Gone for the Season

February 25, 2014

We’ve all seen those “Gone For The Season” signs tacked up in windows of small mountain town shops sprinkled all over Colorado’s back country. Reminding passerby’s and locals of the several months of visitors and memories gone in a flash and never to be forgotten. 


Here at Corvus, we experience similar seasonal changes as we go through coffees at the Roast Works. We have been moving through some coffees recently here at the shop so quickly that they may only be on the shelf for a month or two. And in order for you, our valued patron, to understand why we go through coffees so rapidly, I’d like to let you in on couple of our secrets about how we select our coffees and why some are here and gone in what seems to be the blink of an eye. 


First, I will share a question one of our employees posed to me the other day. He asked, “Is it just me, are we getting better coffees in, am I starting to appreciate coffee more, or are you doing something different in Roast Works which is improving the quality and taste?” 


The simplest answer I could give to this question is we are finding better coffees into our shop. As we get samples in from around the world we find that the more we search, experiment and broaden our horizons, the more often we hone in on better coffees. The reality is, as long as you have exceptional coffees and you seek an understanding of a specific bean, you are going to get an amazing roast.  


As a roaster, my goal is to constantly improve at what I do and to offer a better product than I did the day before. To do that, I keep my ear to the ground and broaden our supply chain to extend to find extraordinary coffees which exist out there somewhere. Phil and I are constantly talking about what is needed to find the best coffees and improve the quality of our stewardship of the bean.  What we keep circling back to is the basics of bringing in new samples, roasting, and blind cupping as much as possible. 


Last month alone we sampled over a hundred coffees before selecting only one. We didn’t look at the region, the price, the importer or a number of other factors in advance; beyond asking for cleanly processed coffees which are fresh crops. We weed through our coffees based on traceability and quality of the cup.


It is comforting to know that there are importers which are seeking, as we are,  continual improvement, and it is proved in the samples we are receiving. As we look back at the past few months, we’re pretty amazed to see that without purposely doing so, we’ve ended up purchasing coffees from only a select few importers and farmers. 


And the reason these coffees are flying off the shelves? Well, quality and taste is the biggest factor here, but the second reason is some of these coffees we select are from such small farms that only five bags may be available. So, I may only have seven hundred pounds of a particular coffee which, inherently, results in it only lasting about a month or two. 


Many roasters are (to some extent rightfully so) wary of such limited supplies. People are sometimes upset or sad that a coffee will be “Gone For The Season,” within a few short weeks of it becoming a new favorite for them. However, this is what gets me up every morning. The most exciting part of the job isn’t extending the duration of different coffees, but the arrival of new ones. With each coffee comes a story and with each story comes an experience. 


We are going to be going through many seasons here at Corvus and we are excited to enjoy each moment of every season. 


Now… I have a pallet of two new coffees arriving any moment… So I must bid farewell.