Women In Coffee – Traudel Germann Mick

Deep through the tortuous roads of Villa Rica, Peru, over the Andes mountains from the metropolis of Lima, is a bonny coffee farm. With varieties like Pacamara, Red Catuai, and Gesha lining the dusty roads for kilometers before the final grind to the house, worker lodgings, and processing facilities, Finca Santa Josefa is almost, but not quite, as impressive as its owner, Traudel Germann Mick.

Traudel impresses you on first meeting. Her eyes wide with passion as she discusses her farm and her coffee with a tumbling mix of German, Spanish, and English, she dominates any room. Until recently her beloved husband, Juan Luis Vier, stood beside her as a quiet counterpoint to her enthusiasm. Together they began changing Peruvian coffee producing culture in a way none of us will forget.

Santa Josefa had long produced a lot of solid Villa Rican coffees, but nothing very exceptional. Four or five years ago Traudel caught the specialty coffee vision. Juan Luis, who was an engineer, took her vision and executed it on their farm, creating processes, methods and equipment that allowed them to begin experimenting with fermentation times and types, variety separation (for the first time), and other unique approaches to coffee production.

It was with great sorrow that we, around the coffee world, learned of the death of Traudel’s husband Juan Luis, after a long battle with cancer. This hardship has only firmed Traudel’s resolve to produce better and better Peruvian coffee, proving to the world Juan Luis’s legacy of quality. As a coffee professional who counts among my most treasured moments the days I spent with Traudel and Juan Luis on Finca Santa Josefa last year, I also vow to carry his legacy through the years.

We women of coffee are widely diverse, remarkable, and courageous. We work on the impossible Andean slopes picking cherries, we drive international companies, and we tell stories that change the landscape of the world. Traudel Germann Mick is just getting started, and so are we. United by passion and hard work and our love for this wonderful beverage that brings us together, we, the women and the men of coffee, pivot from the old to the new with joy in our hearts.

Emily McIntyre

 

Women in Coffee – Cole Werfelman

In continued celebration of International Womens Day we’ve interviewed barista Cole Werfelman from the The South Store Cafe and asked her to talk about her views and experiences of being a woman in the coffee industry.

Cole won first place in Caravan Coffee’s 2015 Barista Show-Down and second place in 2014.


 

Q: How long have you been in the coffee industry?

A: I have been making coffee for 5 years and I’m not stopping any time soon!

 

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Q: What is it that drew (or draws) you to coffee?

A: I would have to say that it’s the art of making a good cup of coffee that originally captivated me. From dialing in the espresso just right and extracting that perfect flavor, to steaming the milk to a nice velvet consistency. It was more than just making a drink; it was making art.


I think what keeps me going is the education. There’s always something new to learn and people to learn from.

 

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Q: What is the most challenging part of your job?

A: Not having more time to travel! I guess it’s the negative a part of any job, really. There are so many different coffees and coffee shops I want to experience, but there’s never enough time. For my birthday this year, some friends and I went cafe hopping in Portland and I can’t wait to do it again.

 

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Q: What is the most rewarding part of your job?

A: When I get to see the results of my passion and hard work all come together in the smiles on our customers’ faces when I hand them their drink. Although The South Store is a bit out of the way, we still get return customers that are excited for me to make their drink in the morning. Their reactions and their dedication to us gives me the satisfaction of knowing that I’m doing something right and leaves me feeling good about what I do.

 

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Q: If you could visit one coffee growing region which would it be and why?

A: If I had to pick just one place, though I don’t know if I really could pick just one, I think it would be Sumatra. I use Caravan’s Fair Trade Organic Sumatra in my signature Earth blend and I would love to be able to see the farm and meet the people who grow my coffee.

 

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Q: What is your favorite single origin coffee?

A: Why must I pick one? They are all so different and unique in their own way! If I had to pick, you can never go wrong with a good Colombian. I love how, even by itself, you can find a good nutty flavor and that natural sweetness I look for in coffee.

 

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Q: How well do you feel women are represented in your field?

A: There are many women baristas who I look up to and who inspire me. I see their passion, dedication and how hard they have worked to get where they are and it’s very motivating. Their examples make me want to be better as a barista.

 

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Q: How do you see the importance of women in the coffee industry?

A: I feel it’s important to keep up on my education. When I advance my education it creates new experiences and opportunities for me to be an example for other women in the world of coffee. It’s easy to see being a barista as just a job. However, when you are passionate about what you do, you become an inspiration, not only to other women, but to everyone who has a dream they want to follow.

 

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Q: If you could change one thing in the coffee industry today what would it be?

