There’s something about COE…

Our roaster, Anne Cooper, recently traveled to Brazil for the first ever Brazil Late Harvest Cup of Excellence competition. Not only did Anne get to taste some of the country’s most incredible coffees, she had the chance to meet the producers behind coffees she found truly amazing.

Curiously enough, Anne tasted one particular coffee that blew her away—and she also met one exceptional producer who humbled her completely. Keeping in mind that the CoE tastings are blind, Anne had no idea which producer had produced which coffee…but lo and behold when the awards were announced, the woman by whom Anne had been starstruck was the same woman behind the coffee that had her awestruck. Back home in Ozone Park, the rest of us at Dallis Bros. had the opportunity to cup a sample of that very same coffee—Winner No. 5&mdasha stunningly elegant cup with rose-petal-floral tones, a clean acidity and a beautiful structure. Continuing our lucky streak, we then had the opportunity to win this coffee at auction—which we did!—and it is now making its way from Brazil to Queens. By the time it gets here it will have cost us more than $1000/bag unroasted…but you know what? We couldn’t be more excited unless we were Anne. Her diary from Brazil follows.

Well ……I never would have thought that I would have ever gotten the opportunity to go to a Cup of Excellence event—ever!! But there I was at the 2012 Brazil Late Harvest Cup of Excellence event this January.

It was a long way away from the cupping sessions I once held all the way back in Brisbane, Australia where —based only on what I could gather from the CoE website, reading from other resources as well as working to bring in small amounts to Australia via the team from Cafe Imports—I valiantly spread the word about this wonderful program to Australian coffee lovers who had never been exposed to Specialty coffee (only knew their coffee as ‘instant’ or as a ‘brand’) and knew nothing of the crop to cup journey. I once actually cried during a cupping session I was doing for the Australian Slow Food Group, when I was recounting how wonderful this competition is for the producers and what winning can mean for their quality of life etc. etc.!!

So, a very big thanks to Dallis Bros. Coffee and the wonderful John Moore for not being able to attend! I was thrilled at the opportunity to finally attend a Cup of Excellence event, the first ever Brazil Late Harvest competition, where I met one special producer—Hislena Pereira Nogueira. Hislena is a wonderful lady, 2nd generation farmer of her father’s farm which she now runs with her son. She is a true superstar in my eyes—a lady I will never, ever forget (although I think she thought I was stalking her a bit as I was completely starstruck by her). Meeting her was so very humbling for me.

Even though I was only an observer, and not a judge, at all times I was made to feel included, my opinion was asked for and respected and no-one ever acted like they were more important than the coffee they were cupping and judging (and believe me, there were certainly some legendary, superstar cuppers there too!!!)….we all took it very seriously, in a unified way, that we were there to taste and judge some of the finest Natural coffees of Brazil.


Another aspect of attending Cup of Excellence that you can’t read about, but need to experience for yourself, is the ‘spirit’ of being part of an international jury and what this means to the overall competition…. the spirit of the participants was fuelled by the spirit of the organisers who—through their meticulous structure—made sure the whole experience was positive and everyone had the opportunity to network and get to know each other (by the second day, we all got along so well, it felt like we had all been cupping together for years!!) as well as experience and enjoy some great aspects of Brazilian culture.

I didn’t understand straight away that an international jury of different people from all around the world meant there would be differences in palates/tastes—I totally failed to see this until after the first calibration cupping where the significance of different palates really expressed itself…..very quickly you saw what each culture was attracted to—and this can be exciting for a particular coffee/producer/the Cup of Excellence competition as a whole—which also means one amazing opportunity to learn even more about this complex world of coffee and what this means to other cultural palates. I was totally awestruck by the differences in perception of various tastes and flavours by each international judge and how this could affect how a coffee was judged and scored and what this meant to a coffee from the business and marketing perspective.
Back to the producers. I had the opportunity to meet and talk with Hislena before the awards ceremony—at this stage no one had any idea who had won anything—but there was something about Hislena! I actually remember being very nervous and anxious about this opportunity to meet one of the producers….but when I saw Hislena going up to get her finalist certificate I said That’s my lady…I have to talk to her!!! So I grabbed the translator and the rest is history….

