🍵Tea from the Future;❓Espresso Distribution Tools: Do They Work?

Barista Hustle

Barista Hustle

August 4 · Issue #97 · View online
Views and news about the brews. Unique and relevant information for coffee professionals and enthusiasts.

🍵 We’re super proud to announce the launch of Kuura; a sister company of Barista Hustle devoted to tea!
Kuura is the brainchild of Ayden Graham, former Sensory Lab barista and recent Australian Tea Brewers Cup Champion. It’s essentially BH, but tea, with a particular focus on Chinese Puer. Ayden has already started blogging to increase the quality, conciseness, and accessibility of tea related information at Kuura.co. He’s also spending time on the ground in China each season; sourcing and pressing delicious cakes for dissemination around the globe.
You can also follow Kuura’s very unique aesthetic (dark AF) over on instagram.
We’re excited, and hope the closet tea nuts amongst you are as well!
The Great Distribution Tool Debate
Nobody has proved they work. Nobody has proved they don’t. 
We propose a solution here, but we need your help!
This is an exciting test for us. If we can leverage the interest of the coffee industry to perform real science, we’ll all move forward much more quickly!
Coffee & Wine: All Natural, All The Time
As people passionate about coffee and its surrounding culture, it isn’t odd to find that many of us are just as jazzed about other beverages — especially beverages that’ll counter the caffeine shakes. A movement exponentially growing in popularity and global recognition is one of natural wine. 
Although wine has been around for thousands of years, the natural wine movement as we know it isn’t much older than specialty coffee. Diving into the world of natural wine is a rabbit hole similar to coffee. Natural wines have fruitier aromatics and funky flavors most used to conventional wine may distaste, but these characteristics are what make it great. It sounds like a cup of my favorite naturally-processed coffee, fruity, weird, but still very tasty. Parallels between the two worlds are definitely apparent. In both industries, there’s an increased focus on sustainability and organic practices, and visibility for small shareholders. There’s much we can learn from the natural wine industry, too, like transparency and traceability. 
With the launch of Sprudge Wine and industry collaborations happening more frequently — last week’s Bloom Event in San Francisco featured a talk by California natural winemaker, Martha Stoumen, and there was a subsequent tasting — this is another niche movement within a wider industry I’m happy to latch onto. Cheers to that. 🍷
Speaking of Naturals ...
For our 1st Superlaversary we’re headed to Costa Rica for this month’s Superlatives. If you haven’t got the memo yet — thank you so much for all of your support over this past year, and for your faith and trust in us! We couldn’t have done this without you fam 👊🏻
We’ve got a tasty natural from the folks at Sonora Estate; strawberries, cream, and a whole bunch of elegance, roasted right here in Melbourne by Sensory Lab. You’ve got a 50% chance of receiving a bag individually counted and sealed either by myself (Michael) or Matt Perger himself. A keepsake to remember these times after the robots take our jobs.
We’re staying in Costa Rica next month but moving the roasting over to Italy, with three-time Italian Barista Champion Francesco Sanapo. They’re roasting up an epic anaerobic-processed Superlative at Ditta Artigianale for our subscribers. You should really get yourself a one-off bag, or sign up for the subscription. 
And Speaking of Costa Rica ...
For a time Costa Rica was considered the peak of coffee excellence in the commodity trade. Small farms joined cooperatives, and with the help of government assistance, a large number of farmers were able to export coffee directly. This system though was something of a liability in the emerging climate of specialty coffee, single origins, traceability, and microlots, leading to difficulty in producing coffee that was “specialty”. However the micro mill revolution enabled Costa Rica to still stand tall, as these last two Superlatives have shown.
By a virtuous combination of serendipity, geography, and economics, other producers have leapt ahead in this market. Notably Panama, leading us to this months big news: a record breaking USD $610/lb price paid for the Esmeralda Geisha Cañas Verdes Natural.
31 of the 51 lots up for auction went to buyers from East and South East Asia. Demand here can in part be explained by the burgeoning middle class of Chinese consumers with greater access to disposable income. In this light, there’s a luxury goods market with Panama Geisha fulfilling that segment.
But that’s not the only emerging aspect to this demand. Dense living and working conditions combined with the controlled chaos of urban living has lead to a need for calm. A place to meet friends, relax, unwind. Specialty coffee shops are providing that space.
200 million people with disposable income, with a place they’re motivated to seek out, providing a product differentiated as a luxury good, makes USD $20-27 a shot sound like a not-unreasonable bet. This market was once provided by Costa Rica; for a time it was Ethiopian washed coffees, and the less said about cat shit coffee the better. What influences these trends is arguably not that it’s coffee, or specialty coffee — but that it’s Costa Rican or Panamanian coffee, from a particular farm or group of farms, from a particular variety, using a particular processing method. This leads to a distinctive cup and a distinctive product. What needs to be disentangled here is what’s being paid for: the cup or the product? 
Other Newsletters We Recommend
Email sucks, but we know this newsletter gets read by more than half of you each month. Here’s some other interesting newsletters that we routinely open and devour.
Exponential View - The future of tech, AI, and ecology.
Jimseven - James Hoffmann’s musings on coffee, business, technology, food and that place where they all intersect.
Recommendo - 6 recommendations of cool stuff, by Kevin Kelly (founder of WIRED) and co.
Jenn Chen - Tips and tricks on stepping up your marketing game, especially for those in coffee.  
One Last Thing...
The Barista’s Guide To The Galaxy got a fresh update and is looking cleaner than ever. There, you’ll find a ton of links and resources to aid in one’s journey across the coffee galaxy. 
If you have a suggestion for a link you’d like to see on there, hit us up. We’ll keep the page up to date for all your needs!
See You Next Month!
To the boundaries of coffee,
Team Barista Hustle xx
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