Year-end is a time we like to reflect back, celebrate the triumphs, and look to the future. It’s difficult to imagine, but 2016 was one of our best years to date. From awards to growth to personal celebrations, 2016 had it all. So chronologically, here are just some of those that stand out.
Winning the Good Food Awards again started the year off in style, but being honored to bring in and speak together with Chairman Francis Maara Kariuki of the Gitwe Farmers Co-operative Society Ltd, in his first visit outside Kenya, made the award even more rewarding. The Good Foods Award has become a special award among all coffee roasters as it celebrates not only coffee distinguished by exemplary flavor – sweet, clean, well developed body, balanced acidity and phenomenal aromatics, but the criteria ensures roasters and coffee farmers emphasize fairness and transparency from seed to cup.
From Good Foods I began my travels searching for great coffee and building our Direct-Trade relationships. This started appropriately in Kenya, where I again visited Chairman Francis Maara Kariuki at the mill. He was still wearing the medal we won and I presented to him in San Francisco at the Good Food Awards. He was so proud that people from the United States celebrated and made life better for a small coffee farmer in Kenya.
From Kenya to Ethiopia where we found our Gedeb (more about this later), then Guatemala where I was able to see a couple of our 9 Baristi we sent to Antigua where they worked in and helped train a coffeehouse, visited mills and coffee farms we buy from. I also visited partners in El Salvador (Jasal and Las Mercedes), Costa Rica (COE Winner Francisco Mena who we get our Costa’s through), and more. In Colombia I was able to take part in the Best of Huila where I discovered and brought back our Pink Bourbon and Purple Caturra we featured this year. Plus of course Panama where Todd Goldsworthy and I selected his coffee for the US Brewers Cup. Overall I traveled over 100,000 miles this year and visited over 20 countries.
The judges must have loved the Esmeralda Natural Geisha we selected because in May Todd won the US Brewers Cup at SCAA in Atlanta. This was Todd’s second US Championship and earned him a trip to Ireland in June where Todd made the finals and finished 5th in the World. What an accomplishment for Todd, Klatch and the Peterson family of Esmeralda in Panama.
Talking about great coffee, our Sumatra Lintong Mutu Batak won Coffee Review’s July tasting scoring 94 points and finishing as one of the Top 30 Coffees of 2016. This Sumatra has long been one of our value favorites and can still be purchased on our website here.
In July we launched our new Nitro and Cold Brews. We offer both in kegs and the Cold Brew in Concentrate. Cold Brew, and particularly Nitro have exploded on the coffee scene this year. Nitro for those not yet familiar, are Nitrogen infused cold coffee that cascades with tiny micro bubbles like a Guinness Beer.
September took me back to Portland and the Golden Bean. Like Good Foods, this competition has grown in only its second year but differentiates itself from other competitions as it features espresso and all tasting is Blind. This year over 700 espresso’s were submitted from roasters all across North America. While many medals are awarded only two Golden Beans are given. Having won the inaugural Golden Bean in 2015, we outdid ourselves with 8 medals and another Golden Bean. The Golden Bean winning blend is available online here.
Later in September, our personal family expanded as our youngest daughter Holly (who runs our retail operations) married Todd Goldsworthy (who runs our wholesale sales) at a wonderful wedding in beautiful Paso Robles. While this was our only wedding, we grew and added many key members this year. Geena R. returned to Klatch where she runs our roasting and warehouse as Production Manager. Michelle Clemente joined Todd to help our growing wholesale customers and is primarily helping in Orange County. Tyler Smith came to Klatch from the SCAA and handles all Graphic Design, Marketing and Website responsibilities. Plus we added many great Baristi, roasters and team members through out the company.
Coffee Fest traveled to Anaheim CA this year, our back yard, and added America’s Best Cold Brew competition to its already successful America’s Best Espresso competitions. Both featured head to head competitions with over 36 of the best roasters in the US. For espresso we very slightly tweaked our Golden Bean blend with a little more Elida Natural from our friend Wilford Lamastus. The judges loved our blend and we advanced to the sweet 16, elite 8, final 4 and eventually the finals where we won America’s Best Espresso. This was a great honor not only to our roasting team but also Jessica (our San Dimas store manager) who pulled shots for us and did a great job. In the Cold Brew competition we decided to use our Ethiopian Gedeb Nitro infused. Once again head to head with 8 to 10 roasters serving the public who made up 50% of the score, and the judges who tasted blind and made up the other 50%. This competition was a fan favorite as the public waited up to one hour in long lines to try the different cold brew coffees. Different from the America’s Best Espresso, here all of the final four went at once with one winner……Klatch Coffee. Luckily we ordered extra of this great coffee and have both the Fair Trade Organic Ethiopian Gedeb beans (available online here) and the Gedeb Nitro Cold brew for sale.
And speaking of the Fair Trade Organic Ethiopian Gedeb we just learned it is a finalists for the Good Food Awards in January of 2017, so next year already looks bright.
2016 was also filled with lots of trainings and classes at our new State of the Art Training Center that was just approved by the SCAA so in 2017 we will be offering Q Classes, all SCAA Pathway classes (Barista, Roaster, Green Buyer, etc) and of course our current schedule of Klatch classes by our resident champion Heather.