Beans and Beards

I don’t know if it’s because Taylor’s finally back from her Pacific Crest Trail Trek, or if it’s because the Sox dominated in October, or if it’s just that coffee roasters are just getting better and better, but the conversation has deepened around the coffee. No longer are we just referring to coffee’s origin as “Ethiopia”, but rather “Ethiopia Kochere”; we don’t really talk about “Robusta” or “Arabica” when describing beans, but rather “SL28” or “Gesha”; I hear the team and customers referring not just to “apple” as a flavor, but “granny smith” because it’s not just appl-ey, but it’s a tart apple.

Cameron holds a BicaTeam cupping one night per week in order to unveil and familiarize the team with the new coffees for the upcoming week. He asks each of us to go deeper than typical descriptors like acidic flavors or floral aromas, but rather citric or malic acid on taste or lavender or hibiscus scent. Different regions possess certain characteristics and it’s been alot of fun and humbling to go through blind cuppings, which force us to really get to know the coffee, which in turn helps us explain the broad and constantly changing menu to Bica’s customers. I encourage the BicaTeam to have a “collective” set of tasting notes for customers, but also a personal guide so that we really own it when a customer asks, “what coffee is really standing out this week”?

Tomorrow, Saturday, 14DEC13 we will be serving coffee’s version of Russian River Brewing Company’s “Pliny the Younger” triple IPA: Verve Coffee Roaster’s Panama Elida Estate’s “Green Tip” Gesha. Colby Barr from Verve visited the estate and, on a hunch, asked the farmer to sort out the trees which showed the green-tip leaf from those that showed the gold-tip. He was right: the green-tip produces a far greater quality in the cup. The Elida Estate is one of the highest coffee farms in Panama, and has been in the same family for over 100 years. We bought only two half-pound last year and it sold out in less than a half day. I’m happy to report that this year Bica was allocated four half-pound canisters! Verve roasted it on Monday, so it should be perfect this weekend. FYI, PtY will be served at RR Brewing Co from February 07-20, 2014!

The holiday season seems to get better every year. Because I consult, I have quite a bit of flexibility with my schedule which allows me to spend time at Bica fairly regularly. I continue to be humbled and grateful for my wonderful team. Harper, you have been a wonderful addition to the team, always smiling and eager to please. Bryn, dammit the music has been hot and the doo is rocking. Taylor, thank you for choosing to come back to us after your 2,663 mile hike, how the hell did you DO that?! Justine, thank you for more than three years of amazing loyalty to Bica and her wonderful customers. Jonah, nothing has made me happier than having you as a not just the “owner’s kid” but a truly valued member of the BicaTeam. Cameron, well, I just don’t have words here.

My coffee cup overfloweth…..thank you all for your patronage and continued dedication to Bica. Here’s to a great dialog in 2014!

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