Randy Evans was in San Francisco to receive a 2016 Good Food Award for our Kenya Gatundu Karinga, becoming the region's only 2 time Winner!
We had an incredible time at Coffee Fest Portland 2015. Evans Brothers Won 3rd Place in the prestigious America's Best Coffeehouse competition! According to Coffee Fest, "America's Best Coffeehouse competition has been developed to determine and acknowledge the three best coffeehouses regionally in North America"
We were excited to receive a 93 score from Coffee Review this past month for our Organic Ethiopia Yirgacheffe Aylele. Coffee Review is a coffee buying guide run by the esteemed Kenneth Davids, and is used by many coffee aficionados to find the best coffees available, from the universe of available roasters. Each month there is a specific theme, and roasters around the country submit their best coffees in hopes of receiving one of the top ratings and being published. This was the first time we had submitted anything to Coffee Review, and the theme was 'Coffees from a Single Variety, Single Lot'. Only 13 of the highest rated coffees are published in the monthly article, and our Ethiopia Yirgacheffe Aylele made the cut with an outstanding 93 score! Click here to read the review.
Our focus at Evans Brothers is finding these 'microlot' coffees that can be traced directly to the farm and lot level. This differs from a coffee that is simply listed with the region it comes from, as is most often the case in Africa. You'll ususally just see a coffee as Ethiopia Yirgacheffe. This is because most of the farmers are very small scale and all send to the same regional location for processing. There is often no incentive to be better than your neighbor. This is beginning to change with the work of good importers such as Cafe Imports, who located this coffee for us. They have provided financial incentive to individual farmers and isolated each individual farm. Mr. Aylele and his family rose to the top this year. Last year we selected coffee from a nearby farm owned by the Birhanu family, a coffee that ended up winning a Good Food Award.
This is one reason why our coffee offerings rotate seasonally. We are always searching for the best of the best. For anyone wanting to get the best coffees we have available, I recommend our Roaster's Reserve Coffee Subscription. We select our best coffees every month and send these to you automatically, assuring that you'll always drink our most exciting Kenya's or Ethiopian's or other limited release, special coffees.
I recently returned from another Coffee Fest Seattle weekend, taking along two of our baristas, Chad and Daniel. These tradeshows are a great way for us to connect with peers in industry, along with our importers and other vendors. The friendly, yet serious, competitions that take place are a blast to take part in as well.
America's Best Espresso competition selects 32 of the western region and Canada''s best roasters to compete in a head-to-head, single elimination tournament. Each roaster supplies their blend and a barista that pulls 3 shots of espresso for a carefully selected panel of judges. We used our Headwall Espresso Blend, after refining it somewhat by tweaking the components. The judges gave us detailed and high praise for the espresso's flavor, complexity, and body. We ended up losing a close matchup to 2nd place winner Kuma Coffee, making it to the Top Eight overall. We were proud to have gotten further than any other roaster from the Inland Northwest, fairing very well against established teams in places like Seattle and Portland. With the feedback received, we will continue to develop our house espresso blend in hopes of taking home 1st place honors next year!
Both Chad and Daniel also made it into the World Latte Art Championship. This is a big deal with seemingly half the contestants flying in from Japan for the event, each with their personalized steaming pitchers and cups. (Sounds like a Will Farrell comedy in the making- Rock Star Barista!) This was Chad's first entry into one of these events, so it was a success just fighting the nerves in front of hundreds of people watching. Daniel did a great pour but lost a close one to to the eventual finalist. Visions Espresso hosted another latte art competition, with the best pours I've ever seen. Daniel ended up winning four rounds, losing to the winner. It was cool also to see our friend Jeremy from Revel 77 in Spokane take 3rd place overall.
I had the privilege of being a judge for the Best Coffee House competition. Teams from some fantastic cafes setup a simulated cafe experience, complete with a menu and signature drinks. We were asked to judge from a customer's standpoint on service, drink quality, presentation, and other factors. What a great time, and a wonderful way to get ideas for our own cafe! Congrats to Slate Coffee in Seattle for taking 1st place!
One of our favorite parts of traveling to these events is doing our own coffee crawl to the best cafes in the city. We got over-caffeinatted at Cafe Lladro, Tougo Coffee, Neptune Coffee, Milstead & Co, and Slate Coffee, among others. We also stopped in at Cafe Abodegas, our wholesale partners who are doing a great job with both coffee and food, having just opened a 2nd location.
