As our Spruce Street store inches ever nearer to opening day, our crew is starting to turn it ON. Last week, Nick Kirby from Stumptown Coffee Roasters (our gurus - this is not the first or the last you'll be hearing about them) came down from New York for a deep training sesh with our baristas. Dude came prepared - Power Point presentation and everything! - and gave us quite a schooling.
He spent a good deal of time explaining the concept of Fair Trade vs. Direct Trade. The quick and dirty is that while Fair Trade guarantees a minimum wage for coffee farmers, Direct Trade uses incentive-based rewards based on quality. This means there is no ceiling on what the coffee farmers can be paid if the quality of their stuff is super top notch. Stumptown actually visits the farms themselves a few times a year to monitor the quality, and they negotiate the price directly with the farmers, instead of going through a middleman (like an importer or a broker). It's a lot more nuanced than all that, so if you'd like to learn more, there's tons more info on the Stumptown Direct Trade site.
Nick talked a lot about the process of cupping, as well. It's a totally regimented, calculated way of tasting coffee to determine its quality. All kinds of facets of coffee beans are examined and scored on a scale of 1-10, with 6 being average. If a coffee's total score is 86 or higher (meaning it scored "average" or above in all categories), it's considered a "Premium Coffee." But is average good enough for our friends at Stumptown? Nope. They will only accept beans with a score of 90 or higher, which are considered "Outstanding."
It's not much good having incredible coffee if you don't know how to properly handle it. So, Nick spent a good long time with the staff, going over proper espresso shot dosing and pulling techniques, pouring the perfect Chemex, and steaming milk to just the right texture and temperature. This is all to ensure that when you come into HubBub, you are getting a truly kick ass cup of coffee, and that our staff can answer any questions you might have. We're never snobby, just 1,000% stoked on amazing tasting, responsibly sourced coffee!