Barista Magazine

APR-MAY 2019

Serving People Serving Coffee Since 2005

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115 Add a little attitude to your menu with plant-based milks from BPS. Alternative Milks Make Alternative Drinks. 1-866-776-5288 helped us promote the project through exposure in their shops, and we quickly started to receive relevant feedback upon which we could build. With their help, we learned that quality, experimentation, inno- vation, and traceability were all values that global competitors and roasters also embraced and promoted, and we focused on strength- ening them at origin. After we had established these pillars, we started to attend trade shows, connect with other industry players, and present our coffees through alliances with clients and importers that gave us greater international exposure. BMag: Can you tell me more about getting involved in the coffee competition scene, both in supporting competitors and you guys competing yourselves? SV: Our fi rst major connection with the competition scene hap- pened in Ireland in 2016, when our coffees were fi rst used in the Irish Barista Championship. After that competition, more and more people reached out to inquire about our coffees, and we worked hard to meet the increasing demand without compromising any of our values, always prioritizing quality above quantity. After two years working with competitors, we were very inspired by their passion and by everything they shared with us regarding their careers. This is why I decided to try it myself by taking part in Brewers Cup for the last two years, with Felipe as my main helper behind the scenes. Competing has taught us so much about coffee preparation; it has also allowed us to better understand our clients' passion and constant struggle for perfection, as well as their needs and frustrations. BMag: What are the most challenging and the most satisfying things to you both about working in coffee? FS: We believe that the biggest challenge we all have as an industry is sustainability. We can see that coffee growers are aging, and unfor- tunately there aren't many young farmers wanting to take over. In our own region of Cundinamarca, for instance, the average producer is already above 65 years old, and coffee production is now harder than ever before. There are many reasons behind this, including extremely low coffee prices, climate change, and political instability, but we need to work together as an industry to rethink the models we've used to produce and market coffees for decades, and maybe we'll have a chance to revert this trend. SV: For us, the biggest satisfaction is to see that despite the chal- lenges, the specialty-coffee industry is still growing strong year after year; every week we hear stories about new roasters, new consum- ers, and even new growers entering the market. Apparently, this industry is changing people's lives for good, including small coffee growers at origin, and that is exciting! We are very proud and happy to be a part of the specialty-coffee community, as we believe it has the power to build sustainable futures for millions of families around the world. Felipe and Sebastián shared lots more fascinating informa- tion than what we could fi t in these pages. Check out our extended interview at in early April 2019.

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