A: I would want to have more education available for everyone. Not just for baristas but even for people making coffee at home. I often find that when I try and look for answers to my coffee questions on the internet I will either find no answer or conflicting answers.

We need more hands-on training. For me, I know that I can read all I want about coffee or brewing techniques, but until I get behind the machine and apply it, I never truly know how it will work.

Women in Coffee -Mica Villasenor

In celebration of International Womens Day on March 8th we’ve interviewed two women and asked them to talk about their views and experiences of being a woman in the coffee industry. Our first interview is with our very own coffee roaster Mica Villasenor.


Q: How long have you been in the coffee industry?

A: Since High School really…so 15 years! Oh my.  I started working as a Barista at a local drive thru. We actually served Caravan Coffee.

Q: What is it that drew (or draws) you to coffee?

A: I think initially, as a teenager I just wanted a job. (I may have also had a crush on the guy that got me the job.) 🙂 Once I started, I found myself fascinated by everything about coffee. I really gravitated to the agricultural side of coffee, because I grew up on a plant nursery and my family had a side business of ornamental tree/shrub propagation.  I find coffee plants are beautiful and distinct.  I’ve also been one to seek or learn new things, and in the coffee world there is no limit to what you can learn.

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Q: What is the most challenging part of your job?

A : Understanding my supervisor and his accent…I‘m kidding. I think the most challenging part is staying on top of the education and technology that enhances/simplifies the roasting process.

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Q: What is the most rewarding part of your job?

A: Honestly what I find most rewarding is knowing that when I roast coffee, I’m helping a farmer’s child go to school or get medical care, or a habitat for a species of plant/animal is being protected.  I respect and admire the activism aspect within the coffee world.  The Specialty Coffee realm, specifically, focuses on maintaining higher ethical, humane, and ecological standards as compared to your run of the mill coffee producers. Although conditions of most coffee farms around the world often fail to meet the level I would like to see,  

I’m impressed by the progress the Specialty Coffee Association of America has elicited and continues to improve upon. I’m very grateful that my job and the company I work for focuses on these matters when sourcing coffee.  Compared to even ten years ago, working conditions and environmental stewardship has improved, and that eases my soul a bit. There is also some appreciation for my work when I get to observe happy customers sipping on a freshly poured cup, smiling when they are being educated about the coffee, or when children (or grown children) peer in the window with a look of intrigue as I roast. There is a direct view from the roasters to the tasting room at Caravan, and I get to see this almost everyday.

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Q: If you could visit one coffee growing region which would it be and why?

A: Oooh…that’s a hard one. Perhaps Peru. We (Caravan Coffee) source some coffee through a Women run cooperative, Cafe Femenino, which is all over Latin America.  We specifically use Peruvian coffee, which happens to be one of my favorite to roast.  I would love to see how the ladies work together and the impact they have made in their local growing region.

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Q: What is your favorite single origin coffee?

A:  I tend to fancy most Ethiopian Coffees…and although we do not carry it at the moment, I enjoy Ethiopian Harrar.

Q: How well do you feel women are represented in your field?

A:  I am aware of the existence of other lady roasters. While at conferences I have met many, though the acknowledgement of Lady Roasters is a bit scant.

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Q: What is the  importance of women in the coffee industry?

A: It’s huge, because women currently make up about 85% of the workforce in coffee production.

Q: If you could change one thing in the coffee industry today what would it be?

A: The industrialized agriculture of coffee.  What does that mean? Any industrialized mono-culture creates havoc on the land and environment.  In regards to the coffee growing regions; the biodiversity of both plants, animals, as well as the natural resources are compromised, ensuing complications with the health and welfare of the local population.

Plus, good coffee is best grown in areas of high biodiversity, which contributes various nutrients from other plants that enhance the complexity and flavor of the coffee. More biodiversity also protects coffee plants and reduces the use of pesticides. Since it takes a full coffee tree to produce a pound of coffee, you can imagine the acres/hectares of land that is destroyed.

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Your bread and butter – The importance of a clean machine

For those of us who have ever worked in or owned a coffee shop, we are all probably very aware of the expense of an espresso machine. To get a good quality machine that will be used a lot in a coffee shop or restaurant, these can range from $10,000-$25,000 depending on the specs you need for your establishment. When I first started working in the coffee industry as a barista years ago, I was amazed by this cost!

That being said, with the amount of money we invest into this piece of equipment which essentially is our means of bringing in customers and making a profit, we should recognize the importance of keeping a clean and healthy machine.  

Long story short, there are two key ingredients to consider when keeping up with machine maintenance. Firstly, coffee beans have oils. These can be both a blessing and a curse for coffee lovers. The oils in coffee can produce the wonderful flavors that coffee lovers cherish, but they can also be the reason for a drink to have an awful taste.