A a result of this wonderful experience many new professional friendships were forged and it was wonderful that we were all there for the unified goal of supporting and promoting producers like Hislena.

April Factory Tour! No Foolin’!

Join us for a lovely spring tour of our coffee roasting factory and tasting room in Ozone Park, Queens!

Our coffee pros will lead the group through a few hours of local history, coffee roasting, coffee tasting (cupping), and a tour of our roasting plant.

Our next tour is Saturday, April 7th, beginning at 1:00 and wrapping up at about 4:00. Space on the tour is limited so book now at orders@dallisbroscoffee.com.

Tours are $10, and due to the tasting component we ask that all participants show up perfume and cologne free. If you have any questions feel free to call our office during business hours, (718) 845-3010.

News from the Farm

What’s the latest news from our farm in Brasil, Nossa Senhora Aparecida? Water, water, everywhere!

We are now at 50% irrigation, with our main goal to give the trees water as they need it. The drought of two years ago caused a huge loss in both production and bean size: irrigation can help us avoid another unforeseen bad weather season. We’re also able to exercise more control over when watering occurs, to ensure flowerings take hold more effectively. With this much control over our growing cycle, both yield and quality will improve. And there’s more water to come!

Other experiments, like our newly released Fully Washed, Yellow Bourbon micro-lot, are living proof of farm manager Edgard Bressani’s commitment to continually improving our coffee. Edgard decided to produce a fully washed lot of coffee for the first time in our farm’s history, from our Yellow Bourbon trees. We are very excited to offer such a unique coffee: this process is basically unheard of in Brazil. Most Brazilian coffees today are pulped natural or natural processed. Find out more about this coffee in our webshop!

Ninth Street Espresso: Keeping it Real in NYC

Could there be a more authentic New York espresso experience than walking into Ninth Street Espresso? Since 2001, Ninth Street has been ahead of the crowd: pushing the envelope and changing the way this city sees an extraordinary cup of coffee. So it’s apropos that beginning this week, New Yorkers will enjoy the shop’s own Alphabet City Blend roasted by another local NYC coffee icon, Dallis Bros. Coffee.

“When Ninth Street first opened 10 years ago, our first coffee roaster was Dallis, and I am very excited to come full circle and get the opportunity to work with them again,” said Ken Nye, owner of Ninth Street Espresso.  

He added, “We have decided to bring our roasting back to NYC. We are really excited to work with an amazing local company that is as quality driven as we are. With all respect to our former roaster, we felt that the time was right to ‘go local’ and support a NY roaster that is doing some really amazing work right here in our own backyard.”

“We’re incredibly proud that Ken Nye chose Dallis Bros. Coffee to be the exclusive roasting partner for Ninth Street Espresso. In working with Ninth Street, we know that the coffees we take such care to source and roast will be given their best expression in the hands of quality obsessed baristas every day,” said John Moore of Dallis Bros Coffee.

“One look at the menu, the preparation, and the dedication in Ninth Street shops and you know that they stand for something special.  It isn’t about hype or marketing flash, it is about substance and quality in the cup —period. In this we are absolutely aligned.”

Look for Ninth Street’s own Alphabet City Blend, roasted by Dallis Bros. Coffee, on bar this week at each of the cafe’s three locations:

Alphabet City: 700 E 9th Street (at Avenue C)
Tompkins Square Park: 341 East 10th Street (between Ave A& Ave B)
and in the Chelsea Market, 75 9th Ave (between 15th and 16th Streets)

Ninth Street, we couldn’t be more pleased to have you back!

Tales from the Dominican Republic

Our coffee director, Byron Jackson Holcomb, is not just a buyer but a farmer himself. This is his latest dispatch from a trip to visit his own coffee farm, Finca La Paz, in Los Frios, Dominican Republic.

 

Buying coffee is binary. Approve or Reject. For a long time the reigning coffee company in the Dominican Republic, Cafe Santo Domingo, has employed a system which dominates market forces. They often set the internal price for coffee buying at a price that is about 20 above the C market, when the coffee delivered is barely good enough for a C market approval (really low quality).

