bean Buyer Some of the most common questions that we get asked revolve around just what happens to the coffee cherry after it’s picked from... Read More
News Guatemala Finca Colombia: Washed v Natural Coffees Guatemala Finca Colombia: Washed v Natural Coffees News | 16 Jan 2017 This year we purchased three different lots from Finca Colombia - a washed, a honey and an experimental natural. We have now rolled out two of these varieties, the washed and... Read More
Origin What makes a specialty coffee farmer? What makes a specialty coffee farmer? Origin | 8 Nov 2016 We often talk about specialty coffee, but what does it really mean? Our head of Research, Development & Innovation, Craig Simon, talks about the five key things that distinguish a... Read More

Get $10 Off Your Order

Receive $10 off your next order when you sign up to our newsletter!


Receive $10 off your next order when you sign up to our newsletter!