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These oils will cling to most anything they can in your espresso machine and coffee grinder, they will get old and start to bring strange flavors to your coffee. It is so important to clean your machine at least once a day by backflushing with an espresso machine cleaning agent of your choosing; it’s even better when this can be done twice in a day’s service. Your espresso grinder also needs to be cleaned daily by washing the hopper, vacuuming out the grinds from that day’s use, and brushing down the accessible interior and exterior parts with a soft-bristled grinder brush. We also recommend running a product such as Grindz™ through your grinders every one to four weeks, depending on usage. This natural product helps soak up the oils in your grinder, preventing build-up and extending the life of the burrs.

The second thing to think about to prolong the life of your machine is to have a good water filtration system in your line before plumbing into your espresso machine. In a lot of areas in the USA hard water is prevalent in the water system and this can play havoc with your machine. By having a good water filtration system you can prevent the buildup of limescale in the boilers and pipes which in some cases can lead to having to send the machine away to a specialist to go through an acid bath to remove this limescale. This can be costly in terms of service and you are unable to open the shop if you don’t have your espresso machine.

 

Take care of your espresso machine and other equipment; they are your bread and butter.

El Salvador Las Isabellas: A love affair with coffee

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Almost 15 years ago, a young man in his early 20’s came into my store-front with some green coffee and a big smile. He told me his name was Francisco Valdivieso and that this coffee was from his family farm back in El Salvador. It wasn’t every day that I met someone like this in Newberg, Oregon, so I was intrigued to say the least.   

He told me about his family history and how, as a young boy during the peak of a civil war, his father moved their family from El Salvador to Oregon to start a new life. Meanwhile his father’s brother, Uncle Ricardo, stayed in El Salvador to manage the family business.

Their coffee farm is located in the western region of El Salvador and has been in Francisco’s family for over 120 years. Hiding among the farm’s shade-grown coffee plants are numerous Mayan ruins. Archeologists have dated some of these sites at over 3,500 years old.

Fascinated by this story and this young man, I took his sample of green coffee with the promise to “cup” it and let him know what I thought. Maybe it was the bias I had developed toward Central American coffees after my first trip to Costa Rica, or maybe it was the excitement of being a part of such a long lineage of coffee farmers. I don’t fully remember. What I do remember is feeling that we needed to offer this coffee to our customers.

I was compelled to acquire this coffee even though, at the time, we already carried a good selection of Central American coffees. I knew the importance of being passionate about the coffees we offered and working with growers who share in that passion. This was one of those coffees and the beginning of our love affair with it.12301711_1272294759462571_6385008008557665071_n

In 2006, my wife Krista and I were invited to take a trip down to the farm in El Salvador to meet the family that had stewarded this coffee farm for the past 120 years. It was a journey of a lifetime that left a mark on me as a person and instilled in me a commitment to seek out and partner with the amazing, vibrant people who grow coffee all around the world.

11219641_1281180785240635_7301883589676014227_nFour years after we first started offering this coffee, we were told that it would no longer be available to purchase. We were heartbroken, but this is not an uncommon situation in the specialty coffee world. It is easy to forget that coffee is an agricultural product subject to growing seasons and fluctuating markets.10170805_1286824291342951_7325454862719768089_n   

A few months ago, I learned that a local restaurant chain had purchased a container of this green coffee and that there would be a possibility of snagging a few bags “off the back of the truck” I was ecstatic! I had a chance to reunite our customers with a unique piece of Caravan history.

It has been seven years since Caravan has offered El Salvador Las Isabellas and I am happy to announce that it is available once again! With its smoky fragrance up front and rose petal and cinnamon finish, this coffee will not disappoint. 

It is available online and in our tasting room. (BUY ONLINE)

47 Tips To Make Pour Over Coffee Like A Barista

Our partner, Handground, recently released an amazing article and quoted Kat Stauffer, Caravan’s Tasting Room Manager on brewing through the Able Kone. She says,

“The Able Kone tends to brew best with gentle agitation. After the bloom, pour gently through the center until about 300 ml of water has been reached. Gently break the crust then return to a slow and steady stream pouring down the middle.”

Read the article for yourself here! We’ll be getting new grinders from these good folks in the Tasting Room May(ish).

 

Caravan’s 2016 Road Map

We are going on a Road Trip!

And your Caravan Team has a Road Map for our 2016 road trip. This is going to be a great adventure. Like every good Road Map, we’ll show you where we are now, where we are going and the path that we will take.  