Cafe Santo Domingo also controls the internal price, and 95% of the internal market. The DR only produces about 500,000 bags of coffee a year. That is half a million, when most countries measure coffee production based in millions. Costa Rica produced 1.8 million last year and Honduras produced almost 5 million. Only about 30,000 to 40,000 bags are exported from the DR. That is a very very small amount.

For a long time we coffee people have wondered why they just didn’t buy cheap Brazil or robusta because local consumption doesn’t demand much quality. Last year, Cafe Santo Domingo purchased 120 boxes of Vietnam Robusta. The robusta coffee is cleaner and has more coffee than the stuff they used to buy as wet parchment coffee locally. For example, I just sold my repela—the final picking of the coffee tree’s cherries, regardless of their ripeness— to Cafe Santo Domingo. Now, what I sold them was barely coffee. It was about half green coffee and most of that wasn’t even “underripe” it was more like not even a bean. As a bean develops the skin is green, but there isn’t actually a coffee bean inside. It is just kinda mushy and might have the shell of the bean, but there is not real cellulose.

This year Santo Domingo has been stricter than ever. They are actually rejecting really bad coffees which means no one will buy it. Now that they have a supply of coffee from Vietnam to fill local market needs, they can use the Dominican coffees for export. One person told me that local quality has gone up with the robusta conversion. Another told me there have been lots of quality complaints. Nerva, my Dominican mother, says that the last can of coffee she had tasted like “nothing”. I found my Cafe Santo Domingo cafecitos to be just as inconstant and dark as ever.

What this means for Dominican coffee is that people will have to increase the quality of their processing or get a much lower price, or not sell their coffee at all. If farmers would invest in their farms and increase yields, then quality and production could be not far away. Of course, if the labor shortage and the constant exodus from rural areas to urban areas continues, there will be no one to bring the coffee to market.

It is rather simple, approve or reject.

Coffee Fest Brasil Naturals Cup of Excellence Cupping

It’s no secret we’re tremendous fans of Brasilian coffee here at Dallis—in fact, Brasil is part of our very own coffee family, stretching from here in New York City all the way down to our farm, Nossa Senhora Aparecida. It’s with this passion that we’re thrilled to announce a very special cupping at Coffee Fest NYC, featuring the best of the Brasil Natural-processed coffees featured in this year’s Cup of Excellence competition. Our head roaster, Anne Cooper, was in Brasil for the event and we’re now pleased to share our city with Cup of Excellence and these fantastic, wildly underrated coffees.

Attendance to the event (not including Coffee Fest admission) is FREE, but in order to fully appreciate the cupping experience, space is limited. Sign up here today to ensure a spot at Saturday’s exciting cupping.

And a word from our sprudgers

Our busy and incredible weekend hosting the NERBC last Saturday and Sunday would never have been the same without the pinnacle of coffee journalism, sprudge.com in attendance to keep score, shoot video, conduct interviews, and generally act like our event was as important and exciting as we think it was. Zachary and Jordan took a minute to share this exclusive video with us, and their final thoughts on the best region in the nation.

“It seems impossible, but the NERBC weekend has come and gone. It was an intense competition to say the least. In just 5 short years, the Northeast region has become home to many of the best cafes, baristas, and roasters in America, a vibrant community that fielded a record 46 competitors between the Barista Competition and Brewers Cup events. We came away stunned by the quality of routines throughout the weekend, and an atmosphere that felt more like a national event than a mere regional. A huge part of that excitement can be credited to the organizational and event planning work of the Dallis Bros. team, who were wise to pair this event with the 7th Annual Coffee and Tea Festival NYC. As hundreds of curious New Yorkers filed in and out of the competition space, it was at times tough to move, tough to think, tough to breathe, but it certainly made for an exciting room, with by far the largest audience of any regional event this year. Kudos to Dallis Bros. and the SCAA for planning, then managing to execute such an incredible weekend.

