The last few weeks have been pretty hectic, settling into what will be the routine and ironing out the wrinkles. However the last few days have been absolutely crazy. Events unfolded that led Bittersweet to develop a new coffee blend. The new blend was given at the Oakland campaign dinner for the President. Hence the name Obama blend.
Let's start on Thursday July, 19th. I was given the green light to start on the Obama blend. It would have to be sourced, developed (roasting, cupping, testing different blends) and everything figured out by Sunday the 22nd. Many phone calls ensued. More phone calls. If this was going to happen the coffee would have to be sourced by end of business. After receiving some pricing from different vendors, then discouraging news about availability I was starting to think that this might not happen. I found the Kenyan first. Paper work and payment were arranged the only thing left was the pick up at the warehouse. Soon after and more phone calls and faxing I was able to source the Hawaiian. Dealing with the time difference and being very lucky to get through to the right person it all was coming together. Finally I could breathe, biggest obstacles overcome.
Friday July, 19th a new day. The day started as usual, cupping then cleaning the roaster. I had arranged the pick up of the coffee the day before and we headed off to the warehouses. We were on a strict timetable and I would still have to do my regular roasting for the day. With the coffee picked up we headed for home. While all this was going on Penny was working on the labels.
When we returned I started roasting my regular orders as soon as the roaster was up to temp. As I finished I realized the new coffees would have to wait to Saturday. So I prepped things for the next day.
Saturday the morning of the 20th came early. Off to the experimental roasting day. Things went very fast. Roasting, waiting, cupping and changing ratios, more roasting... This went on until the current blend was settled on.
Three full finished batches for the day on top of experiments. They would have at least a day to rest before bagging. Then off to the dinner. Whew.
On Sunday Penny labeled and bagged everything that had been roasted the day before. Packed it up and delivered the first of the Obama blend to go out.
Monday arrived and my day started like any other. Finally back on schedule and roasting a new blend as part of my regular orders. As I started roasting the channel 7 news crew arrived. Good timing on their part - first crack had just started. So I gave them a rapid fire synopsis of how the whole process played out. I made the evening news. The reporter even joked about $30k+ (the cost of the dinner) sips of coffee.
I would like to give a shout out to a few people who made this possible. Eric with 197 Coffee. Derek who manages the Waialua Estates. Mark and Susan from Volcafe. And the staff of Bittersweet who came together to make this happen.
Till next time,