First of all, this road trip began in 1990, 25 years ago when we started the longest running espresso bar in Oregon. So, this is just another leg in our journey – one that is filled with confidence, excitement, and readiness. Our adventure in coffee has been rooted in community and seeking quality with respect to all concerned. Our brand and style has changed over the years, from Magic Carpets to Camels, and now the iconic Travel Trailer. All that to say; we are “Well Traveled”.

As we jump into this Road Trip of 2016, you can expect our Mission and Core Values to remain the same. What is changing is a refining of our brand and our business.

We will be releasing a unified theme that will be carried out in our blend names, packaging, web site, and all printed material. We also will be refining our coffee offerings to a smaller number of blends and origins that will allow us to do a better job on presenting the best to you. These transitions will happen over the course of 2016, with an anticipated full release in the winter of 2016.

As an example of this blend refinement, we had 4 different Dark or French Roast styles of coffee that were offered in 2015 and we now have one. Instead of eight different decaffeinated coffees offered, we now have three, of which are all certified organic, fair trade, and naturally processed.

We have also refined our origin sourcing of coffee to selections that are all certified through our strict social and environmental criteria, (see “Statement of Sourcing” at www.caravancoffee.com). We are committed to giving back in a bigger way, both locally and globally. This coming year, our giving commitments include a local chapter of Habitat for Humanity, a Water Sanitation Project in La Plata Colombia and a Socially Conscious Coffee project in Bahia Brazil.  

So let’s get rolling down the road for a fun-filled 2016! 

– Pete Miller, owner & proprietor

Customer Spotlight: McMinnville Fire Department

Recently I was given the opportunity to visit one of our newest customers, the McMinnville Fire Department. As I walk through their halls, I am in awe of the stories I see on the walls. Heroism unites each of the pictures: people going above and beyond the call of duty, putting their lives on the line in order to save others. I can only imagine the hurt of loss and the moments of relief that are bound to fill the air I’m breathing. I’m not sure I can ever say thank you enough to the brave women and men of this fire house for their incredible service to the community. Even more amazing to me: many of these heroes are here on a voluntary basis.  

coffee, coffee subscription, giving back, mcminnvilleNot only are these wonderful people saving those in need but they’re bettering the community through helping out in a multitude of ways, most notably at this time of the year with the Toy and Joy campaign. The McMinnville Fire Dept is a collection point for this campaign whose “mission for 100 years has been to promote the spirit of helping children and families of our community during the holiday season.” 

At Caravan Coffee we are blessed and thankful to be able to be serving these wonderful people our hand crafted coffee. The community of the McMinnville Fire Department is a beacon of hope in times of severe need, so let’s raise our cup of coffee to them and acknowledge that they are worthy of our thanks!

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year everyone!

Chris McMullan, Sales and Service Rep

 

Caravan Coffee: 2015 Recap

New Roaster

This year we said goodbye to our old roaster, Cisco, and welcomed our new roaster Franc. Franc is also a 25lb roaster but with some added features that give us more manual control over our roast profiles.

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New Salesman

In September welcomed our new salesman Chris McMullan to the Caravan Family. Chris has been doing a great job in his first 3 months and we are excited about his future here at Caravan!

Ethiopia Trip

In February our Master Roaster Paul Allen travelled to Ethiopia, the birthplace of coffee. During his trip he was able to visit the coffee mills where they process and pack the coffee. While he was there he came across two amazing coffees, Ethiopia Sidamo Peaberry and Ethiopia Abaya. This trip was a great opportunity to not only see where our coffee is grown but also see the changes happening in the lives of the people who grow it.face, girl, ethiopia, coffee

Barista Showdown

In June Caravan hosted the third annual Barista Showdown. We raised over $1000 dollars for the Newberg Area Habitat for humanity. We had baristas from all over oregon and a few from out of state compete and in the end the winner was Cole Werfelman from the South Store Cafe!

The Face of Ethiopia Coffee

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You could ask me her name and my reply would be, “I don’t know”. It’s what she is saying, without words,  that captured my attention.

I visited a number of coffee mills in Ethiopia earlier this year. This one was in northern Ethiopia, the Abaya district. It was pleasant and sunny with the quiet hum of work being achieved. The Girma Dry Mill is in the village of Gwangwa where the coffee is laboriously checked for defects by women young and old.

There is a relaxed atmosphere as they all sit on the ground with piles of green coffee at their feet. We are talking up to 100 people here. They are agile and precise. Obviously the camera bring smiles all around. I am hoping it is because they are noticed and appreciated.

Today I look at the coffee in our warehouse here in Newberg, some 8500 miles away and see five bags of Ethiopia Abaya natural. I wonder if she touched some of the coffee seeds herself?​

–Paul Allen, Caravan Roastmaster