Four of us from Olympia Coffee took a road trip down to Los Angeles last weekend for the Big Western Barista Competition to represent the Northwest Region in the Brewer's Cup and Barista Competition. Honor Forte a Barista and our Wholesale Relationship Manager and Alexander Choppin a Barista and the Manager of our Capitol Boulevard store both competed in the Brewer's Cup. Honor brewed our Kenya Gatomboya and Alexander brewed our Ethiopia Ademegorbota. When all was said and done, Honor came 1st place and Alexander came in 2nd. A huge win for both baristas and our company as a whole. Both Baristas have won the opportunity to compete in the United States Brewer's Cup, which will have the top three competitors from 6 regions nationwide.
Honor and Alexander brewing their coffees and replaying their award winning presentations today, Friday, February 28th at 10am at our roastery as a part of our public coffee cupping series that we host every Friday at 10am.
For the 4th year in a row we were voted Best Coffee by readers of the Weekly Volcano in their annual Best of Olympia issue. We are very happy and honored to again win the title of Best Coffee. This 6th time our company has received mention since the Weekly Volcano started the Best of Olympia in 2011. We have won Best Coffee every year, in addition Oliver received mention as "Most Approachable Coffee Expert" in 2011 and we also won Best Customer Service in 2012. We are so grateful to our customers that allow us to do what we love everyday. Thank you for you support of our small business, we truly have the best customers.
Sam & Oliver
Before January 1st, back in November of 2012 it was announced that we were Roast Magazine’s 2013 Micro Roaster of the Year. Naturally, we celebrated by throwing a huge party at our roastery on the November 15th our 7 anniversary of being in business. Our party was covered by the Weekly Volcano, and featured excellent coffee, organic beer, tamales and live music by Lazer Zeppelin and The Maxines.
Capitol Boulevard build out
By the time the first of the year rolled around we had just signed a lease on what was to become our Capitol Boulevard Coffee Bar. This was the beginning of a three month phase of designing and building a state of the art coffee bar to serve the neighborhoods south of the Capital. We converted a former salon space into a beautiful coffee bar opening up on March 28th.
Sam at the NWRBC; Cherry Street Cafe bench seating
But that wasn’t the only thing we did during that three month period, at the end of January we worked with Windfall Lumber to install gorgeous reclaimed bench seating at our Cherry Street Café. In February for the 3rd year in a row we won Best Coffee in the Weekly Volcano’s Best of Olympia, and Sam competed for the first time in the Northwest Regional Barista Competition taking 7th place.
Oliver at the CODECH cupping competition; Maracaturra coffee cherry at El Socorro
We continued our Direct Trade partnerships visiting coffee farmers through the winter, spring and summer in Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Colombia. This year we greatly expanded our sourcing work in the remote village of Concepcion Huista, Huehuetenago, Guatemala. Working with the CODECH Cooperative and three Importers Olam, Café Imports and Atlas we expanded to source from Individual farms, an area of the COOP called ADINTHEC and held a cupping competition within the cooperative bringing home the first and second place winners on top of many other stellar lots from the CODECH producers while paying huge premiums on top of their normal Organic Fair Trade premiums.
In April, Oliver participated in a panel lecture about new and creating ways of Storytelling through branding, that was presented at the Specialty Coffee Association of America conference in Boston.
Oliver at the Burundi Cup of Excellence; Luis Rodriguez at Coffee Nursery El Salvador
August marked the first time that we sent a representative from Olympia Coffee to Africa. Oliver was selected as a juror for the Burundi Cup of Excellence and started to lay the groundwork on sourcing coffee direct while traveling in Burundi, Rwanda and Kenya. While in Burundi Olympia Coffee solidified one the first programs in all Africa that helps small scale farmers buy back the washing through quality premiums. Meanwhile, back in Olympia we hosted a rambunctious group of baristas at our new Capitol Boulevard shop for the monthly traveling latte art competition, TNT Northwest, covered here by Barista Magazine.
In October, our El Aguila Pacamara from El Salvador was scored 94 points by CoffeeReview.com and was featured in their monthly article as one of the best examples of a single-varietal coffee. El Socorro Maracaturra Guatemala scored an impressive 93 this month as well. We also competed in the America’s Best Espresso Competition at CoffeeFest Seattle and took home the 3rd place trophy.
Staff cupping at the roastery;Stephanie at the roaster
In November our Konga Yirgacheffe from Ethiopia was selected as a finalist for the 2014 Good Food Awards. Also our Banko Natural from Ethiopia was scored 94points by CoffeeReview.com and featured in the monthly article as one of the best examples of a natural process Ethiopian coffee.
In December CoffeeReview.com stated that our El Aguila Pacamara El Salvador topped their best coffees of the year at 14th place. As well as our Holiday Blend scoring 93 point on CoffeeReview.com. We were also mentioned in two articles this month in serious eats, one featured our delicious Decaf Asterisk and the other the best Holiday Blends of the year.
Brady and Honor unloading a new espresso machine; Staff at the Capitol store the day before opening
Of all of our accomplishments in 2013, we are most proud of the team of people that drive Olympia Coffee forward. We have seen strong growth in our small company over the last year. At the beginning of the year there were fourteen people working at Olympia Coffee, now our staff numbers twenty-three. With our growth, the quality of our coffee has only improved. Our training program has become tighter than ever before, with a dedicated trainer for both our retail stores and one for our wholesale partners. Our roasting is a strong as ever and our sourcing program only continues to improve. While we still remain a small independent company, our growth brings us to scale where we can contribute more meaningful ways to our local community and larger coffee community. While growth and critical acclaim can be exciting, we know that lasting satisfaction comes from a commitment to our core purpose as a quality of life business. We remain most interested in growing the quality of life of our coffee farmers, our staff and our customers while sourcing, roasting and brewing the finest coffees in the world. We thank you for your continued support of our small company though this last year and into the next.
Sam and Oliver
Blind Assessment: Rich, fruit and brandy. Cherry, blueberry, milk chocolate, brandy, lily-like flowers in aroma and cup. Lively, effervescent acidity; lightly syrupy mouthfeel. Rich and sweet in the short finish, slightly drying in the long.
Notes: A blend of a Costa Rica coffee from the distinguished Lomas Al Rio mill and a Colombian coffee produced by the OCCICAFE cooperative in the La Plata region of Huila, Colombia. Olympia Coffee Roasting is a small-batch wholesale and retail roasting company with a youthful, no-nonsense style and a commitment to high-quality organic coffees. Visit www.olympiacoffeeroasting.com or call 360-753-0066 for more information.
Who Should Drink It: The out-front and expressive fruit, brandy and flowers that dominate cup and aroma should make a nice fit with holiday brunches and desserts.