Evans Brothers Coffee served at famous James Beard House in NYC Jeremy Hansen, owner and chef at Sante Restaurant & Charcuterie in Spokane https://www.facebook.com/SanteSpokane is fast becoming one of the preeminent and most highly regarded chefs in the Northwest. After an extensive screening process, Jeremy was selected by the James Beard Foundation to present a dinner to some of the most important diners in America at the James Beard House in Manhattan. http://www.jamesbeard.org/ I was thrilled and honored when Jeremy called me last month to ask if we would provide the coffee for this important and honored occasion. We selected a new microlot of Ethiopia Yirgacheffe Aylele, a farm very close to the Birhanu farm that won us a Good Food Award earlier this year. The feedback was excellent: here is what Jeremy Hansen said…”Your coffee is amazing. The guests at The Beard House truly loved it as well. The Beard House employees were fighting over the left over coffee. The East Coast doesn’t get coffee like that very often.” Hansen is the first Spokane chef to be invited to make a pilgrimage to America’s shrine to food; his goal was to put the Inland Northwest’s bounty – the food and people- on the biggest stage in the business. James Beard is a place where culinary careers are made, and it sounds like these important diners left very impressed with the cuisine (and coffee) from our region and Sante specifically. Apparently every single diner remained through the post meal Q & A, something which rarely happens.
At Evans Brothers, we have always looked at coffee roasting as a craft that should be given the same care and attention as the wine and culinary world. So It gives us a great deal of pride and humility to have been included in the highest levels of the greater culinary world. Thanks again to Jeremy Hansen!
Randy and I had a fun-filled, highly caffeinated, and glutinous weekend at the Good Food Awards in San Francisco. We arrived thursday morning and enjoyed a nice dinner in the Corona Heights district with our friends that live there. Friday morning we toured the following cutting edge roasters: Sightglass, Four Barrel, Ritual, and one of the Blue Bottle outlets. We were particularly impressed with Sightglass. Their facility is amazing- exactly what one would develop for a roaster/retail location if money were no object.
Friday evening was the Good Food Awards Ceremony and Reception. We had the opportunity to meet and listen to keynote speaker Alice Waters, culinary pioneer and founder of one of San Francisco's most famous restaurants, Chez Panisse. <http://www.chezpanisse.com/about/alice-waters/ It was thrilling to be honored on stage alongside some of the most respected artisan coffee roasters in America. Following the formal awards ceremony was a reception which was one of the best meals of our lives. Top San Francisco chefs prepared dishes made with ingredients from all the award winning winners: charcuterie, cheese, preserves, pickles, spirits, craft beer, confections, and my personal favorite, chocolate! The quality of the food was truly amazing. We ate dinner, then gorged on chocolate, then dinner again, followed by more chocolate. Randy enjoyed some amazing beer and spirits as well.
The weekend concluded with a Saturday morning marketplace tradeshow at the beautiful San Francisco Ferry Building, with all the winners sampling and selling product. With the Fancy Food Show in town at the same time, our coffee was introduced to many sophisticated 'foodies' as well as wholesale buyers. Even with the other fantastic coffees available, our Ethiopia Yirgacheffe was very well received. All in all this was great exposure for Evans Brothers Coffee and a good kick start to our year.
We are excited to announce that we have been selected as a Winner at the 2013 Good Food Awards, in the coffee category for our Organic Ethiopia Yirgacheffe Birhanu! Randy and I are heading to San Francisco this weekend for a black-tie Awards Ceremony at the San Francisco Ferry Building on friday night. Saturday we will be showcasing our coffee alongside the other winners at the Good Food Awards Marketplace. The Fancy Food Show is in town at the same time and 15,000 people are expected on the show floor. The list of Finalists and past Award Winners is a ‘Who’s Who’ in coffee, with highly respected industry professionals making up the judging panel. We have admired many of these roasters for years, so it is very gratifying to be recognized among industry peers such as these.
What are the Good Food Awards? Here are some of the details: 182 Finalists from 31 states were selected from among 1366 entries in nine categories: coffee, beer, charcuterie, cheese, chocolate, confections, pickles, preserves, and spirits. They represent the leaders of a growing movement of conscientious, talented food producers in every part of the country. Finalists are those entrants that rise to the top in the Blind Tasting and are also able to clearly articulate how they fit the Good Food Awards industry-specific criteria of environmental and social responsibility. Finalists attested to responsible production by detailing their efforts to eliminate or reduce pesticides, herbicides and chemical fertilizers, source ingredients locally where possible, implement water and energy conservation, ensure traceability to the farm level, practice good animal husbandry and exercise fair and transparent treatment of workers and suppliers.
In its 3rd year, the Good Food Awards http://www.goodfoodawards.org/ celebrate the kind of food we all want to eat: tasty, authentic, and responsibly produced. Awards are granted to outstanding American food producers and farmers providing their ingredients. The Awards Ceremony honors those who push their industries towards craftsmanship and sustainability while enhancing our agricultural landscape and building strong communities. The Good Food Awards seal, found on winning products, assures consumers they have found something exceptionally delicious that also supports sustainability and social good.
I'll report back after the event to share...