Sprudge.com provided event coverage throughout the weekend, both live on Twitter and via our home page. Curious readers can relive the weekend by visiting this link, a portal to all of our NERBC features, including videos, photos and recaps – 17 pieces of coverage and counting. Our work at NERBC would never have been possible without the sponsorship and on-site support of Dallis Bros. – we remain indebted to the fine folks who make Dallis Bros. such an important part of the American specialty coffee community.

Dallis Bros. did more than just organize this event. They also fielded four top-notch competitors: Mike DeJesus and Philip Search in the Barista Competition, and Teresa von Fuchs and William McAllister in the Brewers Cup. Mr. DeJesus competed using Dallis Bros. Andino Especial and Finca Monte Redonda Narino, both from Colombia, as well as Brazilian coffee from Dallis Bros.’ Fazenda Nossa Senhora Aparecida. His routine was a fan favorite in the audience, and on a personal note, it was a pleasure to meet Mike at the event and have a chance to chat with him throughout the weekend. Meanwhile, last year’s NERBC champion, Philip Search, offered up a routine that included made-to-order affogatos and no shortage of skill. Both were a delight to watch—Dallis has so much to be proud of, and we look forward to watching these competitors and their routines for years to come.

We can’t say enough about how much fun this year’s NERBC was. The competition was wild, loud, vibrant, exciting, challenging, packed, incredibly competitive, and deeply memorable—the essence of New York City, distilled into a barista competition. As journalists, we could not have asked for more. Congratualtions, Dallis Bros., for putting together such a very special event—til we meet again at NERBC 2013, we want to take this chance to say “thank you” for your sponsorship, your support, and for the very important role you play in the American specialty coffee community. Attending and reporting on your event has truly been our pleasure.”

-Jordan and Zachary
Sprudge.com

Up next…coffee fest!!

Join us at Coffee Fest New York, March 9-11 at the Jacob Javits center, 655 W. 34th Street (at 11th Ave) in Manhattan!

We’ll be proudly representing New York City coffee all weekend long at booth #360, serving delicious espressos and specially prepared Chemexes, and talking to people about coffee.

Stay tuned to this space for more info about special events Dallis Bros. Coffee is excited to participate in at the Fest.

And just like that it’s over

Photo (c) 2012 Clay Williams

In the blink of an eye, it’s done! How did months of practice and hair-pulling-out go up in a puff of purged steam? And yet it happens that way every year…

As proud parents of this year’s regional competition, we’d like to take a moment to thank those who helped us so much in getting the event off the ground and providing a format to showcase the very best of New York City coffee and coffee expertise. (Yes, we know thirteen other states competed — but it was Gotham that’s home to both Brewer’s Cup and the NERBC Champ! Fantastic!)

Photo (c) 2012 Clay Williams

We’d like to thank, first and foremost, the Coffee and Tea Festival for providing the framework to let us share our competition with their extremely popular, sold-out show. And to the SCAA, the United States Barista Championship, and the Barista Guild of America for their tireless efforts in making these events happen nationwide. And to Marcus Boni and Amber Sather for being the magicians behind each and every amazing competition. Without all of you, and our judges, volunteers, station maintenance cleaners, people hauling jugs of water—we’d never have the chance to celebrate our region’s talents like this.

Another inspiring competition and another great day in New York City coffee.

NERBC 2012 Winners!!

2012 NERBC Champion Katie Carguilo visiting the Dallis Bros. Coffee midtown coffee farm.

And thus concludes another successful Northeast Regional Barista Competition! Thank you to all who attended, volunteered, competed, tuned in and twitted about this crazy-fun-nonstop weekend.

Without further ado, we are pleased to congratulate the 2012 winners of both the NERBC and Brewer’s Cup!

NERBC Winners:

1. Katie Carguilo, Counter Culture Coffee, New York, New York
2. Jordan Barber, Third Rail Coffee, New York, New York
3. Park Brannen, Handsome Coffee Roasters, New York, New York

Brewer’s Cup:

1. Jordan Barber, Third Rail Coffee, New York, New York
2. Brady Guinn, Pavement Coffee, Boston, Massachusetts
3. Tamara Vigil, Irving Farm Coffee, New York, New York